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The Lifespan of Your Residential Elevator

The Lifespan of Your Residential Elevator

residential elevator can last for several decades on your property, allowing you to access multiple levels of your home. Consider modernizing it after about 20 years to prevent future injury and costly repairs. It also helps to take care of the unit and have it inspected by an expert technician once a year. The elevator lifespan depends on several factors, including its specific model. Learn about how long your lift system will last so you can take care of it to protect your investment.

Factors That Affect How Long Your Elevator Lasts

A lift system typically has a lifespan of several decades, but several factors affect how soon you’ll have to replace it. Here are some ways to know how long your elevator will last.

  • Regular maintenance: Home elevator maintenance helps prolong your elevator’s life expectancy. During a professional inspection, a specialist can look at your unit and replace any worn-out components. When your lift system has updated parts, you’re less likely to need emergency repairs. You can expect your elevator to last much longer when you have it serviced by an expert technician.
  • Proper installation: After you’ve found the best lift system for your living space, a reliable elevator contractor will analyze the best location to install it. Your house may already have room for an elevator, or you may need to create space for one. When a technician installs your elevator correctly, its components will suffer less wear and tear, resulting in fewer repairs. It’ll also be safer to use and less likely to have frequent breakdowns.
  • Frequency and quality of use: If you continuously operate your elevator throughout the day, you can expect its lifespan to decrease a little more quickly than if you only used it a few times a week. Every time you operate your lift system, you put wear and tear on its components. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your elevator to keep it in excellent condition.
  • Upgraded features: An elevator has several moving parts that transport you safely from one floor to the other. Since those parts have a limited lifespan, you’ll need to have them replaced so your whole system works. However, if your elevator is decades old, it may contain obsolete parts that aren’t up to code. You may also have a challenging time finding a technician who’s qualified to repair your outdated elevator.

What Happens When You Don’t Take Care of Your Home Elevator

Even though scheduling a professional inspection requires spending money, this simple appointment will be a better financial investment than requesting emergency repairs. On the other hand, if you don’t maintain your elevator, its lifespan could reduce dramatically. As a result, you may experience the following issues:

  • More recurring repairs: Neglecting to care for your lift will result in spending money to fix it. A home elevator that hasn’t been maintained efficiently typically has more issues that require replacements from a professional. On the other hand, when you take care of your elevator, you can prevent costly problems by having your technician replace broken components.
  • Potential breakdowns: If you have an elevator in your home, you need it to work at all times. Unfortunately, any of the elements can stop working when you least expect it. As a result, you’ll need to call for emergency service, which usually costs more money. Making regularly scheduled appointments with a technician can help prevent random system failures.
  • Safety risks: You may be putting yourself in danger if you’ve gone a long time without having your elevator inspected. When any of the complex electrical components in your lift system stop working, you could injure yourself while trying to use it. You may want to call an expert to fix your elevator if you notice any strange sounds or jolting motions while operating it. Technicians have the necessary training for safely repairing or replacing your lift system.

How to Maintain Your Home Elevator

Even though repairing your home elevator can be costly, scheduling annual preventative maintenance with a local technician can help prevent issues. You can also do some of your own maintenance to keep your lift system up to date. When taking care of your home elevator, follow these tips:

  • Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions: The most efficient way to care for your unit depends on its specific model. The manual should have information about what temperature to keep the room and what cleaners to use on each component.
  • Avoid unnecessary wear and tear: Be careful not to exceed your elevator’s weight limit when you’re using it. You may want to keep the door closed to maintain stable pressure for your lift.
  • Check your elevator at least once a week: As you operate your lift system, pay attention to any unusual noises or sticking. Clean the light ray unit, car tracks and hall door with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Removing debris from your lift system’s components can help prevent future breakdowns. If your buttons get stuck, try tapping them lightly instead of using tools that could damage them.
  • Keep a written record of any issues: If you need to call a technician to repair your elevator, write down what’s wrong with it so they know what to check when they arrive.
  • Schedule maintenance at least once a year: Besides taking care of your lift system on your own, you should also request an inspection from a professional at least once a year. You may want to get more frequent maintenance if your elevator is older. During the appointment, the technician will replace any obsolete parts, including burnt-out cab lights.

When You Should Replace Your Elevator

Even though regular maintenance of your home elevator can prolong its lifespan, you’ll eventually have to replace it. Here are some warning signs that you’ll need to invest in a brand-new lift.

  • The elevator is more than 20 years old: A home elevator is a significant investment, so you’ll probably want to keep it for as long as you can. However, when you neglect to replace it after several decades, using your unit could be unsafe. Schedule an appointment with a technician to replace your elevator and prevent injury or costly repairs. When you update your decades-old lift system, you can be confident that your upgraded elevator will have all the modern technology you need to travel throughout your house.
  • You notice an increase in emergency repair calls: A residential elevator technician should be available for emergency repairs, so you can call them if your lift stops working in the middle of the night or on the weekend. Pay attention to how often you have to call to have your lift system fixed. If you notice that you suddenly need to contact the technician more often than before, you may consider replacing your elevator instead of getting it repaired. A brand-new elevator will last for many years on your property.
  • The cost of repairs is getting overwhelming: You may think that replacing your elevator will cost more money than making a quick repair, but these little fixes can add up. Look over the last few times you’ve had to call to get your lift fixed. When you consider the upfront cost of a new elevator, you might realize that you can save money by replacing it. If you’re concerned about affording an updated lift system, discuss your options with a local home elevator dealer.

Contact Inclinator for Home Elevator Repair Services

A residential elevator can help modernize your home and make it more convenient to use. Whether you want to install a new elevator in your home or your old one needs a replacement, we’ll help you find the best product for your lifestyle. Reach out to your local elevator dealer or technician to get the assistance you need for making your home safer and more reliable.

Elevators vs. Dumbwaiters

Elevators vs. Dumbwaiters

If you want to make your home more accessible, consider having an elevator or dumbwaiter installed. A residential elevator transports people up to multiple landings, increasing mobility throughout the house. On the other hand, a residential dumbwaiter carries bulky or heavy household items up different floors, helping you avoid injury and muscle strain during chores. Both lift systems add value to your living space and keep you safe during your daily routine. This guide can help you decide which systems are suitable for your lifestyle.

Dumbwaiter vs. Elevator Use

Each lift system can serve a unique purpose in your home, depending on your mobility and lifestyle needs.

Dumbwaiter Use

You may want to use a dumbwaiter in your home to transport items that are challenging to carry, such as household supplies, groceries, trash bags and boxes of office records. By putting these items in a safe, reliable lift system, you can avoid pulling out your back or falling down the stairs.

A dumbwaiter is useful for the following purposes:

  • Bringing groceries upstairs from your garage to the kitchen counter.
  • Transporting your holiday decorations down from the attic.
  • Carrying wine bottles and cases to or from a cellar.
  • Hauling firewood from the ground level to your indoor fireplace.
  • Bringing laundry from bedrooms to the utility room.

Elevator Use

A residential elevator can carry a few people to another floor in the house, including those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. By having an elevator in your home, you’ll have a reliable, safe alternative to walking up the stairs.

You may want to install an elevator in your home if you’d like to age in a familiar place instead of moving into a more convenient residence. This system is also helpful if you or someone in your family has physical disabilities that make it difficult to go up the stairs. Even if you suffer from a sprained ankle or sore hip every once in a while, an elevator gives you a safe and healthy way to access your whole house.

