Monday, 5 January 2009

Wheelchair Stair Lifts - Providing Independence And Freedom

Imagine the frustration of living in a home for many years, but suddenly having to move because you can no longer get up and down the stairs. A wheelchair stair lift can be a great benefit someone who is disabled, because they provide access and mobility to places that would normally be inaccessible. In addition, they are far less expensive and require much less modification to existing structures than can other types of accessibility modifications such as an elevator.

The stair lifts are easy to install and are the least expensive of any of the accessibility options for multilevel residences. Because they use the existing structure of the stair, the cost is much less than it is for other options that require extensive remodeling. In addition, they can go on just about any existing staircase.

If you install a stair lift, you should expect to pay between $2500 and $4000 for a "straight" stair lift, meaning one that fits a straight staircase without any curves in it. If the existing staircase is curved, the price will be more expensive commensurate to the curve of the staircase, and will cost anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. This is because installation is much more complex. In addition, you will not know the final price until your staircase is actually inspected on-site by the supplier, who will then give you a quote.

Stair lifts come with four types of drives. Most use a rack and pinion system.

Another type, the cable drive system, uses a strong steel cable to operate. Oftentimes, aircraft cable is used. This type of drive system has its disadvantages in that the ride itself is not as smooth as it can be with other types. However, as technology improves, this type of drive will give a smoother ride. Two types of stair lifts that use this kind of drive are Ameriglide and Summit.

For heavy-duty models, chain drive systems can be used. However, they can be loud and are generally not used for residential setups.

Finally, the screw drive uses a lifting mechanism that has a screw-driven actuator. This gets its power from a rechargeable battery. However, this is not generally used in residential models, either.

Most residential stair systems use a rack and pinion drive system. Rack and pinion systems have a gear and teeth. At one time they required that you regularly clean and replace the gear oil. However, today's systems generally don't require any maintenance whatsoever.

Rail or track systems utilize the staircase itself and not the wall. A track can be fitted to either side of the stairs so that this is what the chair itself travels along.

Earlier systems used AC power. However, today's systems use DC 12-volt rechargeable batteries. These are generally preferable because you don't need a trailing cable as you do with AC-powered stair lifts. In addition, those using rechargeable batteries can also operate during power outages. In some states, a qualified technician must install these, so make sure you know what your state requires before you attempt installation yourself.

All stair lift designs offer a choice between a 90-degree swivel seat or a 180-degree swivel seat, and you can choose either depending on your needs. And many these days come with integrated circuit boards that "self-diagnose" problems, which can therefore cut down on your maintenance costs.

Certainly technology has improved to the point where you no longer have to consider selling you home just because you can't get around as easily as you used to.

To learn more about the stairway chair lift visit , a popular website designed to help keep the mobility impaired independent. Find out how a chair lift can help you keep your freedom, and get information on the many different types of lifts available.

Article Source:'Agostino