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How Safe Are Home Elevators?

Home elevators have been around for a long time, but in recent years, they’ve become an increasingly common and convenient way for people to enjoy mobility in their homes. If you’re considering installing a home elevator, you may wonder about the safety of these devices. Perhaps you’ve heard from friends or family members that home elevators can be dangerous, or you just aren’t sure whether there are any hazards involved with operating an elevator in your home.

how safe are home elevators

We’re going to explore this question and give you the answers you need to be informed on this issue and feel confident in your decision to equip your home with an elevator that is attractive, convenient and ⁠— most importantly ⁠— safe.

What Safety Codes Apply to Home Elevators?

There are standards and codes that are meant to ensure all home elevators adhere to certain safety protocols. For example, elevator codes dictate the safe weight limit, speed, travel distance and safety features home elevator manufacturers should factor into their designs. You may be wondering who sets these standards.

safety codes for home elevators

Two standard-setting bodies collaborate to create many of the codes that govern the engineering of all sorts of products, including home elevators. These standard-setting bodies are the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The standard that applies to elevators is ASME ANSI A17.1/CSA B44-2016 National Safety Code for Elevators. Section 5.3 of this code applies specifically to private residence elevators.

As engineering experts become more aware of potential dangers and innovate new ways to make elevators even safer, the standards can be updated to require new safety features and design elements. The most recent update to the National Safety Code for Elevators came in 2016. This update was aimed at making elevators safer for small children by minimizing the space between the hoistway door and elevator car door. The update also created a requirement that doors be able to withstand 75 pounds of force without warping or displacement to prevent small children from getting stuck between the doors.

In addition to the national safety codes that apply to all home elevators in the U.S., individual states may have their own building codes that speak to the requirements for elevators. These codes may enforce more stringent requirements about the safety features a home elevator should include. So, if you’re building a home and including an elevator in it, you’ll need to make sure your elevator is up to code for your area.

Note that national and state standards for elevators apply to elevators that are being manufactured or installed. This means that older elevators in older homes likely won’t offer the same level of safety as newly manufactured home elevators. As we’ll see, the safety issues that have arisen from some home elevators would not be an issue for modern elevators that are equipped with all the required safety features.

At Inclinator, we ensure our elevators adhere to or exceed safety codes. We stay on top of the latest industry trends and features to ensure our elevators are as reliable and safe as they come. Safety will always be a top priority for us at Inclinator.

Why Do Some People Think Home Elevators Are Unsafe?

You may be wondering, if home elevators are manufactured according to carefully created safety standards, then why do some people believe they are dangerous? On the whole, home elevators have been very safe for a long time. However, one design flaw that some elevators contained up until recently caused a significant degree of concern, particularly for parents of small children.

The problem was the gap between the two doors used to access the elevator — the door at the landing and the door or gate on the elevator itself. This gap was hardly noticeable to adults, but for a small child, it was enough space to become trapped if they stepped into the space and the elevator was called to another floor and started to move. This problem sadly resulted in some injuries and even fatalities, which caused organizations like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and advocacy groups like the Safety Institute to point out the problem.

Though the most recent update to the National Safety Code for Elevators was focused on addressing this issue, many homes still contain elevators that were manufactured before 2016 and, therefore, may contain large enough gaps to be problematic for small children. The CPSC urges homeowners with residential elevators to have their elevators inspected by a professional who can recommend solutions to bring the elevator up to the current safety standards.

In summary, safety issues associated with home elevators have been largely limited to one design flaw that is present in older elevators. Modern elevators, such as the ones available from Inclinator, are safe for every member of your family, including children. If you have an older elevator, you may want to update it or replace it with a new home elevator that will offer all the modern safety features you need, along with design elements you’ll love.

What Features Help Make Modern Home Elevators Safe?

Let’s look at some of the features that enhance the safety of modern elevators. All of these features are meant to head off any potential problems that could occur while someone is operating an elevator, such as a power outage, for example. As you’ll see, modern safety features help prevent the hazards involving small children as well.

With the following features built into your home elevator, you can be confident that your elevator is more than just convenient or attractive — it’s also safe. All of these elevator safety features are available with Inclinator home elevators.

safety features in home elevators

1. Gates

One feature that all home elevators should have to maintain safety is a gate. These gates are attached to the elevator cab, meaning they travel with the cab wherever it goes. To enter your home elevator, you would open the door to the hoistway and then open the gate to access the elevator cab. Commercial elevators have a similar setup, but instead of a door and a gate, they have two sets of doors, one that opens into the hoistway and one that opens directly into the cab.

You may wonder, why not just enter the elevator directly through one door and leave out the gate? The reality is that gates are a necessary safety feature. Gates aren’t just there for looks. Your elevator can tell when a gate is open and closed, which keeps it from moving when someone is only partway into the cab. Your elevator will only operate if the gate is completely free of any obstruction and has been closed. This keeps elevator passengers safe

While gates are primarily there for safety and not looks, they can still add charm to your home elevator. Gates come in a couple of different styles. One traditional style is the accordion gate, which can be finished with a variety of materials. Another option is a collapsible scissor gate, which comes in various metal finishes.

2. Interlocks

Interlocks are another important way modern home elevators maintain safety. To understand what interlocks are, it’s helpful to look at the dangerous scenarios they prevent. Imagine someone were to open a door to their elevator on the ground floor, not realizing that the elevator is already in motion, descending from the second floor. Or, what if you open the door, and the elevator is stationed at a different landing in your house? In this case, you’d be opening the door to an empty elevator shaft.

Either of these situations could be dangerous, but you never have to worry about them occurring when your elevators are equipped with interlocks. Interlocks keep you from opening a door to your elevator when the elevator isn’t stationed securely at that landing. In other words, your elevator doors will remain locked whenever the elevator is in motion or at a different landing. This keeps you from opening the door and encountering a dangerous situation.

How do the locks know whether the elevator is present or not? Interlocks are comprised of two components, a lock and a keeper bracket, which need to be connected for the door to open. If they are disconnected, the door will remain closed. These components connect mechanically, electrically or both.

3. Lighting and Indicators

It’s important that home elevators have sufficient lighting so that you can see where you’re going at all times. This lighting can help prevent trips, slips and falls that could cause injury. At Inclinator, all of our home elevators have two bright, low-temperature LED ceiling lights that turn whenever the door opens or the elevator is running. We also offer upgrades to our standard lighting setup.

Our elevators also feature operating panels with illuminated floor indicators. There is a panel in the cab and one at each landing near the elevator door. On the panel in the cab, there is an overrun switch that you can use to turn off your elevator if needed.

3. Backup Power

A power outage could prove dangerous without the proper safety features. Since home elevators operate using electricity, a sudden loss of power when you’re riding in an elevator could mean getting stuck in the elevator cab, which is a situation no one wants to experience. The good news is that you won’t have to worry about this scenario with modern home elevators.

That’s because of an important safety feature — backup battery power. In the event of an electrical outage, your backup battery power will kick in and safely move the elevator to the lowest landing. If you lose power because of a storm, this is a helpful feature since you’ll typically want to seek shelter in the lowest level of your home.

You also won’t have to worry about suddenly finding yourself in the dark in your elevator if the power goes out. Another safety feature intended for outages is emergency lighting.

4. Handrails

One safety feature that doesn’t need to be high-tech is a handrail. Handrails may be simple features, but they play an important role in making home elevators safe.

Handrails give you something to grip if you ever feel unsteady and need some assistance to maintain or regain your stability. This feature can be especially helpful for senior citizens or anyone with balance or mobility challenges. Home elevators from Inclinator come complete with either flat wooden handrails finished to match the color of the cab walls or round handrails in a sleek, sophisticated metal finish.

5. Emergency Bells and Phones

If an emergency situation, such as a health crisis, injury or other problem, occurs while you’re in your elevator, you may need a way to call for help. Emergency bells and in-elevator telephones can provide this vital capability.

An emergency bell can help family or emergency personnel locate you if you’re ever in the midst of an emergency and are in or near your elevator. It’s essential that this alarm is easy to find and use.

An optional feature you can add to your home elevator is a telephone. Elevator phones are also considered a safety feature since they provide a way for you to call for help in an emergency. This phone features a flush-mounted speakerphone, an easy-to-operate manual dialer and two-way conversation.  If your home is equipped with an analog telephone line, then including a phone in your elevator is simple. If you don’t carry a cellphone with you and prefer to have a landline telephone placed conveniently in your elevator, these phones are a great option.

The Final Verdict

So, considering what we’ve learned, are home elevators safe? The answer is yes, modern home elevators are very safe. With national safety codes, local building codes and extra safety measures, home elevators today are designed to ensure a high level of safety.