Dumbwaiter vs. Elevator Size

Both lift systems are available in custom sizes that can accommodate your home’s available space.

Dumbwaiter Dimensions

We offer dumbwaiters at custom sizes up to 24 inches long, 24 inches wide and 24 inches high, providing you with plenty of space to transport food and other household items. A dumbwaiter is usually about the size of a cardboard box. Its small configuration allows you to access your belongings without straining your back to reach inside.

As you think about where to place your dumbwaiter, keep in mind that you may need to allow a minimum of 6 inches of space for the pit if you want the unit to stop at floor level. If you’re planning on installing it at counter height, you won’t need to worry about leaving pit space.

Elevator Dimensions

Since it has to be big enough to carry at least one person, a residential elevator is much larger than a dumbwaiter. Our elevators are available in several custom sizes to fit within the space you have in your home. Cabs can be up to 15 square feet, and we provide elevators with heights up to 96 inches and widths up to 50 inches. A residential elevator is accessible, with enough space for someone who uses a wheelchair.

As you plan the space in your home for this addition, keep in mind that you’ll also need a pit of 6 to 10 inches, depending on the drive system.

Dumbwaiter vs. Elevator Weight Capacity

Discover how much weight each lift can hold to find out if they can benefit your unique lifestyle.

Dumbwaiter Weight Limit

The Homewaiter® has a 120-pound (54-kilogram) capacity, which is typically more than enough for groceries and laundry. When you’re first getting used to your dumbwaiter, you may want to weigh items and find out what you could put in the lift. To maintain your safety, make sure you adhere to the weight limit and follow what the manufacturer’s instructions suggest. Exceeding the recommended weight capacity could damage your dumbwaiter and reduce its lifespan.

Elevator Weight Limit

An elevator has a sufficient weight capacity for holding several people at once. A 15-square-foot cab can hold up to 1,000 pounds, but one with a 500-pound capacity can be 12 feet at most. However, their exact weight limit depends on the drive system:

  • Cable drum: The Elevette® Cable Drum drive system has a maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds for 15-square-foot cabs and 500 pounds for 12-square-foot cabs.
  • Hydraulic: The Elevette Hydraulic drive system has a maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds for 15-square-foot cabs.
  • MRL overhead cable drum: The Elevette MRL Overhead Cable Drum drive system has a maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds for 15-square-foot cabs or more.

Dumbwaiter vs. Elevator Cost

You can find a dumbwaiter or elevator within your budget. Find out what each system costs before speaking with an authorized dealer.

Dumbwaiter Cost

A dumbwaiter tends to be more affordable than a residential elevator. The exact price varies based on the specific unit, installation location and size. It also depends on the personalized features you wanted to add, such as the number of stops and openings. You might not be able to negotiate the installation or permit costs, but you can speak with a local dumbwaiter dealer to find a product at your price point.

Elevator Cost

An elevator tends to be more expensive than a dumbwaiter because of its size. The cost you’ll pay for your elevator depends on several factors:

  • Custom add-ons: Anything you’d like to customize on your residential elevator could increase the price.
  • Cab style: If you invest in a bigger unit, you’ll have to pay more money.
  • Hoistway: A complex hoistway configuration involving multiple components tends to cost more money than a simple design.
  • Drive system: A hydraulic system is typically more affordable than a traction elevator because it doesn’t use overhead hoisting machinery.
  • Permits and regulations: You may have to pay for the paperwork and inspections required to ensure your unit is up to code.
  • New build or retrofit: If you’re building a brand-new house and want to add an elevator to your floor plan, you may have to pay less money in installation costs than trying to find space for one in an existing property.

Find an Authorized Inclinator Dealer and Installer

Whether you need a dumbwaiter or elevator, we have a vast inventory of safe and reliable residential lifts. We offer designs that fit every home and style preference. Our products are safe to use and comply with local and state regulations. Find a dealer near you to discover the lift system that best suits your home.

Do Dumbwaiters Require Maintenance?

Do Dumbwaiters Require Maintenance?

Having a dumbwaiter in your home or business gives you convenience and flexibility. These miniature freight elevators make it easy to move laundry, firewood, pet supplies, shop tools, retail goods, commercial kitchen supplies — whatever will fit safely inside.

From their initial use in ancient Greece through their popularity in wealthy late 18th- and 19th-century homes as manual winch-and-pulley contraptions, dumbwaiters have now developed into sleek, modern mechanical appliances. With that evolution has come the need for more regular maintenance. Routine maintenance on a dumbwaiter is essential. It keeps the lift running smoothly and reduces the likelihood of injuries, repair needs and catastrophic breakdowns.

What Is the Recommended Maintenance for Dumbwaiters?

It’s a good idea to have your dumbwaiter professionally inspected at least once a year. A trained eye can spot problems to give you another year of dependable performance and convenience. Of course, if you notice anything amiss between yearly inspections, you’ll want to make an appointment to determine what’s wrong.

Service professionals generally recommend a few regular maintenance procedures to keep your dumbwaiter in good working order:

  • Lubrication: The tracks and rollers of your dumbwaiter will lose their lubricant over time. They’ll need more to reduce friction, prevent wear and tear and keep your dumbwaiter from making harsh whining or squealing noises.
  • Cleaning: The interior of a dumbwaiter should also receive regular cleaning. A maintenance technician can use safe, professional-grade solvents to remove grime or moisture that could gum up the works, prevent the doors from opening properly and impede performance overall.
  • Checking for worn components: Even with proper lubrication, a dumbwaiter’s moving parts will wear down over time. A trained professional can spot worn components in the motor or rollers and replace them so your dumbwaiter can keep working as it should.
  • Inspection of safety locks: Many dumbwaiters have safety features like locks to ensure that the doors won’t open unless the cab has reached that floor and come to rest. Otherwise, a person could tumble into the empty hoistway or receive injuries from the moving dumbwaiter. Regular inspections ensure that these safety features are providing the intended protection.
  • Electrical inspection: A technician should also inspect a dumbwaiter’s electrical wiring. Faulty wiring can cause fires, so you’ll want to ensure your wiring and insulation are in good condition.

If you’re wondering what dumbwaiter service is required by law, the best thing to do is to check with your local building authorities. They can tell you what dumbwaiter lift maintenance you may need to ensure safety and compliance.

Tips for Reducing Dumbwaiter Maintenance Needs

In operating your dumbwaiter, you should follow a few best practices to reduce strain on the lift and minimize the amount of maintenance it will need.

  • Observe the weight limit: Many dumbwaiters have a weight limit for what they can carry — our commercial models have capacities of 200, 300 and 500 pounds, for instance, and our residential models can move 120 pounds. Exceeding the maximum weight causes excessive wear and tear on the dumbwaiter’s components. This overloading may cause the appliance to need premature repairs.
  • Take breaks between loads: Constant operation also strains a dumbwaiter. If you can, pause between trips to reduce the stresses on your lift and give it a chance to cool down.
  • Clean the interior: Clean the inside of your dumbwaiter regularly with a damp rag or gentle cleaning product. Routine wipe-downs prevent stains from caking on, and they remove standing moisture that could cause corrosion on metal parts. Contact the manufacturer if you have questions about what cleaning products are safe for use.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Get Regular Service?

