1. How much does a stair lift cost?
There’s no fixed price for a stair lift as yours will be tailor made to fit your stairs. The price will depend on which model you buy and what type of stairs you have. Generally it’s cheaper to buy a stair lift for straight stairs as there’s more work involved in making a rail to fit curved stairs.
All the stair lift companies we recommend offer a free survey, where a representative will personally visit your home to assess your needs and measure your staircase in order to give you a fixed quote. To get a quote won’t cost you anything and you are under no obligation to buy. With a major purchase such as a stair lift, it’s advisable to get 2 or more quotes from different companies so you can compare your options before you buy.
2. What if my wall isn’t strong enough to support the weight?
Many people are worried about their stair lift damaging their walls, but in actual fact all stair lifts are fitted to the steps, not the wall. The stair lift brackets need to be screwed into the steps, so it doesn’t matter at all if your wall is non-supporting or plasterboard, and it won’t damage your carpet either!
3. Can other people still use the stairs once the stair lift is fitted?
Modern stair lifts have a slimline design and seats, arm and foot rests that can be folded up when not in use, leaving plenty of room for other stair users to walk up and down the stairs. Most models take up about 275mm. Stair lifts have to be installed according to strict British Safety Standards that do not allow any stair lift to obstruct a staircase.
4. How long will I have to wait before it’s installed?
The delivery time will depend on your chosen model and how much work is involved in the factory to build the rail to fit your staircase. Generally, stair lifts for straight stairs are installed in under 2 weeks. You may have to wait 4-6 weeks for a stair lift for curved stairs. Ask the stair lift company how long you will have to wait. If it is urgent, some companies can install quicker.
5. How long does the installation take? Will there be lots of mess and inconvenience?
Your stair lift will be contructed and tested in the factory, so it will arrive at your home ready to be fitted. It will be installed by professional fitters with minimal disruption and incovenience. It usally takes only 1-2 hours to fit a stair lift to straight stairs, slightly longer to fit a curved stair lift. The rail will be fitted first, then the motor and the seat. It will then be tested thoroughly and you will be shown how to use it.
6. How is a stair lift operated?
Stair lifts are operated by simple, large, up and down paddle switches on the arms, which are designed to work with minimal pressure. This makes them suitable for people with arthritis or who are visually-impaired. You simply need to gently press the paddle in the direction of travel to start the stair lift.
7. What happens if my husband/wife has used the lift to go upstairs and I’m stuck downstairs?
Stair lifts come with remote controls, similar to what you use for the TV, which is useful if someone else in your house uses your stair lift and you need to call it back to where you are or you want to send something up or down the stairs without having to carry it. Many people use their stair lift as a dumb waiter, sending things like a load of washing or books to someone waiting to unload them at the other end. You remote controls can be mounted on the wall at the top and bottom of your stairs so you can always able to find them when you need them.
8. What happens if there’s a powercut?
Stair lifts run on DC power with battery backup, which automatically charges up when not is use. If there’s a power cut your stair lift should carry on working for 6-8 more trips.
9. Will my stair lift be expensive to run? My electricity bills are high enough as it is!
Modern stair lifts are very energy-efficient and economical to run. They run on a 13 amp socket and the daily cost of running a stair lift is comparable to using a kettle.
10. Are there any weight restrictions?
This depends on the model, but most stair lifts have a weight limit of 18-21 stones.
11. Will it be noisy? I don’t want to upset the neighbours.
Modern stairlifts are DC powered and run on a low voltage, so they are very quiet. You should be able to use your stair lift at any time of the day or night without disturbing others.
12. What happens if my stair lift breaks down?
The stair lifts we recommend on our website are very reliable and it is rare that they would break down. However, in the unlikely event of a breakdown, each company has their own engineers that would be able to get to you quickly and fix the problem.
13. How fast will it go? I’m worried I’ll be frightened to use it.
Stair lifts are designed to have a soft, slow start so there are any sudden bumps. They glide smoothly up or down the stairs at a gentle speed of between 7cm and 15cm a second, equivalent to 0.16 - 0.34 miles per hour. All models have a seat belt for your safety.
14. What happens if something is left on the stairs and gets in the way of the stair lift?
Stair lifts have built-in safety sensors that will detect an obstructions on the stairs, such as objects that have been dropped, pets or children. The sensors will respond by automatically stopping the stair lift so that the any obstruction can be safely removed.
15. Can I choose what color my stair lift is?
Some stair lift companies offer a choice of different upholstery colors so you can choose one to match your decor.
16. How easy is it to get on and off?
Stairlifts have swivel seats, which make it easy to turn away from the stairs and to get on or off without having to twist or turn your body. You can use the armrests to push yourself up. The armrests can be raised separately, which is especially useful if you are getting on from a wheelchair.