Older elevators may require updating or replacing so you can take advantage of the many safety features that have developed to ensure safety in your elevator in every situation. Even if you have small children or grandchildren, you can rest easy knowing your home elevator will never put them in danger.

update safety features in older home elevators

Safe Home Elevators From Inclinator Company of America

For nearly a century, Inclinator has been a pioneer in the world of home elevators and has embraced advances in technology, particularly regarding safety. Our elevators adhere to all safety codes and standards. In addition to being safe, our home elevators are sophisticated, convenient and customizable. If you’ve been considering installing a residential elevator in your home, you can now move forward with confidence in your decision, knowing that your home elevator will enhance your mobility without posing any safety issues.

To get started, find an Inclinator dealer near you. Our dealers can answer your questions and help you determine the best home elevator style, system and features for you and your home.

safe home elevators from inclinator

How to Maintain Your Home Elevator

A residential elevator provides convenient mobility between floors so you can get where you need to go safely. However, like any piece of mechanical equipment, home elevators experience wear and tear through years of consistent use. If this wear and tear isn’t monitored closely enough, it can result in needing system or structural repairs.

As more and more people choose to enjoy the convenience of an elevator at home, the question “Do I really need maintenance?” is becoming more common. In short, the answer is yes. Scheduling regular residential elevator maintenance at least annually is the best way to ensure the continued safety and effective operation of the machinery.

We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the benefits of regular home elevator service and general elevator maintenance requirements.

Problems That Can Occur In Home Elevators

Many issues can cause a residential elevator to malfunction, most of which can be chalked up to skipping basic maintenance. The following are common issues you might see with your home elevator over time.

1. Misaligned Motor Drives

One of the problems that occurs most frequently in home elevators is motor drives shifting out of alignment. A misaligned shaft is a hazard and can cause severe, uneven wear on the elevator that may require premature replacement of components. Elevator repair services use laser measuring equipment to check that your motor drives are aligned and that the motor bearings are in good condition.

2. Contaminated Elevator Oil

Like a lot of machinery, your home elevator uses oil to lubricate components to enable smooth movement. Problems like misalignment can cause small pieces of metal to contaminate your elevator’s oil, hindering proper movement and locking the elevator in a cycle of increased wear and tear. Maintenance companies can analyze the oil in your elevator to detect contaminants that can point to different problems with the elevator.

3. Power Failures

When the power to a home elevator fails, it’s not usually a dangerous situation because all Inclinator elevators have a backup that slowly lowers the cab so you can exit during an outage. However, not being able to use a critical part of your home mobility system can cause frustration and derail your plans for the day, so having the power to your elevator examined regularly can keep your life running smoothly. Elevator maintenance technicians can conduct a power quality survey to uncover any electrical faults that may affect your elevator in the near future.

4. Worn Sheaves

Sheaves are part of the cable system of an elevator. They grip the ropes, and when they rotate, the ropes move to bring the elevator up or down. For an elevator to work safely, sheaves must be inspected with regularity. If your home elevator maintenance service sees that the sheaves are wearing down, they will either replace them altogether or re-groove them to prevent damage to the hoist ropes and keep them in good shape for longer.

Regular maintenance can help prevent all of these common issues. It’s best to leave the job to the professionals unless you have extensive experience with how to fix an elevator.

How Elevator Maintenance and Inspection Works

When you purchased your elevator and completed the process of installation, your elevator company should have recommended a maintenance schedule of service every six months to one year. This is a standard service interval that economically preserves the function of your home elevator.

During a maintenance visit, a technician will come to your home to perform a thorough inspection of all the elevator’s critical components. The technician will have a checklist to work through, but inspection appointments are an excellent time to point out any special concerns you have about the elevator or service. The typical points of inspection include:

  • Elevator gate
  • Hoistway door sensors
  • Car operation controls
  • Buttons in the hall station
  • Emergency systems

The systems above are checked to ensure continued functionality. The following systems and components should be checked to evaluate wear:

  • Rail system
  • Travel cables
  • Fastening anchors
  • Drive system

If small fixes like adding more lubrication are necessary, the technician may be able to complete these preventative repairs on the spot. If components need replacement, you will receive a quote for the parts and service required and set an appointment to make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions about the function of your elevator or how to best use it, this is the perfect time to ask. Don’t hesitate to bring up your questions. Quality elevator maintenance companies like Inclinator will go the extra mile to ensure you understand how to keep your elevator in tip-top shape.

How Often Do I Need Home Elevator Maintenance?

Most reputable elevator maintenance companies strongly suggest that homeowners do not go more than a year without home elevator maintenance, and the more frequent your service, the better. A lot can happen in a year, and something that starts as a minor problem can quickly escalate ⁠— causing damage to your elevator and making it more costly to repair. There are a variety of factors that affect how often you need service. These are three of the most important.

1. Model and Type of Elevator

You likely chose your home elevator model and type based on a combination of features and cost. Depending on the type of elevator, you may be dealing with more moving parts that need more frequent attention than other models. As part of your pre-installation consultations, your elevator company should clearly communicate any extra maintenance needs associated with your elevator model.

2. Existing Service Contract

Your elevator may have come with a service contract that has a certain number of inspections per year attached, for a certain number of years. If you do have a contract, not taking advantage of it is a big mistake. Pre-scheduled service appointments mean you have one less thing to keep track of in your busy life.

3. Local Regulations

When you were researching home elevator installation, you may have come across local laws that affect how often you need to have your elevator serviced. These regulations may seem unduly strict in some areas, but the rules are put in place to help homeowners minimize risks associated with improper elevator care.

Benefits of Regular Home Elevator Maintenance

Still unsure about the importance of regular maintenance for your home elevator? Think of it as a way to protect your investment. Giving your home elevator the attention and service it needs up front has significant benefits in the long run. These are just some of the reasons to commit to consistent maintenance.

1. Save Money on Repairs

If you’ve ever owned a vehicle for more than a few years, you know how important maintenance is for preventing costly repairs. Machinery like a home elevator can continue working when it has one small issue, but once you have more than one of these issues at a time, the risk of a more complex problem continues to increase. In the end, an issue that could have been fixed if spotted early ends up becoming a repair that can cost hundreds of dollars or more. Prevention truly is the best medicine, and catching problems early makes them easier on your wallet.

2. Stay Safe

Trying to DIY elevator service can be dangerous. When you’re handling electrical systems and other complex systems, making a mistake can endanger your life directly and make the elevator less safe for you and your family’s use. Professional home elevator service allows you to eliminate the risk of injury or accidentally damaging the elevator. Leave the hard work to the professionals.

3. Increase Your Peace of Mind

No one wants to spend precious time and energy worrying about one of the key fixtures in their home. If you’re hearing a strange sound or the motion of your elevator doesn’t feel quite right, don’t waste time worrying about what the problem could be. Regular maintenance is the key to feeling confident about the function and longevity of your investment.

3 Steps to Keep Your Elevator in Top Shape

Although you shouldn’t attempt to repair or service your elevator yourself, there are things you can do during daily operation to keep the elevator in good condition between service appointments.

1. Keep Track of the Elevator’s Operation

In terms of diagnosing potential problems in your home elevator, keeping a basic log of operations is extremely helpful. You don’t have to keep a tally of every time you go up and down, but having a general schedule that estimates the number of uses on a typical day can be beneficial. If you notice any issues, jot down some details like what time of day the problem occurs and whether it is more pronounced on upward or downward trips. These details can help you and your service company spot patterns, making diagnosis and repair easier.

2. Do Not Use Industrial Cleaners

You might assume that a piece of machinery like an elevator is something that needs industrial cleaners to look its best. However, industrial cleaners are so harsh that they can corrode your elevator’s internal components, especially if you’re using a spray bottle that may distribute cleaner into nooks and crannies. Be sure to contact your elevator maintenance company before using anything more powerful than basic household cleaners.

3. Be Aware of the Weight Limits

Home elevators can typically handle hundreds of pounds, but knowing the exact weight limit of your model is crucial to proper long-term use. A rule of thumb is not to overload the elevator with more than a quarter of its max capacity. Depending on the size and primary use of the elevator, you may need to give weight limit more consideration. For example, an elevator that is used to transport one or two people at a time may not have the weight capacity to handle someone on a heavy electric scooter.

Even a one-time abuse of your home elevator’s weight capacity can lead to issues. For example, an elevator designed for individual use should not be loaded up with a bed, couch and dresser while moving in or out of the home.

Choosing the Right Elevator Maintenance Company

While maximizing your elevator’s function and lifespan through maintenance is essential, it’s important to remember that not all elevator maintenance companies are created equal. The technicians that service your elevator are responsible for ensuring its continued functioning, so it’s imperative to know that they are up to the task. Look for these three qualities in your elevator service company.