Why do dumbwaiters need maintenance? If you don’t get regular service for your dumbwaiter, it will likely begin to malfunction. It may become unreliable, stop working altogether or pose a hazard to you and your family or clients and coworkers. Here are a few things you risk if you neglect routine maintenance:

1. Poor Performance

Without routine maintenance, a dumbwaiter’s quick, effortless performance may deteriorate over time. When you first install a dumbwaiter, it should run smoothly and rapidly from floor to floor. Without regular maintenance, the dumbwaiter may slow down because of worn parts or insufficient lubrication. Its motion may also become jerky or halting instead of fluid and frictionless. These small malfunctions can delay the transport of household or business items and reduce the convenience of owning a dumbwaiter.

2. Unwanted Noises

The “dumb” in the word “dumbwaiter” refers, if a bit crudely, to the lift’s near-silent operation. But as parts wear down or lubrication loses its effectiveness, your dumbwaiter may start to make undesirable noises. Ideally, the dumbwaiter should glide so softly you barely notice its operation. An unmaintained dumbwaiter may grind or squeal, potentially disrupting the quiet atmosphere in your home or business as it labors up and down.

3. Breakdowns

If you neglect to keep up with your dumbwaiter’s maintenance and it develops small mechanical problems, those tiny issues can grow into more significant ones over time. Ultimately, the dumbwaiter may break down. If this happens, the costs of repair or replacement are likely to be steep.

4. Safety Risks

Within its hoistway, the guide rails, guide rollers and pulleys raise and lower your dumbwaiter. Over time, these components can wear down or break. The dumbwaiter could come crashing down with its heavy load of household or business items and damage the walls and support beams. It could also seriously injure someone if the safety locks stopped working and a person opened the doors as the lift was descending.

5. High Costs

An average homeowner spends between 1% and 4% of the home’s value on annual maintenance and repairs. Commercial businesses incur many maintenance costs as well. And skipping that maintenance can lead to much costlier repairs and replacement projects down the road. Repairing or replacing a broken dumbwaiter is often considerably more expensive than having small amounts of preventative maintenance done in the first place. Even though the cost of maintenance may seem like a burden, routine care is likely to save you money over the long term.

Working With Dumbwaiter Maintenance Professionals

Workings with Inclinator’s pros for dumbwaiter repair or maintenance offers many advantages. Our technicians have extensive industry knowledge and experience, so they can provide trustworthy service to keep your dumbwaiter reliable and safe. We are adept and catching small problems before they balloon into larger ones. Our friendly, professional service makes the process quick and easy, and it gives you the peace of mind of knowing the safety of your home or business is in good hands.

Let Inclinator Be Your Trusted Source for Dumbwaiter Maintenance

When you need reliable dumbwaiter service and repair, partner with Inclinator. Find a dealer near you today to schedule a maintenance appointment.

What Are Dumbwaiters Used For?

What Are Dumbwaiters Used For?

Having a new mechanical device in your home can be daunting at first. It’s a bit like suddenly getting the latest smartphone or laptop. You’ve heard about all the great features it has, and you might have friends who rave about theirs, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it once it’s staring you in the face.

If you’ve never had a dumbwaiter in your home before, you might be wondering how to use one. Fortunately, dumbwaiters are exceptionally versatile, giving you the freedom to transport many different items within your home or business. The guide below will explain how they work and discuss some common dumbwaiter uses.

What Is a Dumbwaiter?

A dumbwaiter is a miniature elevator, similar to a small freight elevator. It is quiet, safe and reliable, and it helps people move goods safely and easily from one floor to another.

A dumbwaiter uses electrical power to run along vertical tracks within a shaft built into one of the walls of your home or business. Every floor where the dumbwaiter will stop contains doors that will open to reveal the dumbwaiter’s interior. When the doors open, people can reach in to deposit or retrieve their items.

Where Did Dumbwaiters Come From?

Dumbwaiters have a long history. They existed as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. In those days, though, dumbwaiters were manual devices containing winches and pulleys. People had to pull on ropes to move the dumbwaiters and their loads up and down.

What were dumbwaiters used for back then? They were common in large households’ kitchens to move food and other items. In ancient Rome, the Colosseum used similar, massive lifts to transport gladiators and animals to the arena floor.

In 18th-century Europe, French households used dumbwaiters, colloquially known as “flying tables,” to provide refreshments for guests during dinner parties. Thomas Jefferson was one of the people who brought this idea back to the United States and popularized it here.

In the late 19th century, mechanical dumbwaiters began to replace manual ones in wealthy homes. These dumbwaiters used pulleys and weights instead of relying on human strength to function. And in the 1920s, as electrical use spread, dumbwaiters gained electrical motors to become more efficient and easier to control.

Modern dumbwaiters have advanced to become the sleek, safe electronic models popular in many homes and businesses. Even today, though, some older homes may still contain manual dumbwaiters that require the users to pull on ropes to move them.

What Are Dumbwaiters Used For?

What is a dumbwaiter used for in a home or business? Dumbwaiters make household chores effortless, and they reduce manual labor in commercial settings as well.

Residential Applications

Below are a few uses for a home dumbwaiter:

  • Doing laundry: Laundry is a household chore hardly anyone looks forward to. Carrying mountains of dirty clothes, towels or bedding down the stairs to the laundry room is tiring. And when the laundry is done, you have to lug it up all over again. With a dumbwaiter, though, the task becomes much simpler. Simply load your laundry into the dumbwaiter and send it down to the laundry room with the touch of a button.
  • Putting away groceries: If you have a large house, the groceries you buy may need to go into multiple rooms on multiple floors. Carrying heavy groceries up and down the stairs to the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, pantry or storage closets can wear you out, especially if you buy in bulk. Make this chore easier on yourself by packing your purchases into the dumbwaiter and sending them to the floor where they belong.
  • Moving: At the end of a move, you may find yourself standing on the ground floor of your new home, surrounded by a sea of boxes you need to unpack. Carrying those boxes up and down the stairs can leave you sweaty and fatigued. It could leave you with sore or strained muscles, or you could fall on the stairs and injure yourself. A dumbwaiter makes the process easier and safer. If your boxes or items fit, you can slide them into the dumbwaiter and send them to another floor.
  • Transporting cumbersome items: Sometimes you have bulky loads you need to move within your home. You might have a few cases of wine to send down to your wine cellar or some firewood to send to your fireplace. Or you might have stocked up on giant bags of dog food that need to go to the basement for storage. Using your dumbwaiter makes transporting these items simpler and faster.

Commercial Applications

Additionally, below are a few businesses that frequently use dumbwaiters:

  • Restaurants: Restaurants use dumbwaiters to move food, trays and kitchen supplies to different floors. A kitchen dumbwaiter lift reduces the amount of manual climbing and carrying labor that staff members must perform. It helps keep them more alert and refreshed, and it frees them to focus more of their time and energy on the customer experience.
  • Libraries: Books are notoriously heavy, as anyone who’s ever packed and moved cumbersome book boxes knows all too well. Carrying heavy stacks of books up and down the library stairs all day would be exhausting for staff members and could lead to repetitive stress injuries. Using a dumbwaiter alleviates these concerns.
  • Retail stores: Large retail stores that span multiple floors need a way to move inventory quickly and easily. Sending employees to perform this task can exhaust them. It also directs their focus away from the patrons counting on them for quality service. Using a dumbwaiter to move products from floor to floor makes employees more efficient, productive and helpful.
  • Hotels: Hotels often use dumbwaiters to move trays of food in their kitchens and restaurants. They may also have a dumbwaiter to transport luggage or use a laundry dumbwaiter for laundry and supplies.
  • Hospitals and retirement homes: Medical facilities often have kitchens that need to serve a large population with timely, efficient service. Dumbwaiters make the work of moving food trays and kitchen supplies more manageable.

