Read our 2020 Stairlift FAQ list for answers to 15 of the most frequently asked stairlift questions. Our experts provide insights into stairlift costs, installation, operation, maintenance and more.
FAQ #1: How Much Does a Stairlift Cost?
A new straight stairlift usually costs between $2,800-$3,300 installed, with no specialized upgrades. Most staircases in the United States are straight and require a basic straight stairlift. Curved stairlifts are more expensive and vary depending on the number of angle changes, length and customization. Generally, a curved stairlift will start at $9,000 or more.
The cost of a stairlift depends on the length and complexity of the staircase, lifting capacity needs and option preferences. Costs increase if you require a heavy-duty model for increased lifting capacity. Additional power options or customized seat colors or fabrics selections will also raise the price of your stairlift.
FAQ #2: Will Insurance or Medicare Pay for a Stairlift?
Stairlifts in the United States are usually ‘private pay’. That is to say insurance or Medicare will not cover the cost of the lift. However, many stairlift dealers offer financing and rental programs to help customers acquire a stairlift even if the upfront cost is a barrier.
FAQ #3: What COVID Safety Precautions Are Stairlift Dealers Taking?
Customer and stairlift dealer employee safety is important and always the top priority. For this reason, stairlift dealers form across the U.S. and Canada follow medical best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to phone conversations and email, videocalls allow local dealers to provide the contactless customer service many people currently prefer.
FAQ #4: Do Stairlifts Require a Permit?
Very few states require a stairlift permit: WA, OR, MN, GA, KY. In the event that your situation would require a permit, your stairlift dealer will obtain the required permissions on your behalf. Depending on the state and type of stairlift, permits can range from a nominal cost to approximately $500.
Some states that require permits also require an inspection after the install. If you live in one of the “permit-required” states, ask your stairlift dealer for more details.
FAQ #5: How Are Stairlifts Installed?
Stairlift rails do not attach to the wall. Rather, “feet” or clamps attach to the top of the stair treads and support the stairlift rail. The length of the staircase and the weight of the rider influence the number of clamps required during installation. For example, an average 14-step staircase usually call for four supports.
FAQ #6: Should I Install a Stairlift Myself?
No, a factory-trained professional should always install a stairlift. In-depth training and product knowledge help ensure the proper installation for stairlift. Improperly installed stairlifts can result in a safety hazard for you or your loved one, as well as unnecessary damage to the staircase.
FAQ #7: How Long Does Stairlift Installation Take?
Installation times vary depending on the length and complexity of the staircase. Curved rail stairlifts take longer to install due to the angles, but a normal straight stairlift takes 2-3 hours.
FAQ #8: Can Stairlifts be Installed on Either Side of the Staircase?
Yes, it is possible to install a stairlift on either side of a staircase.
Several manufacturers feature a universal design which allows armrest control installation on both the left and right side of the chair. This helps make operation more comfortable for both right- and left-handed people.
FAQ #9: How Wide Does My Staircase Need to Be for a Stairlift?
Most North American staircases are 36” wide. If the staircase is more narrow than 30 inches, the fit of a rider’s legs may be tight. Some people are capable of creating more room on a very tight staircase by riding with their legs to the side.
The design of the stairlift rail also affects the fit on the staircase. Horizontal rails take up more room on the stairs, while vertical rails take up less space. Vertical stairlift rails also install closer to the wall than their horizontal peers. This leaves more open space on the staircase for the rider’s legs and other family members.
FAQ #10: Can Multiple People in a Household Use the Same Stairlift?
Yes, stairlifts can have multiple users in a household if all are within the stated weight capacity.
FAQ #11: Will a Stairlift Operate During a Power Outage?
Most stairlifts are battery operated, so they will continue to work in a power outage. It is common for stairlifts to handle about ten round trips during a power outage, depending on the length of the staircase and weight of the rider.
FAQ #12: Will a Stairlift Work if Unused for an Extended Period of Time?
Much like how cars run better when driven frequently, stairlifts run most efficiently when used on a regular basis.
If you plan not to use your stairlift for a prolonged period:
– Turn off the main power supply (often located on the chair)
– Switch off the power on the battery charger
– And unplug the power charger from the wall outlet.
Once ready to resume use, reverse the above steps. Turn on the stairlift power sources and wait until the batteries are fully charged, as per the indicator light.
FAQ #13: Who Performs Stairlift Service and Maintenance?
Technicians from local dealerships and traveling manufacturer service techs offer service for stairlifts across the US and Canada.
Experts recommend arranging service work with a local dealership. Local dealers typically offer superior follow-up, service response times and emergency service availability compared to their manufacturer-direct peers. Scheduling an annual service appointment with a local stairlift dealer is a good way to ensure your lift is functioning properly well into the future.
FAQ #14: How Are Stairlifts Removed When No Longer Needed?
If you no longer require your stairlift, it can be easily removed by a stairlift technician. Some local dealers purchase used stairlifts while others do not.
When a stairlift is located on a carpeted staircase, it can often be removed with minimal noticeable effect. If installed on wooden steps, the small holes left by the stairlift rail’s feet can be refilled and stained.
FAQ #15: What Are Alternatives to a Stairlift Purchase?
Remodeling is a common alternative to purchasing a stairlift. Home modifications include bringing a basement laundry to the first floor or converting a room on the main level into a bedroom. Moving to a new home with no steps or to a care facility are also common alternatives. Any of these options is significantly more costly and time-consuming than the installation of a stairlift. By comparison, stairlifts require minimum investment and installation is typically completed within a few hours.