1. Customer Service

A company’s service should extend beyond elevator maintenance and repair to making sure you feel comfortable. Do they pick up the phone promptly? Are they willing and able to answer your questions surrounding the service you’re paying for? Do they show up on time for appointments and treat your home with respect? If the answer to any of these is no, you may want to consider choosing a more reputable company.

2. Quality of Field Service

If you are at home when your home elevator service occurs, you have the opportunity to observe the way the technician works. Does the tech look like he or she is just racing through the inspection checklist so they can move on to their next appointment? Maintenance technicians should give every part of the checklist its due attention, carefully inspecting each component to make sure nothing slips under the radar.

3. Safe and Compliant Practices

Unfortunately, some elevator companies engage in dubious or even illegal corner-cutting practices such as back-dating inspections. Before selecting a company, check their reviews on various sources to ensure there’s no evidence of shady practices. The longer the history of reviews, the more accurately you will be able to gauge whether the company does everything safely and by the book.

Get Started With Home Elevator Maintenance

Your home elevator should serve you for years to come, and preventive maintenance is the surest way to make that happen. Scheduling regular maintenance can help give you peace of mind that your elevator will continue to operate safely and reliably. It can also help prevent more expensive, complicated repairs in the future.

To properly maintain your elevator, you need to find qualified professionals you can trust. To get started, find your local authorized Inclinator dealer here and contact them about maintenance and repair services.

Why You Should Install a Home Elevator

how to choose the right home elevator

Residential elevators are quickly becoming a common fixture and a convenient addition in American homes.

Choosing a home elevator that’s perfect for your home can provide you with an asset that offers convenience for years to come. A home elevator can save you money, increase your home’s value and provide accessibility in later years.

Why Install a Home Elevator?

More and more families are choosing to install residential elevators for reasons that include:

1. Improves Home Mobility for Aging in Place

“Aging in place” refers to seniors who want to enjoy the security and independence that comes with living by themselves in their own houses for as long as they can. Opting to do this is becoming quite common. AARP reports that 87 percent of seniors would prefer to live out their golden years in their own homes. Doing so can often mean changing your front door’s accessibility, adding grab bars throughout the house and making modifications to your shower and tub areas.

One of the most significant concerns about older adults living by themselves as they age is the increased risk of falling and injuring themselves. Millions of seniors go to the emergency room every year due to falls. Because many people do not want to risk going up and down stairs when they grow older, they end up selling their two-story dream homes and moving into single-story houses where they no longer have to climb stairs.

Adding a home elevator is an alternative mobility option that can allow you to stay in your home — while also being less costly than moving into a one-story home of the same size. Moving to a whole new home instead of staying in your current home often comes with financial, logistical and emotional costs.

2. Increases the Resale Value of Your Home

Installing an elevator in your home can significantly boost its resale value. Prospective buyers are often drawn to homes with elevator access, as they are also thinking about the future and if and when their mobility may be limited.

Even if you do not plan to take advantage of the equity your home elevator offers, you can still consider the positive boost it brings to your home’s value.

3. Fits With Home Decor and Style

Conveniently, your residential elevator finishes can match the rest of your home, including the trim, flooring and door, which can look just like the other doors in your home.

With the door closed, the call button may be the only hint that there’s an elevator behind it.

How Do You Choose a Residential Elevator?

Finding the perfect home elevator requires you to make many decisions, including the right manufacturer and vendor, the right drive system and the right style for every component.

steps to choosing a residential elevator

Step 1: Find the Right Manufacturer and Dealer

Connecting with a manufacturer and vendor early in your process sets you up for a successful project from the start. Partnering with a reliable vendor means you can rely on them to guide you through customization options and give you a pretty accurate cost estimate. Knowing your budget and what options will work with your budget is another way a professional, reputable vendor can serve as your buyer guide for a home elevator.

When shopping for a reliable residential elevator brand and dealer to perform your elevator installation, choose one that is:

  • Reputable: Read customer reviews of home elevator manufacturers in your area, read contractor listings and ask previous customers for references. The more positive testimonials you receive from past customers, the more confident you’ll feel about your choice. Pick a reputable manufacturer that has a history in the industry.
  • Experienced: Again, confirm they’ve been in business for many years. Home elevator manufacturing and installation requires that many local and national safety codes are met — which means experience is critical. One good indication that a business is experienced is that it belongs to professional organizations such as the Association of Members of the Accessibility Industry (AEMA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The NAHB provides a designation known as Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS), which means that the representative from the domestic elevator company is well-versed in the modifications required for homeowners who want to age in place.
  • Customizable: When looking for a home elevator, regardless of whether it’s for a new house under construction or an existing home, you’re searching for a special new addition to your home. You’ll want your elevator to blend seamlessly with the house around it, so you’ll want every detail to be right — including the flooring, cab material, lighting and gate. The more customization options available to you for each elevator component, the more likely you can design an elevator that matches your house perfectly.

One important feature to look for is the maintenance or repair service plans offered by the company or vendor, and what those plans cover. While a total break is unlikely, knowing you can get reliable, trustworthy and quick service should you have an emergency repair need is a valuable offering. If you install a home elevator and come to depend on it for mobility and access between the floors of your home, having it out of commission becomes more than a minor inconvenience. Preventing more substantial repairs can best be done by regular tune-ups and maintenance. Catching potential problems early often leads to reduced repair costs because you are focusing on proactive maintenance instead of reactive repairs. And even before you get to a repair stage, knowing you’ve selected a professional who can install the elevator safely and properly — in the right location in your home and with features and sizing appropriate for your space — helps ensure efficient and safe functionality for many years of use.

Look up your manufacturer in the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is considered to be an unbiased source of information on the reliability of local businesses and has information on over three million organizations in North America. The BBB’s job is not to assess the quality of a business’s services or products or recommend one company over another. Instead, its role is to make information about businesses available to consumers. By looking up your manufacturer and dealer in the BBB, you can find out whether or not they respond promptly and satisfactorily to the complaints of their customers, whether they’ve ignored or mistreated them and whether they’ve received BBB accreditation.

The installation of a home elevator is a process that professionals should perform — it requires the coordination of multi-disciplinary tradespeople and proficiency in various code requirements. By hiring a licensed, experienced elevator technician, you can be sure that your home elevator installation will meet all local and national codes, which is necessary for your safety.

Step 2: Choose a Cab Style That Matches Your Home Style and Decor Preferences

The next step you want to take when building your elevator is picking the perfect cab style.

inclinator offers five custom configurations to their home elevators

At Inclinator, we offer five configurations that you can customize to suit your tastes and meet your needs:

  • 100 Cab: The 100 Cab style features walls that you can paint any color you wish to match the decor of your home. It also comes with a white ceiling and high-quality laminate flooring with a beautiful wood finish.
  • 200 Cab: Featuring hardwood walls, which add texture and warmth to the elevator, the 200 Cab style is available with both light and dark styles.
  • 300 Cab: Available in dark or light wood and with decorative molding — including a chair rail, picture frame, baseboard and crown — the 300 Cab offers an elegant appearance. Various wood grains are also available, making it easy to match the decor of your home.
  • 400 Cab: The luxurious 400 Cab features solid rich wood with decorative molding, trim and panels. 2-panel and 4-panel designs are also available, as well as a vast array of custom accessories and finishes.
  • 500 Cab: The modern 500 Cab stands out for its clean lines, maximum visibility and elegant appearance. Its aluminum frame comes in white, black and silver.

All Inclinator Cabs are compatible with our offered drive systems.

Step 3: Pick the Right Drive System Based on Your Available Space and Location

Although you often don’t see it, your drive system powers your elevator and is one of its most essential components.

Drive systems usually fall into one of the following categories: hydraulic or cable. The drive system you choose depends on what you need and how your home is laid out. Make sure to speak with your dealer, builder or architect to figure out which system is most suitable for your home.

Hydraulic Elevators

A hydraulic elevator pumps hydraulic fluid through a valve into the hydraulic arm’s cylinder. Then, the fluid’s pressure causes a piston to rise, pushing the elevator up with it. Rides are smooth, and quiet.

Hydraulic elevators need space for a reservoir and hydraulic pump and need to be serviced and maintained more frequently — maintenance usually involves making sure the hydraulic fluid level is appropriate, the electric pump stays in good condition and the valves allow for proper flow of the hydraulic fluid.

Cable Elevators

Cable-driven elevators use a motor and drum unit, which is found at the top of the shaft, and two cables, which are connected to the drums to transport the cab. The purpose of the drums is to wind up the cable to pull up the cab and spool the cable out to let it down. The motor turning the drums is controlled by a variable-frequency drive, which can control the speed of the elevator smoothly.

Cable elevators have dimensions that are similar to those of a hydraulic elevator, but they don’t a large space for a machine room.