Why Should You Get a Dumbwaiter?

Getting a dumbwaiter for your home or business is an excellent investment. It provides benefits like these:

  • Convenience: Using a dumbwaiter in your home or business makes work much quicker and easier. It saves you time and energy by moving bulky household or business goods with the press of a button.
  • Reliability: Residential and commercial dumbwaiters are highly dependable. If you invest in one of these impressive and practical machines, it will maintain its quality for years with a little maintenance. You can rely on it to help you perform numerous household or business tasks.
  • Safety: Dumbwaiters are incredibly safe to use. Many incorporate safety features such as safety locks, safety slack cables and lighting systems to help you avoid accidents. Dumbwaiters also promote physical safety by preventing you from tripping on stairs or straining your muscles. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every four older Americans falls every year. One out of every five falls causes a serious injury, like broken bones or head trauma. Using a dumbwaiter can keep you from becoming part of those statistics.

Contact Inclinator to Purchase a Convenient, Reliable Dumbwaiter

To see the benefits of installing a dumbwaiter in your home or business, contact Inclinator.

Our residential and commercial dumbwaiters are practical, elegant, safe and American-built. They lift heavy items with ease and bring a sleek, streamlined look to your home or business. And with nearly 100 years of experience in the industry, our company has the knowledge and expertise to help you find the perfect dumbwaiter for your needs.

Find a dealer near you today to check out different models, or contact us to learn more.

6 Features to Make Your Home More Convenient

The home of the future exists today. Thanks to home automation, you can now place your next grocery order in minutes, lock your front door when you’re already at the office or adjust the temperature indoors when you’re on your way home. Smart home systems do more than make your life easier, though. They can also improve your home’s safety and make your house more accessible as you get or your loved ones get older. Should you decide to sell your home later, a home automation system can make the house more valuable to prospective buyers.

If you’re ready to increase your home convenience and boost safety, here are a few features worth installing.

1. A Home Assistant

Home assistants such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa act as digital administrative assistants for you and others in your household. You can use them to make shopping lists, schedule meetings or appointments and set countdown timers. You can also take advantage of the assistants’ search features and ask them random trivia questions as they come into your head, such as, “What’s the square root of 36?” or, “When was the Eiffel Tower built?”

Along with organizing your life and satisfying your curiosity, your home assistant can connect to and control other smart devices in your house, such as a smart thermostat or smart locks. If you want to use your assistant to control other devices, you need to purchase products that are compatible with each other. Google Assistant works with Google products, while Alexa is compatible with more brands and devices.

2. A Home Elevator

Elevators aren’t only for commercial buildings. A home elevator makes your residence more convenient, safe and accessible. It can also make your home more attractive to potential buyers, allowing you to set a higher price for it when you want to sell.

Among the benefits of installing a home elevator is ease of access. People who have limited mobility, whether they use a wheelchair, cane or walker, can use an elevator to travel from the lower levels of the home to the upper levels and back again. If you have young children who are still mastering going up and down stairs, you can transport them easily from one floor to the other in the elevator, while keeping them under close supervision.

If you live on your own, a home elevator can make you feel more safe and secure. Instead of climbing up and down stairs and risking a fall, you can use the elevator. If you’ve decided to age in place, a home elevator can help you stay mobile and allows you to use more of your home for longer.

An elevator also makes moving objects and furniture a snap. You can load up the elevator with boxes, bags and suitcases and send it from one floor to the next, instead of lugging those heavy objects up a flight or two of stairs.

3. Smart Locks

A smart lock replaces a traditional key with a code that you tap into a keypad to lock and unlock your home’s doors. The locks can give you greater control over who has access to your home. Instead of giving your housekeeper a physical key, you can provide them with a code that only opens the doors when they would be cleaning your house. If you are expecting a package, you can give the delivery driver a code to open the door and place the package in the foyer of your house rather than leave it on the front steps.

Smart locks can connect to your home assistant and mobile device, too. If you are on the way to work and can’t remember if you locked the door, you can check your device to see the status of the lock. If you did leave the door unlocked, you can lock it right from your phone. You can also unlock the door remotely if one of your children forgets their code or if friends or family members are swinging by and you’re not at home yet.

4. Smart Lights

Over the years, the light bulbs in your home might have changed from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Smart lights take things a step further. They are energy-efficient LEDs that connect to a home assistant or other app, allowing you to control the lights from a distance or to program the lights to turn on and off at particular times. Some smart lighting systems also let you adjust the level of lighting. You can wake up to lights that slowly get brighter or fall asleep to lights that gradually dim.

Smart lights can help you save money by reducing your energy use at home. LEDs are among the most efficient types of bulbs, lasting for years longer than CFLs or incandescents and using much less energy. Since you can turn the lights on and off from anywhere, using your mobile device, you can make sure you never leave the lights on when no one is at home or in a particular room.

5. A Dumbwaiter

dumbwaiter is a small lift that carries groceries, suitcases and home necessities from one floor to the next. Installing a dumbwaiter in your home can make your life more convenient, as you’ll no longer need to carry heavy objects up and down stairs yourself. A dumbwaiter can also make you feel safer at home, as you’ll reduce the risk of falling while carrying things, and can reduce the risk of back strain and other injuries.

6. A Smart Thermostat

Like other smart home devices, a smart thermostat connects to your mobile device, allowing you to program it when you’re away from home. Smart thermostats can also learn your habits and schedule and set themselves to certain temperatures based on when they expect you to be home from work or go to bed in the evening.

A smart thermostat takes the hassle out of maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home. It can also save you money over time, as lowering the indoor temperature in the winter or increasing it in the summer reduces the energy you use. Your smart thermostat can also send you reminders about scheduling HVAC tune-ups and maintenance, helping to keep your systems operating smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible. Regular maintenance prolongs the life of your HVAC system, too.

Inclinator Can Make Your Home More Convenient

Your home should be safe, convenient and comfortable. Installing a home elevator or residential dumbwaiter from Inclinator can make it all three. To learn more, find an Inclinator dealer near you today.

Popular Home Elevator Designs

Installing a residential elevator can make your home more accessible and allow you or your loved ones to age in place. If you’ve been hesitant to consider a home elevator because you aren’t sure how it will look or whether it will fit inside your home, you can rest easy. You have many options when it comes to the design and style of a residential elevator. It can blend into the background of your home, looking like just another closet or door, or if you prefer, the elevator can be a focal point of the room.

Inclinator residential elevators are available in several styles, designs and finishes. Use our home elevator design guide to create a residential elevator that matches your tastes and fits in well with the rest of your home.

