Important Things You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Wheelchair Lift
Updated: Feb 17
A wheelchair lift is no more a luxury but a necessity. A motorized platform use in carrying a wheelchair and its user over a barrier such as stairs or other raised levels. Installing a wheelchair lift eliminates the hassle of transferring the occupants from their wheelchair and navigating stairs. This means to make accessing inaccessible buildings easy and smooth for wheelchair users, installing a wheelchair lift becomes a priority. However, before you dish out your dollars for wheelchair lifts, here are important things to know. The point is knowing your options allows you to install the perfect wheelchair lift for your home.
CAN I INSTALL A WHEELCHAIR LIFT MYSELF?
Installing a wheelchair lift yourself is not recommended and it is best left in expert hands. For one, you want to ensure maximum safety. It only takes one error in installation to cause an accident and serious injury. Another thing is there are specifications laid down by local and national codes that need to be followed and are best left with professionals to handle.
WHAT TYPE OF WHEELCHAIR LIFT SHOULD I PURCHASE?
While deciding on the type of wheelchair lift to go for, there are factors to be put into consideration such as the size and shape of the stairs, location, and the space you can spare for installation.
The main types of wheelchair lifts are vertical platform lift, enclosed vertical platform lift, an inclined lift. Vertical platform lift has a purpose- to transport you and your wheelchair straight up leaving any vertical barrier behind. This type tends to have more carriage capabilities, more streamlined in appearance but might require additional space.
The enclosed vertical lift as the name suggests is fully enclosed and can travel quietly and smoothly between floors of a building. One good thing is that it provides the added benefit of safety by eliminating the danger of falling while traveling on higher distances. Now, if you only require something that will allow you to gain access to the second level of your home or porch or you are tight on budget, getting a vertical platform lIft makes more economic sense than the enclosed one. However, enclosed vertical lift tends to be able to withstand more harsh weather conditions than the rest and it's perfect for outdoor settings.
Are you a bit tight on space? If you have a narrow staircase and do not have enough space for a platform lift, you might want to go for an incline lift. Incline lift does not travel vertical but rather follows the leading of the stairs by traveling through the contours of the stairs or the wall adjacent to the stairs. It all stems down to your needs, location, and cost.
WHERE CAN I INSTALL MY WHEELCHAIR LIFT?
Handicapped lifts are available both indoors and outdoors but it is important to understand your needs, your space availability, and your house layout before making your decision. Where does the wheelchair user has the most difficulty assessing in your home? Do you only need to bypass a few steps or access a raised deck or patio? Is it required for users to easily navigate the interior staircase? Choosing where to install also depends on your preferences. Some homeowners prefer indoor installation because installing outdoor might be easily visible to the outside world the changes done to the home. If you have enough room for installation, this might be a good choice. If not, you might have to make some modifications to make room for your new addition. If you don't want to alter any layout, outdoor installation is your best bet. It requires minimal interior construction, easier access to various levels of the home without having to pass through the traditional entranceway, plus, most wheelchair lifts are designed to adapt to weather conditions used in outdoor settings.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INSTALL A WHEELCHAIR LIFT?
This depends on the type you are working with. Installation of basic incline lift or unenclosed vertical lifts can be completed within a few hours to days. Lifts that require more construction work or home modifications takes more time. If you are going for a customized wheelchair lift, you might also have to wait up to 4-6 weeks before it's up and running.
HOW MUCH DOES A WHEELCHAIR LIFT COST?
The cost of a wheelchair lift varies according to the designs, sizes, features, and safety options. The price range is so variable and it is important to compare the features and pricing model before choosing the one that matches your need.
For installation, the construction work required, the size and configuration of the staircases, landing capacity, enclosing, installation fees all influence the pricing. Installation of a wheelchair lift for commercial buildings costs more as there are requirements that need to be strictly adhered to which varies by region. A wheelchair lift can also be customized to meet your unique needs or to better suit the decor and aesthetics of your home. This however can attract extra fees.
Sometimes, when you decide to take more control of your life by increasing your mobility and independence, this comes with a cost.