Here are some of the specifications for the drive systems we offer at Inclinator:

  • Elevette® Cable Drum: The Elevette Cable Drum uses a space-saving monorail-guiding system and is the most compact drive system we offer. It’s also quieter than any other cable drum elevator available today and can serve up to six landings.
  • Elevette® Hydraulic: This hydraulic drive system features our patented HydraRide system and provides a quiet, smooth ride. It uses considerably less fluid than other brands of hydraulic elevators.
  • Elevette® MRL Overhead Cable Drum: This cable drum drive system was designed for a smooth, quiet ride and runs on two guide rails that are custom-formed, enhancing the elevator’s stability. This drive is highly suitable for split-level homes, as it features the lowest minimum distance required between floors. As well the MRL does not require a machine room.

drive systems for your home elevator

The ability to choose any one of our drive systems for your elevator install means you have yet another way to truly customize your home elevator and pick a system that works best with your home configuration, budget and preferences.

Step 4: Select a Gate and Door Configuration

To customize your home elevator, one of the simplest decisions you need to make is picking a safety gate, which comes in many colors and materials. You also need to choose the number of openings in your elevator so you can accommodate the traffic patterns in your house.

At Inclinator, our residential elevators are designed to accommodate one or two openings and are available in a maximum of 18 configurations. We build our elevators to adhere to the strictest safety standards, and our fold gates are no exception. In fact, our home elevators won’t even operate if the gate isn’t completely closed and free of obstructions.

Our gates have been styled to complement the style of your cab and your home. For this reason, we offer a wide variety of accordion and collapsible gate styles. Our accordion fold gates even come with automatic gate operators to make them safer and easier to use.

Step 5: Finalize Your Home Elevator Customizations

customize the interior of your cab

Inclinator is proud to offer the most customizable elevators of any brand on the market. We provide options for every single aspect of your cab, so it’ll be easy to get creative with your design.

Below are examples of the options we offer for each component of your cab:

  • Walls: Your elevator walls can be customized with practically any wood finish that you can imagine. These include everything from the popular hardwoods to the most exotic varieties. Although most of our cabs are finished in our factory, you can choose to have them delivered unfinished so that you can finish it on site.
  • Floors: Our elevators all include high-quality laminate floors with wood grain simulation. You can also choose to have the flooring unfinished so that you can finish it yourself.
  • Ceilings: The 100 Cab comes with a white standard laminate ceiling, and for our 200, 300 and 400 cabs, you can choose between a white or wood ceiling, allowing you to match the wood on the elevator walls.
  • Handrails: For the handrails, you can choose between round metal or decorative wood. Many different finishes are also available.
  • Lights: By default, your elevator will be lit up with two lights, although you can add more if necessary.
  • Operation Panels: For your hall station and cab operating panel, you have a choice between one of three finishes. Raised and flushed styles are available.

lights in your elevator

Tips for Shopping for a Home Elevator

When it comes time to pick out the perfect home elevator, here are few useful pointers:

  • Request an in-home consultation: As mentioned above, the most suitable elevator for your home in part depends on the layout of your home. Have a representative from the company come to your home and determine which elevator type is most suitable for your space.

match your cab to your home's style

  • Match an elevator to your home’s style: Before deciding on the style of your elevator, make sure to identify the style of your home. Is it modern or traditional? Romantic or vintage? Regardless of what the style is, make sure that your home elevator matches or complements it. For instance, do you want a modern appearance, and would a glass shaft with metal trim work best? Perhaps solid wood with recessed or raised panels is a excellent option for the foyer of your colonial-style home.

find an inclinator dealer to install a home elevator

Order Your Home Elevator From an Inclinator Dealer Today

Inclinator manufactures the industry’s safest, most reliable and most customizable home elevators — allowing them to fit into practically any space with a high degree of precision.

But Inclinator isn’t just the leading manufacturer of customizable elevators — it was also the first to bring them to American homeowners. For almost a century, we’ve been providing American-made residential elevators to homes across the country — and plan to continue to do so for many years to come.

As every one of our elevators is crafted individually with great skill, customizing your elevator is simple and worry-free. Home elevators are a valuable investment, and the increase in home value that results is often greater than the costs of installing the elevator. And when the time comes to sell it, a home elevator will allow you to sell it to a bigger market.

Browse the styles and resources on our site, find an Inclinator dealer today or contact us with any questions.

How to Make Home Wheelchair Accessible

how to make your home wheelchair accessible

You can improve the accessibility of your home with minor modifications. Many updates do not require drastic changes to your home’s appearance. Make sure you cover all the areas that need modification with this wheelchair accessibility through this checklist.

Steps to Make a Home Wheelchair Friendly

A wheelchair-friendly home allows a person in a wheelchair to go through their daily routine as efficiently as possible. You can hire someone to make these changes or take a DIY approach, depending on your level of home improvement skills.

steps to make home wheelchair accessible

Applying universal design principles to your home will ensure everyone, including wheelchair users, can use the home for years to come. As the name suggests, universal design principles create spaces for everyone, regardless of height, ability or age. Universal design can help people to remain in their homes even as they age.

The major areas that need changes include doorways, corridors, stairs, kitchens and bathrooms. Focusing on these places maximizes the mobility around the home for the wheelchair user and others. For all these areas, always measure the alterations to ensure they meet recommended guidelines for accessibility.

Making your home more accessible increases safety and livability. Just a few changes to the design will be valuable investments in yourself and your home.

How to Make Doorways Wheelchair Friendly

Making your doorways more accessible may require you to expand the space. Doorways need to be wide enough to ensure ample space for a wheelchair to maneuver through openings. Some codes require 34-inch-wide exterior doors and 32-inch-wide interior doors. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires doorways to have a minimum of 32 inches of width with the door open. Always check with your local building regulations before beginning any remodeling projects.

Standard doorway widths may not fulfill minimum accessibility requirements. For example, while the International Residential Code mandates 36-inch-wide by 80-inch-tall opening for the main entry door, these measurements do not apply to the back or side doors. Commonly found exterior doors measure anywhere between 28 inches and 32 inches. You may need to widen the back or side door of your home.

Inside the home, standard doors for hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms measure 34 inches wide. However, half-bath doors generally are much narrower, with a distance between 25 and 30 inches wide. Small doorways will need widening because their existing width is too small for a wheelchair to maneuver through them.

If you need to resize the door openings, you will have to remove the existing frame as well as the door. When cutting a new doorway, add two inches to the door width you want to add to account for the size of the frame. For example, if you need to install 32-inch-wide doors, cut the opening to 34 inches wide.

When widening doorways, also look at the new doors you will install and their hardware. The ADA outlines requirements to make businesses and public places fully accessible to all. Included in these guidelines are instructions for doors and doorways. Doors should not have hardware that requires twisting or firm gripping. Replace doorknobs with handles that a person can open single-handedly. For example, lever handles are easier to open than knobs.

Thresholds across doorways need to have a rounded surface to allow a wheelchair to smoothly pass over them. Do not build thresholds higher than 1/2-inch to adhere to ADA regulations. The exception to this rule is for sliding glass doors leading to the outside, which may have a maximum height of 3/4-inch for the threshold.

Widening doorways makes your home more accessible, but you will need to make additional modifications throughout the rest of the home, especially for multi-story buildings that may require wheelchair access to upper floor bedrooms and other spaces.

How to Make the Whole Home Wheelchair Friendly

To make the rest of the home accessible, you must examine hallway widths and how you will get people and goods to the second floor. Check the lighting levels throughout the home in all rooms. Do not allow light to cast shadows along corridors or in the moving spaces of rooms. Exchange incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights. These lights will last longer and offer more light while using less electricity, so you can choose higher wattages for increased brightness in darker areas.

Universal design principles recommend corridors measure at least 36 inches wide. Keep the floor clear of obstacles and do not allow any furnishings to impede movement. This means tables and bookcases must still allow for at least three feet of maneuverable space on the floor along the entire length of every corridor or hallway.

To facilitate the movement of wheelchair wheels over the flooring, replace all carpeting and throw rugs that could bunch and catch wheels with smoother options. Hardwood floors, ceramic tile, laminate flooring or vinyl can make using a wheelchair easier through the home. Reassess the flooring throughout the home, not just in the hallways. Bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and corridors all need smooth flooring.

In addition to moving throughout each floor of the home, you also must consider means to move between levels. Home elevators fit into almost any home design and provide a safe, convenient way to move in a wheelchair to another level. Dumbwaiters raise items between floors, making daily chores easier.

home elevators for wheelchairs

1. Home Elevators for Wheelchairs

Home elevators offer several benefits over other means of changing floors. Unlike stair lifts, elevators can fit inside an easily hidden closet. They also have numerous customization options, while you cannot alter the appearance of stair lifts. Because anyone can use an elevator, adding one increases the value of the home; however, a stair lift does not raise your home’s value. Stair lifts also impede progress up the stairway for those who choose to walk.