Home Elevator Cab Styles

The elevator cab determines the overall aesthetic of your home elevator. Inclinator offers six cab styles to choose from, giving you plenty of options. Whether you prefer a more modern aesthetic or are in the market for something elegant and classic, here’s what you can choose from:

  • 100 Cab: The 100 Cab is our simplest design. It has a wood laminate floor and a white ceiling and the option to paint the interior walls any color you’d like.
  • 200 Cab: The 200 Cab design trades painted interior walls for wood-paneled walls. You can choose from eight wood species, including light and dark finishes, whichever best coordinates with the overall aesthetic of your home.
  • 250 Cab: The 250 Cab design is a Shaker-style cab, meaning it is made of solid wood and has veneer inserts for the finishes. The cab opens and closes with a vinyl accordion-style gate.
  • 300 Cab:  If you prefer an elegant look, the 300 Cab might be just right for you. It has wood paneling available in eight finishes and the option of adding moldings, such as a chair rail or picture frame. The flooring of the cab can be left unfinished so you can match it to your home’s existing flooring.
  • 400 Cab: The 400 Cab provides the most luxurious aesthetic of the bunch. It has solid wood walls with paneling, molding and trim. You can also install acrylic panels so you can see through the walls of the cab.
  • 500 Cab: The 500 Cab offers a sleek, modern aesthetic. Its aluminum frame can be silver, white or black, depending on what works with your home decor.

All six of our cab styles work with any type of drive system. Each style can open on one or two sides, depending on your needs.

Home Elevator Finishes

The cab style is just part of the overall design of your residential elevator. The finishes you pick for the walls, floors and ceiling also affect how well it blends in with your home’s aesthetic and how well it matches your taste.

  • Walls: The finish options for your elevator walls of your elevator depend on the cab style you choose. Many styles can be finished in the factory with hardwood or with exotic wood species. You can also leave the walls unfinished and paint them the color of your choosing.
  • Floors: Inclinator residential elevators include a laminate floor, available in five wood grain finishes. Some cab styles allow you to choose an unfinished floor, giving you the option of matching the floor of the cab to the floor in the rest of your home.
  • Ceilings: While the ceiling of the 100 Cab can’t be customized, the 200 Cab, 300 Cab and 400 Cab all have nine ceiling finish options that match or coordinate with the walls of the cab.

Home Elevator Accessories

The customization options for your residential elevator don’t end with the walls, floors and ceilings. You can also choose the style of the handrails, lights and operating panel to reflect the decor of your home and your taste.

  • Handrails: Handrail styles include a standard, flat style or a rounded rail. The standard handrail can match the wood finish on the walls, while the round rail is available in three metal finishes: oil-rubbed bronze, brushed stainless and brushed brass.
  • Ceiling lights: Inclinator’s elevators come with two lights as standard, each with LED bulbs and the choice of a white acrylic finish or a white and painted bronze finish. You can increase the number of lights in the cab if you’d like.
  • Operating panels: The operating panels inside the cab and in the hall can be flush with the wall or raised. They are available in three finishes: oil-rubbed bronze, brushed stainless or brushed brass.

Home Elevator Door Design Options

Your home elevator needs a gate and door to operate safely. Inclinator has 18 gate configurations available, meaning you’ll be able to find an option that works with your needs and style. Your elevator can have a gate on one side or on two sides. If it has a gate on two sides, the sides can be opposite each other or next to each other. Each elevator has an accordion fold gate that needs to be fully closed before the elevator will operate.

Design options for your home elevator door include:

  • Vinyl laminate, available in 16 finishes
  • Hardwood, available in six finishes
  • Acrylic, available in bronze or clear
  • Aluminum, available in gold, silver and bronze

The frame of the accordion gate can be one of two colors: nickel or bronze.

Contact Inclinator for the Best Home Elevator Design Options Today

A residential elevator doesn’t have to look out of place in your home. With so many design options to choose from, you can easily take advantage of the convenience and value offered by a home elevator without having to sacrifice the aesthetics of your home. To learn more about popular residential elevator designs and to see your options up close, find an Inclinator dealer near you today.

Elevator Installation Safety

It pays to think safety first when you are designing and building homes from scratch or are updating existing properties to install an elevator. Taking the steps necessary to protect your team from injury will help you avoid construction delays. You’re also more likely to complete your projects on budget when you put an emphasis on safety. Additionally, your team will be happy that you’ve taken the steps needed to look out for their needs and protect them.

Construction jobs, including being an elevator mechanic or installer, are among the most dangerous in the U.S. Having a grasp of the hazards your team might face when installing a residential elevator is the first step to take toward elevator fall protection and other safety measures.

Hazards of Residential Elevator Installation

Working on a construction project, including residential elevator installation, brings with it a number of hazards, such as:

  • Falls: A worker can fall from a height during elevator installation for many reasons. The structure they are working from might be unsteady, or they might lose their balance. Across the construction industry, falls are usually responsible for the greatest number of deaths each year.
  • Electric shock: Electrical shock can occur during elevator installation if a mechanic is using a power tool that isn’t grounded. Shock can also happen if there are loose wires or conductive materials nearby.
  • Not using personal protective equipment (PPE) properly: Workers at any job site should always be given the right protective equipment. For the most protection, it’s essential that they are shown how to use it properly.
  • Scaffolding collapse: If scaffolding or a similar structure is being used during the installation process, it needs to be secure, constructed on solid ground and able to carry four times its maximum load. It’s also important that the scaffolding is constructed by a trained and experienced person and that workers are properly trained before they climb onto it.
  • Getting struck by the elevator: As the installation process progresses, a worker could be struck by the elevator itself. If someone is working in the hoistway or elevator shaft, and the elevator begins to travel along the hoistway, they need to have ample time to get out of the way.
  • Getting stuck in confined spaces: There’s also a risk that a worker will become stuck in the confined space of a hoistway during installation. The elevator shaft can be very narrow and difficult for a person to exit quickly in an emergency.
  • Muscle strain: An elevator installer can develop injuries such as muscle strain, repetitive motion injuries or sprains as a result of the daily requirements of their job.

Is Being an Elevator Mechanic Dangerous?

The job of an elevator mechanic and installer can be a physically taxing one. Many installers need to be able to lift up to 200 pounds. As they work, an installer might need to stay in the same spot for an extended period and might have to work in a confined space such as the elevator shaft.

Along with the physical demands of the job, there is also a physical risk. Some of the injuries most commonly experienced by elevator installers include falls, electrical burns and muscle sprains. Providing installers with the appropriate protective equipment, such as helmets or hard hats and harnesses, can help to make their job safer.

Residential Elevator Installation Safety Tips

In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded 14 injuries involving elevators. Thirteen of the injuries were fatal, and the vast majority of them involved elevator installation or maintenance. Here’s what you can do during a residential elevator installation project to help keep the list of injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, as low as possible.

  • Establish and review safety protocols: If you do not already have a set of safety protocols, now is the time to create them. Your safety measures can include clear instructions on what workers can do to minimize injury. They should also outline the steps to take in an emergency situation. Part of the protocols can include training people to lift objects safely to reduce the risk of sprains or strains.
  • Train employees on the proper use of PPE: Hard hats and harnesses, as well as other types of PPE, can effectively reduce the risk of significant injury if a person falls or is struck by an object. For PPE to work effectively, a person needs to know how to wear it or how to use it. Offer training sessions to your team that demonstrate how to use a harness as well as how to remove or safely get out of a harness after a fall.
  • Always secure ladders and scaffolding: Scaffolds and other structures that require a person to be at a height should always be properly assembled and fully secured. They need to be on steady ground. Additionally, a ladder or scaffold should not be moved from one location to another while someone is on it.
  • Turn off electrical power: If possible, turn off the power to the elevator before beginning any work on it. The condition of any cables or wires should also be carefully monitored. Avoid using any wires that are frayed or otherwise showing signs of significant wear.
  • Make sure power tools are grounded: Any power tools used during the installation of an elevator should be properly grounded.
  • Don’t overload an elevated surface: Along with securing ladders or scaffolding, it’s also important to make sure that they are not carrying more weight than they are rated for.
  • Use the buddy system: Create a buddy system to protect workers who need to travel into the hoistway or another confined area. While one person is in the tight spot, their “buddy” can act as a spotter, alerting them to any changes and alerting others to the presence of the worker in the shaft.

