What You Need to Know Before Purchasing and Installing an Elevator Stairway
LESLIE: Albert in Washington is looking to install an elevator stairway. Albert, explain to me what you’re hoping to get; what you’re looking for.
ALBERT: Well, I’m hoping to find out what a good brand of elevator stair is. My wife, she can’t climb up and down stairs because she has a heart problem and our laundry is downstairs.
TOM: Oh, boy.
ALBERT: Yeah. And it’s either take my work – half of my workshop – and turn that into a laundromat …
TOM: Albert, let’s just get this right. So your wife has a heart problem and you want to make her continue to do laundry. That’s the first (laughing) thing we’ve learned about you. Secondly, the option … the second option is for you to get rid of your workshop; but, no, you don’t want to do that. You’re going to make your poor wife go downstairs and do the laundry with her heart problem? (laughing)
LESLIE: Yeah, but those riding chairs on the stairs, those are really fun. And think about the grandkids; they’ll have a good time on it.
TOM: Alright. Okay, Albert. (chuckling)
ALBERT: Yeah. (laughing)
TOM: Alright. Well, we’re picking on you. There are actually some good brands out there and there’s a couple of ways to go. If you’re going to choose a stair lift to help your wife with that heavy laundry (laughing), you’re going to want to pick one based on a few key comparisons. One of the things you want to look for is the weight rating of the stair lift. You want to know if the lift itself can go around curves because that may be an issue, depending on how your stair landings are designed. You want to check, of course, the warranty, to see … because, you know, in a case where you’re really relying on a stair lift to get up and down, if the thing goes out, you need some service quick. And you also want to know whether or not it’s going to run on 120 or 240 volt because they’re available …
LESLIE: You might need to run special power for this.
TOM: Yeah, you could have special wiring that’s needed. I think it’s also a good idea to check with both the manufacturer directly and a local supplier to kind of get a price comparison of going different ways. Because some manufacturers will sell direct and they have local installers.
LESLIE: You might want to ask your doctor who diagnosed this heart problem, if they would recommend a brand; because they might know of one that offers better features or performs better. So they might have experience with one brand over another. So ask the doctor that you all go see.
ALBERT: Okay, that’s an idea.
TOM: Yeah, and the other thing to ask about is maintenance costs besides the warranty. Find out what’s going to be required, on an ongoing basis, for maintenance and whether or not …
LESLIE: Yeah, do they offer a service contract.
TOM: Yeah. Are you going to have added expenses because of a service contract or are they just going to come for a certain period of time at no additional cost? So these are all important things to think about when you’re purchasing and installing a stair lift. But, Albert, do us a favor, will you? Carry the laundry up and down for your wife, would you? (laughing)
ALBERT: That’s the problem is that I’m a truck driver; so I’m never hardly at home.
TOM: (laughing) So you’re generating laundry …
LESLIE: Well, you can use …
ALBERT: Otherwise, I would. I’d do the laundry for her.
TOM: You’re generating the dirty laundry but you can’t help her getting up and down the stairs.
LESLIE: Albert, you can use your wood shop to build a laundry chute for her …
TOM: There you go.
LESLIE: … so that it’ll end up on top of the washer; so when she gets down the stairs, on her stair lift, it’s waiting for her there. (laughing)
ALBERT: That’s true. But getting it back up is what her problem is.
TOM: You don’t need a stair lift; you need a laundry lift.
ALBERT: There we go.
TOM: Alright, Albert. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.