You have three choices for the drive system of your elevator, depending on the availability of space. All three systems — cable drum, hydraulic and MRL overhead cable drum — offer similar safety features such as an overrun switch, emergency battery lowering and a self-diagnostic processor.

The differences between these drive systems include the amount of space the motor requires and how far the elevator can move. Cable drum systems take up the least amount of space and operate the quietest. MRL overhead cable drums have the smallest space between floors, making them ideal for split-level homes or those with half-stories. Hydraulic systems from Inclinator use much less fluid than competitors. All three elevator types have similar speeds of 40-feet per minute and reach up to six stories.

To customize the elevator, you choose from five cab styles and 18 cab configurations, including the gate type and the number of openings. These gates are safety features, holding the occupant securely inside until the elevator reaches the desired floor.

A home elevator enhances mobility for those who use wheelchairs as well as everyone else in the home. Unlike stair lifts, home elevators provide a more universal accessibility option for all people.

2. Dumbwaiters

Carrying food, laundry or other goods throughout the home becomes easier with dumbwaiters. Our residential models from Inclinator support up to 120 pounds and make as many as four stops. A dumbwaiter runs off your home’s electricity using a standard 120-volt power source, and you can choose the style of the exterior door to match the décor of the home.

Dumbwaiters have a fascinating history that highlights these appliances’ usefulness. These devices originated as hand-powered lifts to move merchandise, ore and similar goods from basements and mines to upper levels. Later, these lifts migrated to the homes of the wealthy where they moved food from the kitchen to dining areas. They served the same purpose in restaurants where they silently brought food to the level of patrons, giving them their outdated name of dumbwaiters.

Though many have forgotten the origin of the name, the dumbwaiter still performs the same task in homes today. Instead of using manual power, though, electricity automatically moves the loads between floors. While older versions had weight limits based on what the user could hoist, today’s dumbwaiters can carry up to 120 pounds in homes, and even more for commercial models.

Install a dumbwaiter between the basement and kitchen to bring groceries up. You can use it to move dirty clothes from an upper floor bathroom down to the laundry room. Once washed, dried and folded, you can move the cleaned towels and clothes back upstairs via the dumbwaiter.

A dumbwaiter allows a person in a wheelchair to move items between floors without needing to worry about trying to balance them on their lap. These devices also make moving things between floors safer for those who use the stairs. Children and others will have less chance of tripping if they have both hands free to hold the stair rail instead of carrying things in their arms.

How to Make Home Entrances Wheelchair Accessible

You must do more than just make the exterior door accessible when it comes to making the front wheelchair friendly. You need to have a way to get from the driveway to the front, side and back doors either walking, from a wheelchair or using any type of mobility aid.

Ensure footpaths are flat and smooth the entire extent and have a width to accommodate wheelchairs. Replace gravel or paving stone walkways with smooth concrete or continuous outdoor tiles. You will also need a way to reach the door since most homes have a door built higher than the front lawn.

While you can build a ramp, you must use the lowest slope possible and make it at least 36 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair. Depending on the rise the ramp needs to make, it could be extremely long. A more space-saving option is adding a wheelchair lift.

Select a wheelchair lift based on the vertical distance it needs to cover. Lifts often have an emergency stop that includes an alarm to alert others that the user needs assistance. Additionally, the ramps often fold up automatically to hold the user safely inside. Some premium models automatically detects objects under the lift and stop the device from descending.

How to Make Bathrooms and Kitchens Wheelchair Friendly

The hardest working places in the home are the kitchen and bathroom. Making these rooms wheelchair friendly may cost the least and be the easiest because accessories to adapt these spaces are not expensive and are readily available.

bathroom upgrades for wheelchair accessibility

Inside the bathroom, install grab bars for the tub, shower and toilet. The bars will likely require you to reinforce the walls because they must hold at least 250 pounds, regardless of the weight of the user. Though bathrooms, especially half baths, are small rooms, ensure at least a 30-by-48-inch clear space on the floor for a wheelchair to move around in.

Depending on the wheelchair user’s level of mobility, consider a roll-in shower that allows the user to get inside the shower stall from their chair. A handheld showerhead makes it easier to bathe when seated.

Raise the toilet seat and lower the sink to improve accessibility. If the sink uses knobs, replace them with easy-to-use handles that do not require gripping strength to turn. Don’t forget to make similar changes to the kitchen sink. While focusing on plumbing, lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature saves energy while preventing scald burns, especially in children or those who cannot quickly move away from the water stream.

In the kitchen, allow for multiple users by lowering several work surfaces to allow for those in a wheelchair to use them, but leave other working areas for standing users. Have at least one sink in the kitchen at a working height for someone in a wheelchair. Consider a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer unit to allow for access to both sides while seated. Choose a stovetop with controls on the front for easier use.

Making a home wheelchair accessible also makes it easier for everyone to move through it. With additions such as home elevators and dumbwaiters, you will also increase the home’s value. Greater value for a home that adapts to everyone’s needs is a combination that benefits all those in the home.

inclinator can help make home wheelchair accessible

Find the Components You Need to Improve Mobility at Home

Specialty components, such as elevators and dumbwaiters, require finding knowledgeable dealers who stock quality brands. If you want to incorporate an Inclinator elevator or dumbwaiter into your home, find a dealer near you. For a multi-story home, safe and reliable lift systems that help with the mobility of people and items should be priorities for making your home wheelchair friendly.

How to Choose a Home Elevator: A Buyer’s Guide for Homeowners

home elevator buyers guide

Once you decide to buy a home elevator, you can choose from several options for styles, locations and features. Making the right selections for your lifestyle and home will give you the best return on your investment while giving your living space a safe, secure means of transportation between floors.

How to Choose a Home Elevator: Step-By-Step Guide

how to choose a home elevator

The steps to choosing a home elevator include examining your home, lifestyle and needs. You must make several decisions about features and operations. Fortunately, you are not alone in this process. When you go to a dealer for a home elevator, you can learn about how various technical components work and make a better choice on which of these suits your home and available space.

choose a location for your home elevator

1. Choose a Location in the Home

Where you install the elevator in your home will be a critical choice. You need it to be convenient for use while allowing for space to hide the drive equipment. If possible, try to install the device near the stairs in your home to allow for two people going to another floor to meet near each other, even if one takes the elevator and the other takes the stairs.

Areas near the stairs often are ideal for installing home elevators, anyway, thanks to the reinforced structure around the stairs and additional free space available. You may need an adjacent room next to the elevator to house the lifting equipment, depending on the model you select.

Where you enter and exit the elevator are also important factors when thinking about the site. Because you can choose where you locate the gates, you can pick a place where you enter and exit the elevator from opposite sides or even at 90-degree angles.

Good locations for elevators in the home include from the garage to the living area, from the living area to an upper hall near a bedroom or inside lower level halls to upper levels. The layout of your home and where you most often travel through it will help you find a location that provides the most convenient means of moving between floors.

Once you know where you will install the elevator, your work continues with customizing the cab and operating system. Not all brands offer you the same choices for tailoring the design to your tastes.

choose a cab style for your home elevator

2. Choose a Cab Style

With five different cab styles, Inclinator elevators give you multiple interior options to match your home’s décor and your personal preferences. You won’t get these same options from other companies. Talk to your local Inclinator dealer about your cab style choices.

The 100 cab comes standard on Inclinator elevators. These cabs can be up to 15 square feet or larger depending on local building codes. The plain white walls of this cab give you the chance to paint or adorn them as desired. A commercial-grade laminate floor with a neutral-colored wood grain finish ensures a good grip for wheelchair wheels and a flat surface. A white ceiling helps this cab model to feel brighter by aiding light reflection from the fixtures you choose for the top of the space.

If you would like to upgrade the interior of the cab to a luxurious hardwood interior on the walls and ceiling, choose the 200 cab model. You will still enjoy the simple coloring of the same laminate flooring used in the 100 model, but the walls and ceilings have real wood. We have many kinds of wood available for the wall finish options. You will choose the wood type during the customization step for the cab.

Just like the 200 cab, the 300 model includes hardwood walls and ceiling. The difference between the two is the addition of decorative molding on the 300. Inside the 300 cab, you will find picture frame molding in the bottom half, chair railing around the middle, baseboard on the bottom and crown molding at the top. These trim additions enhance the appearance of the wood walls with texture.

With the 400 cab, you have various panel options to have in the wood walls and ceiling. Unlike the 100 and 200 cars, which use a standard commercial laminate flooring, the cabs with model numbers 300, 400 and 500 give you the option to choose an unfinished base that allows you to use the same floor covering in your home at the bottom of the elevator. You can also replace some of the wall panels with acrylic, allowing you to see out of the elevator.

The most luxurious model, the 500 cab, features a modern aesthetic with its aluminum frame and acrylic ceiling. You have options for the frame color, including white, black and silver. Clear panels on all sides allow for the greatest amount of visibility from inside this elevator cab.