Work With a Trusted Elevator Manufacturer

Another way to make sure the elevator installation process is as safe as possible is to partner with a trusted elevator manufacturer. Inclinator has been building high-quality, safe and reliable elevators for many years. We perform extensive testing to ensure that our elevators pass all safety measures. Many of our elevators have been in service for decades and still operate safely. We’re also here to provide top-notch technical support when needed.

Contact Inclinator to Learn More About Our Residential Elevators

Inclinator has been providing safe and reliable elevators to residential builders and architects for decades. If you are considering making residential elevators part of your next building project, we will work with you to create an elevator that meets your needs and complements the properties you design. We build all of our elevators to order, meaning you’ll get the exact size and design you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Aging in Place to Deal With a Pandemic

aging in place to deal with a pandemic

Many older adults would rather stay in their homes during the later years of their life than move into a nursing home or adult community. There are many reasons why aging in place appeals to so many. It allows people to stay in the home they love and are familiar with. It’s often more affordable for adults to remain in their homes than move to a nursing home.

Since nursing homes or assisted living facilities often have medical professionals on hand to help residents, many people wonder if aging in place is safe. As it turns out, aging in place might be a safer option for older adults, especially during a pandemic. As of the beginning of July 2020, 42% of all deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. were linked to nursing homes. More than 296,000 cases, or about 10% of the total cases in the U.S. at the beginning of July, were in nursing home residents or employees.

benefit of aging in place

Why Aging in Place Is Beneficial During a Pandemic

Viruses affect different people in different ways. While someone might develop a mild illness after exposure to a virus, another person can become severely ill. Often, factors such as a person’s age, their current health and their immune system play a part in determining how sick they become after exposure to a virus. Older people are often more likely to become very sick from a virus. If they have another medical condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, their risk increases. Older people with suppressed immune systems also have a greater risk of becoming very ill.

During a pandemic, a particular disease is prevalent all over the world. In some cases, such as with the novel coronavirus, the pathogen that causes the disease is new enough that there isn’t a vaccine for it and treatment options are limited. It’s often best for people to avoid situations where they could be exposed to the virus, such as limiting social contacts or interacting with other people.

When a person lives in a nursing home, limiting contact with other people can be challenging. Even if a person has their own room or private apartment, others are likely to be coming and going from their personal space throughout the day. A nurse might stop by to check on a resident, for instance. If the nurse has recently left the room of another resident who was infected with a virus, they could spread it to other residents they contact during their shift.

If a person is aging in place, it is much easier to limit contact with the outside world. If they need medical care, they can arrange to have someone stay with them in their home. Instead of interacting with multiple people, the home health aide would only interact with that individual.

Aging in Place Allows for the Comforts of Home

Another benefit of aging in place during a pandemic is that doing so allows a person to continue to enjoy their home and familiar surroundings. When a disease is widespread and there is no cure, the best thing to do is remain home as much as possible. When a person is surrounded by the things they know and love, such as their comfortable bed, their favorite chair or framed photos of their friends and family, they are more likely to feel calm and at ease compared to if they are in a setting that doesn’t feel like home to them.

Aging in Place Allows for Socially Distant Visits

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes in the U.S. restricted visitors, meaning that residents couldn’t see their loved ones for months. The goal of the restrictions was to limit the transmission of the virus, but it also had severe social consequences.

When an individual remains in their home, there is more opportunity for them to see family and friends at a safe distance. For example, adult children can sit on the porch of their parents’ home and visit with them through a window.  When the weather is nice, family and friends can visit and socialize in the person’s yard, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance apart.

connect to friends and family while aging in place

Potential Drawbacks of Aging in Place

There are some potential disadvantages to aging in place, particularly in a pandemic. An older adult who usually enjoys social and community activities is likely to find those activities cut off due to social distancing requirements. For someone who is used to seeing friends at the local community center regularly, who goes out to the movies or to see plays, or who spends time at the local library or coffee shop, staying home can feel restricting and isolating.

Fortunately, modern technology makes it easy to overcome pandemic-related social isolation. An older adult can connect to friends and family through email and text messages and can use a smartphone or tablet to make video calls to their loved ones. Local community centers likely offer some programs virtually during a pandemic to continue to help people connect.

Making sure nutritional needs are met can also be a challenge when a person ages in place during a pandemic. An older adult might be fearful of visiting the grocery store and unable to afford the extra costs associated with grocery delivery. There are still many options available to ensure that a person gets the food they need during a pandemic. Some senior centers continued to offer contact-less meal delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance. People have also been willing and able to pick up groceries and other necessities for their neighbors who can’t get to the store themselves.

How to Prepare for Aging in the Home

If you or your loved one decides that aging in place is the best option, you might need to make some changes to the house to make it easier to get around in and safer. Some aging in place home improvements include installing grab bars in the bathroom, removing area rugs and other trip hazards and installing fixtures that don’t require a strong grip to use.

In multi-story homes, installing an elevator can make it easier for an older person to travel from one floor to the next. A home elevator can also help to reduce the risk of a person tripping and falling down the stairs.

age in place safely during a pandemic with inclinator

Inclinator Can Help You Age in Place Safely During a Pandemic

More and more people are choosing to age in their homes. A home elevator can help to make aging in place a safe reality for many, during times of pandemic and during normal times. To learn more about the installation process and what you expect from a home elevator, find an Inclinator dealer near you today.

How Do Elevators Work?

Elevators have dramatically changed how people live. Thanks to elevators, it’s now possible for buildings to tower above the ground, consisting of dozens or more stories. Elevators have also revolutionized home living. Thanks to elevators, people with limited mobility can remain in multi-story homes. Elevators also make it easy for people to transport bulky or heavy objects from one floor to the next.

So, how do residential elevators work? Understanding what the different parts of an elevator are and how they fit together will give you a better idea of how these machines can take you from one floor to the next.

Anatomy of an Elevator

The simplest way to describe an elevator is as a box that travels up and down a vertical shaft. How the box travels up and down is determined by the drive system. Take a closer look at the parts of an elevator to see how they work together:

Elevator Cabs

The elevator cab is the part of an elevator that many people are most familiar with. It’s the car that you ride in to get from one floor to the next. Elevator cabs are available in a variety of sizes and finishes. Some of the features most cabs have in common include:

  • Operating panel
  • Handrails
  • Ceiling lights

Depending on the style of the cab, it might have painted or wood-paneled walls. Some cabs have laminate flooring or can be created with a floor that matches the flooring in the rest of the house.

Elevator Doors and Gates

So, how do elevator doors work? Elevator gates and doors do more than open and close — they play an essential role when it comes to safety. The gate and door keep people from falling out of the cab while it travels. They also keep people from falling into the shaft when the elevator is on a different floor.

Home elevators often have either one or two entrances, depending on the design of the elevator and the layout of the home. Each entrance needs its own door, which opens on the landing, and its own gate, which is part of the cab.

Elevator gates are available in a variety of styles. One popular style for home elevators is an accordion gate, which folds up and collapses to one side to let people on and off the elevator. Home elevators might have a scissor, or collapsible gate, installed instead.

The door to an elevator is on the landing and should stay closed when the elevator is not on the floor. Often, a landing door looks like other doors in your home. The key difference between a landing door and a door to a closet or bedroom is that you’ll find an elevator cab rather than a bedroom or closet when you open the door. For safety reasons, a landing door should be locked when the elevator is on a different floor or is in transit.

Safety measures also limit the space between the elevator gate and the landing door. To prevent a small child or pet from becoming stuck between the gate and the door, there should be no more than 4 inches between the two. If a 4-inch round object, such as a ball, is placed in the space between the gate and the door, the door will not be able to close, and the elevator won’t run.

Elevator Drive Systems

The drive system is the machinery that moves the elevator cab from one floor to the next. Inclinator offers three drive system options:

  1. Cable drum: The cable drum drive system is ideal for compact spaces, as it uses a patented monorail to guide the cab up and down. The drive system itself is located in a separate machine room. A cable drum system is compatible with all of our cab styles and is able to travel up to 50 feet.
  2. Hydraulic: The hydraulic drive system also features a monorail and requires a separate machine room. A notable benefit of our hydraulic drive system is that it uses much less fluid than other home elevator brands.
  3. MRL Overhead Cable Drum: The MRL overhead cable drum drive system uses two guide rails to draw the cab up and down. It requires less height between floors than other drive systems, making it an ideal choice for split-level houses. “MRL” stands for “machine room-less.”

Elevator Shaft

The elevator shaft is the part of the home that houses the elevator cab and rail. Typically, a home elevator shaft will contain the following:

  • The pit: The pit is the area just underneath the lowest level of the home. It provides space for the bottom of the cab when the elevator is on the bottom floor of the house. The depth of the pit can vary based on the type of drive system and cab installed.
  • The rail wall: The rail wall holds the monorail or guide rails. It keeps the cab of the elevator stable and secure.
  • Overhead: The overhead area is the space at the top of the shaft on the uppermost floor. Just as the pit provides room for the bottom of the cab when the elevator is on the lowest level, the overhead space provides room for the top of the cab when the elevator is on the top story.

Residential Elevators vs. Commercial Elevators

If you’re considering adding an elevator to your home, you’ll want to install a residential elevator, not a commercial model. There are some notable differences between how residential elevators work and how commercial models do. There is also a difference in size.

For example, commercial elevators need to be specific sizes to meet ADA Standards and safety code requirements. The same rules don’t apply to residential elevators. In fact, residential elevators tend to be much smaller than commercial ones.

Are Elevators Safe?

Elevators have come a long way in terms of safety over the years. Today’s home elevators are designed and built to follow safety standards set forth in section 5.3 of the National Safety Code for Elevators (ASME ANSI A17.1/CSA B44-2016). The safety standards create weight limits, speed limits and distance limits. They also detail how much space can be between landings and doors and doors and gates to minimize the risk of accidental injury.

All of Inclinator’s elevators are designed and built to follow the code. Our elevators have numerous safety features that ensure they meet or exceed the most up-to-date safety codes.

Learn More About How Home Elevators Work Today

An elevator can help you stay in your home for longer and can make life more convenient. If you’re interested in learning more about your options, search for an Inclinator dealer near you today. You can also contact us with any questions you have about residential elevators and the installation process.

Does My House Have Enough Room for an Elevator?

Previously considered an expensive luxury reserved only for mega-mansions, home elevators have become far more cost-friendly, customizable and dimensionally feasible for many home and mobility needs. The question is no longer if elevators in your house are realistic — it’s where and when you could install one.

From simple two-story elevators to multi-floor lifts, discover how to calculate enough space for your home elevator. Installing a custom-fit elevator can deliver peace of mind that your home stays your home for years to come, regardless of what life throws your way.

does my house have enough room for an elevator

Size Requirements for a Home Elevator

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a residential elevator’s dimensions cannot exceed 84 inches tall, or 7 feet in total height. Elevator width is a bit more flexible, with common dimensions running between 36 and 40 inches, or 3 to 3.3 feet.

These dimensions allow enough room for one to two people to fit comfortably within your home elevator. However, these sizes only determine the interior elevator cab, or the portion of an elevator where passengers ride. Having enough room for a home elevator system requires space for numerous elevator mechanical components, as well as that cozy cab.

In fact, installing an entire home elevator system requires room for:

  • The elevator shaft
  • The elevator cab
  • Clear entry and exit pathways
  • Possible machine room or mechanical control system

In total, experts recommend roughly 18 to 20 total square feet of space to build or retrofit a custom residential elevator. Check your state’s specific building ordinances to know the exact sizing maximums or restrictions that exist for residential work.

Now that you have a rough estimate for how an elevator may fit into your home, you should consider several other factors to make sure you get a well-designed, well-functioning unit.

1. Typical Residential Elevator Sizes

There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for building home elevators. Units will first and foremost be designed around architectural features and layout of your home, plus account for local, state and federal residential building codes.

That said, the typical elevator room sizes include:

  • 38 inches wide by 48 inches deep
  • 36 inches wide by 60 inches deep
  • 40 inches wide by 54 inches deep
  • 60 inches wide by 60 inches deep

Again, the final size of your residential elevator will be determined by home layout, building regulations and the overall shaft allowance. The shaft and your elevator’s power and control mechanisms must be built first, influencing the rest of the spatial design.

2. Custom Home Elevator Weight Capacities

In addition to the size of your elevator, you’ll also need to select your unit’s weight capacity. Elevator weight capacity dictates how many people can ride in the cab at once. It also gives a reasonable basis to determine additional items or cargo you can transport with you, from groceries or luggage to home goods and even furniture.

Residential elevators come in four typical weight capacities:

  • 500 pounds
  • 750 pounds
  • 950 pounds
  • 1,000+ pounds

An elevator’s weight capacity, lift platform design and mechanical powering systems all go hand-in-hand. For example, a 500-pound capacity unit can’t be bigger than 12 square feet.

residential elevator weight capacity

Because weight capacity, lift design and unit powering method are so interconnected, it’s essential to work with an architect, elevator installation expert or certified elevator dealer to ensure you’re getting a cohesive and safe system that meets your needs.

Do I Have Space for an Elevator Machine Room?

Today, there are two main mechanical powering systems operating residential elevators:

  • Machine-room powered: As their name suggests, machine-room powered elevators require dedicated space above or below the elevator to house and maintain the unit’s mechanical pulley and powering cables, motors and similar components. Most elevators are machine-room powered, including the common hydraulic elevator type, as well as machine room-powered track elevators.
  • Machine room-less (MRL) powered: Machine room-less elevators do not require system mechanics to have their own dedicated space at the top or bottom of the unit. Instead, their designs tend to rely on pneumatic tube systems to safely raise and lower lifts, with the tubing itself installed into adjacent walls.

The amount of room you have available in your home will be the largest factor influencing if a machine room or MRL system is right for you. Both types of powering mechanisms are one of the most important components for elevators in homes.