While the cab options give you customization for the interior, all offer similar standard safety features — handrail, ceiling lights, gates compliant with 2016 ASME code, interlocks to prevent access to the well while the elevator moves and emergency battery backup to lower the elevator to the lowest level in power outages. You also have the option to include a phone in the cab or automatic door opening.

customize the cab for your home elevator

3. Customize the Cab

You can customize several features in the interior of the cab — handrail, flooring, ceiling, walls, light fixtures and control panels. Adapting these to your preferences will improve how well the cab fits into your home’s style.

First, choose whether you want the standard or a custom handrail. The basic design is a flat wooden handle. We include a bar inside the elevator for safety, but you can choose a more appealing design if the flat wood does not appeal to you. Other options include rounded handrails made of metal. You have three choices for finishes — stainless, bronze and brass. Texturing ensures each of these is easy to grip.

Next, choose the flooring. Our standard floor is laminate with a faux-wood finish. You can choose the wood the floor resembles. Options include walnut, cherry, oak and maple. For some cab models, you can also get unfinished oak wood or choose to leave the floor unfinished to have your home’s flooring extend into the elevator.

The ceiling options depend on the type of cab you pick. For the 100 cab, the ceiling has a white color that comes standard. Other cabs, 200, 300 and 400, provide you the option of choosing to leave the top white or have it match the finish of the walls. The 500 can has a clear dome of acrylic on the ceiling for improved lighting and view.

The wall finishes also depend on your cab selection. Models 200, 300 and 400 give you a choice of various woods for the walls inside the cab:

  • Alder
  • Cherry
  • Dark Oak
  • Medium oak
  • Red Oak
  • Mahogany
  • Maple
  • Walnut

If you have a 400 model, you must also find the configuration of the panels you prefer. Choose between raised or recessed panels. Also, for the walls, you have two main options — one panel over a second or a pair over two others of the same width. Both choices have crown molding. For the ceiling, you can select one, two or four panels.

In addition to the style of the cab’s interior, you can also choose the colors of the lights and panel, which are among the electrical component decisions you will need to make.

4. Choose the Electrical Components

While you have a pair of LED lights as standard inside the elevator, you may have as many as four lights. The finishes for the lights include white in the center and on the circular frame or white in the middle with a bronze exterior.

choose the electrical components for your home elevator

You can select electrical panel styles that include color and whether you want a flush or raised panel. The color options are brushed brass, stainless and oil rubbed bronze. You have these same choices for the hall stations.

If desired, you can incorporate an automatic gate or door openers into the elevator. For those who experience difficulty opening the gate on their own, automated operation will make using the elevator more accessible. The automatic door feature also benefits those who prefer the added convenience of not needing to have a free hand when getting into or off the elevator after opening the gate.

Another electrical option you have is a telephone incorporated into the wall of the elevator. You would use this to call in an emergency while inside. It does require an analog phone line to function.

choose the elevator gates and operators for your home elevator

5. Choose Elevator Gates and Operators

You get the choice of accordion or scissor gates for the elevator and manual or automatic operation.

The accordion gates have panels that completely cover the interior of the elevator. You can choose clear or bronze acrylic panels if you prefer to see through the door. Other panel options are vinyl or hardwood in a variety of colors and designs. You may also select the finish of the aluminum frame — silver, gold or bronze. This gate style is the only one that has automation as an option.

Scissor gates have a classic appearance and open manually. You may choose silver aluminum or oil-rubbed bronze for the finish of these openings. The design of these gates showcases the distinctive scissor-looking hinges that allow the gate to fold to one side.

If you select an accordion gate, you may also choose to install an automatic gate operator. We also will install automatic door openers for the doors that cover the entrances to the elevator shaft at each level. These move the gate or door open automatically when needed, making the elevator easier to use and more convenient.

6. Choose a Drive System

The drive system is one of the most technical choices you will need to make for your home elevator. Your local Inclinator dealer can help you decide which is best for your home. You want to make certain you have enough space to operate the drive system. Carefully measure the available space to be sure you have the correct measurements to reference when making your choice.

Also, determine the maximum amount of travel distance you need. While all three drive systems can accommodate six separate landings, the machine-roomless (MRL) cable drum system has a travel distance of 40 feet, while cable drum and hydraulic systems can move 50 feet up.

The machine-roomless cable drum system has the mechanism installed at the top of the shaft. You do not need a separate room for the drive system. If you have more height available, you may prefer this option. It also has the smallest required distance between floors, so you can install this to reach half-floors or loft areas of your split-level home.

If you don’t have as much space for the elevator shaft but do have a separate room for the lift equipment, consider hydraulic or cable drum elevators. Inclinator’s hydraulic home elevator requires less fluid for the system than other brands do. The cable drum system offers the versatility for a smaller 500-pound capacity elevator with 12 square feet of cab space. This smaller space requires 6 inches of pit depth compared to 10 inches for 1,000-pound capacity elevators.

Regardless of the drive system you choose, you will get a microprocessor that reliably tells you if anything is wrong with the system as well as what is wrong. Additionally, these three drive mechanisms offer redundant safety features to keep the operation going even in an emergency. Emergency lighting and a separate battery to lower the elevator to the ground slowly both activate in a power loss. The hoisting mechanism uses a robust monorail system that lifts the supporting base under the lift.

Inclinator elevators offer these safety features to keep anyone who uses the elevator protected in emergencies that cause power outages.

find an authorized inclinator dealer

7. Find an Authorized Dealer of the Manufacturer

Once you’ve made your choices, contact an authorized Inclinator dealer. You can readily find one near you with our dealer locator. When you find a dealer near you, you will also find people who can help you make the best choices for your home elevator and get it in your home for greater mobility.

Common FAQs on Home Elevators

common FAQs about home elevators

If you aren’t sure whether a home elevator is for you, you probably still have some questions. Getting answers to these will help you make an informed decision. Researching information about home elevators puts you in an excellent position to also make quality choices when customizing your device. Here are some common concerns people have about home elevator systems.

1. How Much Do Home Elevators Cost?

The average cost for home elevator installation in the United States is $40,000. This amount depends heavily on where you live, local installation costs, taxes, type of drive system, size of the elevator, extra work for retrofitting and custom options.

While the costs may increase as you choose more custom options, this home elevator will likely be the only one you want for your home. It could also increase your home’s value, giving you a return on what you spend to install the elevator. Make the most of your investment by selecting choices that make it as comfortable and useful as possible.

2. What Safety Features Do Home Elevators Have?

Not all home elevators adhere to safety standards outlined in the ASME A17.1-2016 code. This code remains voluntary in many parts of the country, but the guidelines ensure the safe construction of home elevators. At Inclinator, we regularly review our safety features and design to ensure we stay in compliance with these standards for the security of anyone who uses our products.

Home elevators have many safety features inside to protect the rider. Inclinator installs emergency features such as lighting and battery-powered lowering. To prevent doors at landings from opening if the elevator is on another floor, we install interlocks on the doors, which block access to the empty well to protect others in the home while someone uses the elevator.

Our elevators have a switch inside that prevents the system from moving if you have the gate open. This action reduces the chances of someone getting caught by a moving cab. Additionally, if the power shuts off, the elevator does not stop between floors. A backup battery lowers it to the ground and emergency lights come on.

For those who stand while riding the elevator, we install a handrail in all our cabs. This railing helps to keep the rider steady throughout the ride.

Always ask about the safety features of an elevator before deciding on a brand for your home because not all manufacturers offer the same safety options for their products.

3. How Much Space Do I Need for a Home Elevator?

The amount of space you need for your home elevator depends on the drive system. For example, cable drum systems require space in the shaft as well as another room for the equipment. The same is true of hydraulic elevators. MRL elevators do not need a separate room, but they require extra space at the top of the shaft.

Our cabs have a standard 15 square foot size, but you can also opt for a smaller 12 square foot cab if you choose a cable drum system. Because elevators will need space for the pit, cab and machinery, talk to a dealer for information about specifics for the model and drive system you want.

4. How Many Floors Can a Home Elevator Travel?

The number of floors a home elevator can reach depends significantly on the brand. Inclinator models can access six levels, but not all brands can. If you have a tall home, ask about the total travel distance the elevator can reach.

5. Does a Home Elevator Add Resale Value to My House?

With a population that continues to grow older, the United States is the perfect place to build a home elevator as an investment. If you plan to sell your home in the future, having a home elevator adds to its value, especially since homebuyers may have aging family members, want to grow old in the home or have a personal need for extra accessibility.