Powering systems control your home elevator’s movements, and they influence where in your home you can install your new or retrofit elevator. For this reason, determining if your home has space for an elevator machine room is just as essential as planning for shafts, cabs and cleared door entry and exit ways.

Luckily, both types are available to configure within the vast majority of homes — even for retrofit projects where architects and elevator installation specialists recommend one type over the other. Both types of elevators additionally come with their own pros and cons described below.

1. Home Elevator Models Requiring Machine Rooms

Home elevators with machine rooms remain a popular choice for several reasons:

  • Pros: Machine-room elevators are quieter and produce fewer vibrations than an MRL. In a home setting, these sound controls are key to a convenient, comfortable system. Most machine-room backed elevator types, such as hydraulic, can also carry heavier loads and maintain smoother lift rates.
  • Cons: Machine-room elevators require a base pit or similar space to house its major power and control mechanisms. In some cases, these pits may have to be specially dug or configured within your home, slowing down the construction timeline.

2. Home Elevator Models Without Machine Rooms

Consider these advantages and disadvantages of home MRL elevators:

  • Pros: On average, MRL elevators are more energy-efficient than their traditional machine-room counterparts. This type of elevator uses hoist space better, making them an attractive option when the installation space is tight or narrow. Because of this spatial flexibility, MRL elevators pneumatic components can fit into existing floor spaces, wall spaces or even attached to balconies, trimming down installation timelines and saving money up-front.
  • Cons: Still requires additional space at the top of the elevator for the hoist.

In the end, you and your trusted elevator installation team will determine the best type for you based on several factors, from your budget and ideal installation timeline to the spatial availability and energy efficiency of your home.

MRL elevator models

Do I Have Enough Room for a Home Elevator?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases, your home likely has enough room for an elevator.

By consulting with an elevator manufacturer or representative, you can determine the perfect-fit residential elevator size, including:

  • Proper height, width and depth
  • Necessary load capacity
  • Appropriate home placement
  • Installation and ongoing costs
  • Energy efficiency tips and best practices
  • Machine room or MRL

In addition, working with a residential elevator manufacturer directly introduces a range of customizations to make your elevator look and feel as cozy as your home. Possible home elevator cab customizations might include:

  • Walls: Wall paneling and finishes feature hardwoods, exotic woods and clear glass panes or unfinished panels for you to make a true custom mark.
  • Flooring: Commercial-grade, durable yet aesthetic laminate floors to match your hardwood or unfinished flooring prepared for custom floors.
  • Rails: Handrails that offer form and function, from wood fixtures to upgraded metal pieces in a range of tones and glosses.
  • Ceiling: Ceiling panels and tiles to match the rest of your elevator and bring cohesion to your overall elevator. Here at Inclinator, most of our residential elevators carry the option for customizable grained ceilings.
  • Lighting: Custom LED lighting can be installed into your unit, or choose to configure your own fixtures for added detail.
  • Operating panels: Pick accents and finishing styles for your elevator’s operating panel to match the rest of your look.

Other Regulations for an Elevator in the House

Aside from state and local building ordinances, a few other regulations pertain to fitting an elevator in your home.

1. Special Needs and Accessibility

Given its private, residential setting rather than a public or commercial one, elevators in homes do not need to meet the ADA’s full list of detailed size, placement, dimensional and aesthetic qualifications.

Logically, though, a home elevator does need to be designed for wheelchair accessibility. This includes designing platforms and cabs capable of fitting wheelchairs, plus providing enough room for wheelchair spins, movements and changes of direction without great hazard or inconvenience for the rider.

Other safety and building regulations may still apply, particularly at the local level. However, to get the most out of your home elevator, you may invest in additional elevator components or add-ons, such as:

  • Braille text on operating panels to assist those with vision impairments
  • Automated doors or gates to simplify entries and exits
  • Motion-activated lighting

2. Safety Regulations

Home elevators are a safe and secure form of in-home transportation. With today’s advancements in mechanical engineering, architecture and technology, there’s never been a safer or more convenient time to install one in your house.

What’s more, general safety regulations exist guiding elevator manufacturing and installation best practices. Ask all elevator businesses you’re vetting if they follow 2016’s ASME 17.1/CSA B44 ordinances. Following these codes is voluntary, so you’ll want to find out early if a manufacturer adheres to them. In doing so, you proactively take your safety into your own hands.

At Inclinator, we outfit state-of-art elevator technology that meets the utmost safety standards. We install our elevators like they’re going into our own homes, carrying our own loved ones. This means elevator safety features such as:

  • Code-compliant safety gates
  • Backup battery-powered cabs
  • Emergency backup lighting
  • Full-time cab monitoring
  • Optional door safety guards and light curtains

Benefits of Having Space for a Home Elevator

While adding or reinstalling an elevator in your home is a significant renovation to take on, it comes with proven benefits.

benefits of home elevators

1. Stay in Your Home No Matter What

Home elevators provide assurance that you can reside at home whatever your future physical or health circumstances.

Few people enjoy considering these realities — and too many avoid it until it’s too late. Adding a small, custom residential elevator to your home provides true comfort that you’ll never have to give up the place you call home.

2. Have Uninhibited Home Access

It’s your home, after all. Enjoy every floor, nook and cranny with a residential elevator fitted to size and ready around-the-clock for easy home navigation.

Home elevators minimize current and potential mobility issues impairing your ability to travel up or down flights of stairs. Without such an option, many are forced to rearrange room functions, such as creating a makeshift bedroom in the main floor living room if all bedrooms are on the second story.

Preserve the integrity of your home — and your full, unimpeded enjoyment of it — by considering a custom home elevator.

3. Increase Your Home’s Value

Yes, adding an elevator to your home can increase its overall value.

Many prospective buyers may specifically look for homes with elevators. Plus, with the aging U.S. population, it’s arguably never been a better time to install a unit in your home to attract potential homebuyers who will require an elevator to have freedom in their home.

Other situations where adding a properly sized residential elevator to your home will up its value include:

  • Those looking for a multi-generational-ready home
  • Aging individuals, couples and their families
  • Individuals with mobility impairments
  • Larger, multi-unit or multi-family homes, duplexes or apartments
  • Vacation properties you rent

In total, the cost of outfitting a new elevator in your home will vary. Estimates depend on your location, the cab or lift style selected, the drive style selected, hoistway needs, local regulations and more.

However, the cost of paying or retrofitting that elevator is calculated into a home’s resale value. What’s more, installing an elevator for residential purposes still requires minimal construction, even compared to other home improvement projects.

4. Have Lifelong Peace of Mind

The peace of mind afforded by a simple home elevator is unparalleled.

Your home is your sanctuary — the place where you create memories, share experiences, host events, celebrate holidays and milestones and experience the everyday pleasures of life. Aging and mobility impairments may be inevitable, but leaving this special place because of them shouldn’t be.

With the right elevator manufacturer, support is always nearby. Local elevator repair teams are right around the corner to address any mechanical issues as soon as they strike, plus provide annual checkups delivering even further peace of mind.

Does My House Have Room for an Elevator?

Turn to an Inclinator dealer for clear answers on whether your house has room for an elevator. Our nationwide network of elevator experts can give you a personalized assessment of the viability of an elevator in your house, as well as price estimates, installation guidance, best-fit elevator types and so much more. Find your local dealer today.

does my house have room for an elevator