While stair lifts generally do nothing for your home’s value, a home elevator can increase your home’s resale value by 10%, making this decision a valuable investment in your future.

find an authorized inclinator dealer

Take the Next Step in Choosing a Home Elevator

You can continue to live in your home, regardless of your mobility level, by adding accessibility features, such as an elevator. A home elevator is safe and reliable and can raise your home’s value while improving your ability to move throughout the house. Now you know how to choose a home elevator, you need to find out where to get one.

Whether you know exactly what you want or need some help choosing, an Inclinator dealer can help you get the elevator that will fit your home and needs. Find your nearest Inclinator dealer to start the process of getting an elevator in your home.

Aging in Place Home Improvement Ideas

Growing old in your home has become a dream for many Americans. With the Baby Boomers creeping past retirement age, lots of people are looking for ways they or their parents can modify their homes in order to grow older there.

Aging at home has countless advantages. People feel comfortable in the houses where they raised their families. They may feel scared of moving to a place where they won’t know other people. A home may hold treasured memories of spouses who have passed away. It can also offer comforting familiarity to someone entering the early stages of memory loss.

Aging in place does require some advanced planning. When you take steps such as installing a home dumbwaiter or a home elevator, it can become less daunting.

7 Aging in Place Home Improvement Ideas

Set up your home to anticipate issues you or your loved one may face while growing older. Installing new appliances and removing items that lack long-term practicality will make aging in place much easier. We recommend the following seven home improvement ideas to transform your house.

1. Place Grab Bars

Many older adults develop mobility issues. Installing grab bars in parts of the house that pose the highest risk to low-mobility individuals can reduce the chances of an accident. Grab bars are metal bars attached to the wall, strategically positioned in places where you might need extra support. You may want to install grab bars:

  • On either side of the toilet
  • In the shower
  • Next to your bed

Make sure to use sturdy grab bars that can support the weight of whoever will use them. Most grab bars can hold up to 250 pounds. If you need something with more capacity, you may have to look into specially made bars.

Anyone can install grab bars, though it does demand a precise approach. The bars should be at the right height for the person they’re meant to help, so ask that person to remain nearby when you install so that you can take measurements. Screw the bars into wall studs so that they won’t pop out.

2. Use Outdoor Ramps or a Wheelchair Lift

Many homes require you to climb at least one or two stairs to get to the front door. As you age, this process becomes more difficult, and not just for people in wheelchairs. Older adults may struggle with their balance, which makes navigating stairs difficult. You have two choices to address this problem:

  • Outdoor ramp: If you do not currently use a wheelchair, this installation may be your best option, as you can still navigate an outdoor ramp if you do get a wheelchair later. Unless you have experience with carpentry or contracting, you’ll likely need to employ a contractor to get this work done.
  • Wheelchair lift: A residential wheelchair lift works like the one you would install in a van. It raises and lowers a wheelchair so that you can get from the ground to the porch and wheel yourself in the door. This solution requires professional installation.

3. Install a Home Elevator

As you age, navigating stairs becomes more difficult. Many older adults who do not require the use of a wheelchair may still suffer from balance issues. Diabetes and other conditions common among older adults can impair feet and legs, which makes stair usage more difficult. If you have a multi-story home, consider installing a home elevator.

Home elevators offer a practical, affordable solution to being unable to go up or down stairs. An elevator installed with your customized options will allow you to stay in your home for a longer time and alleviate worries about falling down the stairs or being unable to get down from a higher floor. When you get your elevator installed, look for these features:

  • Handrails inside the cab
  • Simple and intuitive operating panel
  • LED ceiling lights

If you have specific design requests, you can even choose a company that will allow you to have a professional designer customize the final look of the inside of the cab. This investment will even pay off by raising the resale value of your house.

4. Change Flooring

You may love the gorgeous high-pile carpet you had installed in your living room a decade ago. But as you age, you need to adjust your flooring to meet your mobility requirements. If you use a walker, for instance, plush carpeting will impede your ability to get across the room. Those in wheelchairs may prefer no carpeting at all. You should discuss your special requirements with a flooring professional who can recommend solutions specific to your situation and home layout.

Other ideas for redoing your floors include the following:

  • Make flooring contrast when the height of the surface changes between rooms as a signal that it goes up or down.
  • Install gentle up and down ramps from each room to ease the surface transition.
  • Put a firm pad beneath any carpeting.
  • Pick a carpet that’s less than a half-inch high.
  • For rooms without carpet, install non-glare, smooth surfaces that also resist slips.

5. Update Lighting

As you get older, your eyesight often gets worse. You may have trouble seeing objects both close and far away. Adjusting your light can assist you with this problem. You’ll want more and stronger lighting. Some areas you should concentrate on include:

  • Task lighting: Improve the lighting where you perform tasks, such as in your garage or kitchen, to decrease the odds of hurting yourself while you work.
  • Stairs: Add lights on stairs to aid you with getting up and down, which becomes harder when you have balance issues or problems with feet or leg function.
  • Closets: If you don’t have overhead lights in your closets, add them so that you can see what you’re looking for.

In addition to improving your lighting, you want to make it accessible. Those who use wheelchairs may want to move light switches down. May older adults find their fine motor skills declining, so swapping out light switches for pads or dimmers may make it easier to turn lights on and off. In addition, adding more light switches, such as one on either side of a room, means you won’t have to cross over a room just to turn out a light.

6. Incorporate a Home Dumbwaiter

Carrying groceries up your stairs becomes more challenging as you age. You could hurt a hip or end up in the hospital if you fall on the stairs while trying to bring food from your car to your kitchen. Installing a home dumbwaiter will give you a new way to complete this task. Dumbwaiters are essentially small elevators that you can send from floor to floor carrying inanimate objects. You can get them with automated controls and to match your home interior to make floor-to-floor transportation a breeze.

7. Install Arthritis-Friendly Knobs

Many individuals over the age of 65 suffer from arthritis, which can make it difficult to grasp things in their hands. Arthritis-friendly knobs have levels you only have to push down to enter. Replace knobs throughout the home, including ones for closets and front doors.

These changes to your home will make aging in place much easier. Do you need assistance with a home elevator or dumbwaiter installation? If so, contact us to set up an appointment, or find a dealer near you.

Do I Need Annual Home Elevator Maintenance?

As more and more people choose to enjoy the convenience of an elevator in their home, they also start asking the same question: Do they need annual home elevator maintenance?

The short answer to that question is yes. The better you take care of your elevator, the longer it will last, and annual maintenance plays a role in that preventative care. Is it possible to skip an annual? Yes, but we wouldn’t put it off for too long. Elevators are complex machines, and all complex machines require attentiveness. We’ve put together a guide to determine when you should get maintenance, and we’ve also outlined the benefits of this service.

How Often Do Home Elevators Need Maintenance?

Generally speaking, the more maintenance you perform on your elevator, the better. The best way to ensure these machines continue to run smoothly is to address small problems before they turn into big ones, and if you go for more than a year without home elevator maintenance, you may find yourself dealing with some big problems.

How often you should get maintenance for your home elevator depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Model: What type of elevator you installed may impact how often your elevator requires maintenance. Depending on the type, it could even require more frequent inspections than annually. You may have parts that need more vigilant attention. Consult with the company that installed your elevator to find out their recommendation. We always talk to our customers about maintenance needs when we install a home elevator.
  • Contract: You may have a contract with the installation company that designates a certain number of inspections. If so, you should take advantage of those opportunities and get the service. That’s one less thing you’ll have to think about if inspections are already scheduled to occur.
  • Location: Does your town have any regulations regarding home elevator usage and inspection? Some municipalities put these regulations in place as a precaution to ensure homeowners take proper care of their elevators and don’t run into long-term troubles. You should contact your local city government to inquire about any inspection regulations. You should do so when you have your elevator installed as well to discuss any permits or fees that might be required.

Benefits of Regular Home Elevator Maintenance

Why should you get regular maintenance for your home elevator? It’s really a matter of preservation for your investment. The more attention you give the elevator’s upkeep, the longer it will last and the more efficiently it will run. You likely see similar results for other appliances or tools. When you question whether you should get your annual inspection, keep the following five advantages of regular maintenance in mind:

  1. Save money: Repairing a snagged wire or replacing a small component won’t cost a lot of money, but if that snagged wire snaps or the component breaks, it could cause serious damage to the rest of the elevator, which will take a lot of money to fix. By addressing small matters when they come up, you can decrease the likelihood of a serious issue arising with your elevator and save yourself those expenses.
  2. Gain peace of mind: Your family uses your elevator every day. You want to keep them safe, and knowing that your elevator has been examined, inspected and given a thumbs up will give you reassurance. Regular elevator maintenance is insurance against worrying about whether all your parts are up to date or your cables are worn.
  3. Form a habit: You don’t think twice about scheduling your annual car inspection because it’s a habit. It’s something you do every year, and it has become second nature. Getting regular elevator maintenance can become a habit too. In fact, you may even want to schedule it the same month as your car inspections so you have a reminder that it’s that time of year.
  4. Trust an expert: If you use a home elevator maintenance checklist, you can take care of a number of small items yourself. For instance, you can find scratches in a ceiling or a burnt-out light. But you may need assistance to identify the more serious issues. Finding an expert you trust to perform an inspection also gives you someone to call if your elevator exhibits a problem. Knowing and trusting your elevator mechanic will set you up for a better experience overall.
  5. Learn more about your elevator: Many people who get elevators in their homes are fascinated by mechanical gadgets. Practicing annual elevator maintenance will give you a chance to indulge this side of your personality. You might even find yourself looking forward to it!

Are you interested in learning more about home elevator maintenance? Or have you been thinking about getting a home elevator and want to know your options? Contact us today by filling out our online form or finding a dealer near you. We look forward to helping you!

Home Elevator Maintenance Checklist

Do you have an elevator in your home? To ensure it continues to run properly, you need to practice home elevator maintenance just as you would for a car. Think of it as preventative care. If you can spot a problem with the elevator early, you can address it, and it won’t grow into a bigger issue. So how do you know what you should be looking for?

Proper Maintenance Checklist From Home Elevator Professionals

We’ve put together a checklist you can follow to ensure you give every part of the elevator proper care. Set aside time to do this inspection regularly, and work methodically through each piece of the checklist.

Inside the Cab

Complete these five steps inside the cab:

  1. Test and replace any burned-out indicator lights.
  2. Look over the walls, handrails and ceiling of the cab and note any damage, such as scratches or cracks.
  3. Examine the deceleration, acceleration and leveling accuracy of the cab while it’s in motion, if anything it out of whack, it may require some adjustments.
  4. Test the door restrictor. If it isn’t working the right way, you should find an elevator specialist to make some small repairs.
  5. Watch the door open and close. Does it bounce or slam? It should go back and forth smoothly.

Did you note anything you couldn’t fix yourself? Start a running list of issues with the elevator. At the end of your checklist, you may need to call in a professional to assist you, and it will help if you can tell them exactly what the problems are.

Outside the Cab

Use these three steps to check the outside of the cab:

  1. Look over the lights and hall stations, swapping out any that aren’t working.
  2. Examine the clearances and the door panel.
  3. Test the Phase 1 firefighters’ service to ensure it works.

Drive System

Before you begin these three steps for the drive system, get anything that isn’t supposed to be in the machine room out. Next:

  1. Measure your oil levels, adding some if they’re low.
  2. Search electrical components to see if they have overheated or failed.
  3. Look for leaks, vibration or wear on other components, and lubricate them if needed.

The drive system may require professional assistance if you note anything wrong. While you can probably change out lights and add oil yourself, more complex issues should be handled by someone with experience because you might make the problem worse if you handle it yourself.

Top of Cab

The top of the cab requires a patient examination. Complete these six steps in order:

  1. Dust off anything that may have accumulated on the top of the cab.
  2. Inspect the function of the inspection station and stop switch.
  3. Look over all the components within your view, including leveling devices and rollers.
  4. Examine the door operator to make sure it functions correctly.
  5. Search for signs of wear on the traveling cables. Test connections to make sure they work.
  6. Look carefully for evidence of rodents or vandalism in the hoistway. This step is also a good time to ensure fire safety in the space.


Finally, your last stop should be checking out the pit using the following six steps:

  1. Check for leaks.
  2. Search for corrosion on the spring buffers, and check that they align properly.
  3. Inspect switches, safeties, rollers and all other visible components for wear.
  4. Examine the travel cable for pinches or snags.
  5. Test the GFI outlet, stop switch and lights.
  6. Finish by looking at the sump pump and making that it’s functioning correctly.

How to Find a Home Elevator Maintenance Expert

After your self-check, you may need someone to help you with repairs or take a second look at a component. Contact us to discuss your needs or find your local Inclinator dealer.

Home Elevator vs. Stair Lift

home elevator living room

Many homes have more than one level, and most of them require climbing up and down the stairs to access those levels. Unfortunately, not everyone can manage this movement. Whether your home includes someone in a wheelchair or you have an aging parent who has difficulty navigating stairs on their own, you need an alternative to assist your loved one with moving from floor to floor.

The good news is, you have options. Home elevators and stair lifts both provide vital assistance to people who cannot climb stairs. Which one offers a better fit for your household? Let’s explore the possibilities.

Pros of a Home Elevator

  • Flexible installation locations throughout your home
  • Complete configuration and design customization
  • Safest and most improved home mobility
  • Increase in home value

Home elevators offer many benefits. They prove a convenient way for residents who use wheelchairs or experience difficulty walking to move between the floors of your home and are intuitive to operate. Our home elevators can accommodate up to six levels, making the journey to the attic or basement much faster for those with limited mobility.

Here are some of the biggest advantages of choosing a home elevator over a stair lift.

1. Flexible Installation Locations

You can put your home elevator practically anywhere in the house — you’re not limited to a single area. Imagine the possibilities. You could have the elevator in the back of your home, where guests can’t see it, or make it the focal point of the entryway. You may decide to place it near the bedroom of the person who most needs its services. Stair lifts, by contrast, can only be placed in one area of the home — on the stairs.

2. Customizable Configuration and Design

Stair lifts can be difficult to disguise within a home’s aesthetic and often draw unwarranted attention. You can customize the design of your elevator to meet your decor preferences. Do you love modern? Traditional? Even something with a little country flair is fair game when you get to pick the design. You’ll even have options for the configuration that powers your system, such as:

  • Cable drum
  • MRL overhead cable drum
  • Hydraulic

3. Safe and Improved Home Mobility

Elevators give those with limited mobility a chance to do things independently. They can get into and out of the elevator by themselves, unlike with a stair lift, where they may require assistance. Elevators are safe spaces, too. Handrails give people something to lean on. They don’t have to balance in a moving chair that could stop or start unexpectedly. With an elevator, they can take control of their movement — which many people appreciate.

4. Increases Home Resale Value

Home improvements often increase the resale value of a home. An elevator is an especially valuable addition because it makes the house accessible to more people. When you pay for an elevator in your home, you’re making an investment in the future. Not only will the resale value of your home rise, but you’ll also attract more people interested in your house because of that versatility.

5. Safety and Reliability

Today’s home elevators include a variety of safety features, helping you move around your home with ease and peace of mind. Additional safety features like space guards can ensure safety, especially for children who may use a home elevator. A phone inside the elevator, an emergency stop, lights and more help keep everyone safe. By riding an elevator, guests and family members can avoid falls on a staircase and access your home safely.

Cons of Stair Lifts

  • Difficult to conceal and sticks out in your home’s design
  • Limited to no customization to match your home
  • Does not add to home resale value
  • Bulky equipment that takes up staircase space

Stair lifts provide another option for those with limited mobility get around the house. However, unlike elevators, stair lifts come with several drawbacks. Their limited range and single-rider design are a few of the more apparent efficiencies of stair lifts. Here are some of the other cons of installing a stair lift.

Difficult to Conceal

Everyone can see stair lifts and they are often not the most attractive addition. There’s no cover or drape that you can put over it. Visitors and guests will instantly see the bulky lift — there are few options on the market for disguising stair lifts.

Few Design Options

With an elevator, you can choose the cab style, the design and the types of materials used. Stair lifts are far less easy to customize. Essentially all chair lifts have the same design. You may not even have a choice of color, depending on where you get your lift.

Does Not Increase Home Resale Value

Stair lifts are not a highly desirable feature in a home, so they won’t raise the resale price of your house. You won’t get back the money you put into installing the stair lift. In fact, you may even limit the number of potential buyers. If someone doesn’t want a stair lift in their home, they’ll have to pay to have it removed, which is a high initial cost. They’ll likely look at other houses instead.

Takes up Stair Space

Many homes have relatively narrow stairways. Some also have steep stairways. Just getting up and down these stairwells under normal circumstances can feel challenging. When you add a stair lift, you narrow the existing space even more. The addition of a stair lift can make residents and guests feel like they have to squeeze themselves around the lift just to get up and down the stairs.

That lack of space can also make it more difficult to do everyday tasks such as bringing in groceries or moving something from one floor to the other. The chair on the stair lift will get in the way. If the staircase is narrow enough, lifts can potentially create safety hazards if people must dramatically maneuver around them.

Shop Home Elevators

If you’re trying to decide between a stair lift and a home elevator, the answer is probably clear to you now. You can receive more value, enjoy more versatility and get more return from a home elevator. And with so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something that fits your house perfectly.

Are you ready to begin shopping? We have a selection of home elevators to suit your unique needs. Our dedicated team can discuss the best options for your home based on size, style and budget. Get in touch with us today by calling 800-343-9007 or contact your local dealer to get started. We look forward to helping you.

Updated: 12/06/2019