For some people, a home elevator system might seem a bit like convenience overkill, but with the rise in popularity of features such as comprehensive home theaters, day spa-like bathrooms and outdoor kitchens, others would ask why not?
Obviously, if a home is 3 stories or higher, installing a home elevator system makes perfect sense. Of course, there is a sector of the population for whom this is an absolutely essential addition.
Systems for the Mobility Challenged
For people confined to wheelchairs, or those who are unable to travel up and down stairs unaided, a home elevator system can mean the difference between having to live permanently on the ground floor, or being able to move about freely in their own home. It could even mean being able to remain in their home and not have to seek an alternative residence.
Home elevator systems used to be hugely expensive, extremely space-consuming and impractical to install and use. These days, however, there are a number of options available to even those who might never have thought it possible to have one installed. Whether building a new home or upgrading your existing one, there are appropriate systems to suit.
Chair or Elevator Option
A home elevator system can consist of a chair configuration mounted on to the side of a staircase. These are space-efficient, comparatively inexpensive and rather easier to install but they are also visible and can carry just one person at a time, usually without accompaniments such as bags of groceries, baskets of laundry or items to be put away.
Residential elevators require structural changes to be made to the home but they can carry from 1 to 6 passengers, complete with cargo and can be made to integrate into the décor almost like a hallway cupboard. Naturally, this is by far the more expensive option but it’s up to the home owner to determine the benefits they need from their home elevator system.
Retrofitting to existing homes
Retrofitting a residential lift into an existing home will depend on the current layout of the house. A home elevator system can often be installed in place of closets, particularly if they are positioned one on top of the other.
Otherwise, a shaft can be constructed at the side of the house, almost as though a new chimney were being installed. There needs to be consideration for a cavity in the floor to house the machinery so this will partially determine where the elevator will be located.
Some manufacturers are developing remotely operated hydraulic systems so that there is no need for a floor pit. For cable systems, however, the engine needs to be located in closer proximity but can often be built into space in the attic.
Blending with the décor
A home elevator system can be made to integrate perfectly into the home’s décor. The interior can be fitted with similar lighting and the paneling can be color matched to the walls. Optional extras include telephones, CCTV and built-in seating.
Justifying the expense
For a person who is unable to move around their home without assistance, life can be extremely lonely, having to depend on others for their mobility. A home elevator system can extend their ability to live in their own home for many years and this can actually represent savings of thousands of dollars.
Relocating costs money, as does buying a property of near or better quality. It’s also costly to pay for home nursing services or carers to come in and assist. An investment in a home elevator system is wiser than it may at first appear, and brings with it an immeasurable sense of independence, something highly valued by anyone whose activities are restricted, whether young or aged.
photo by liz noise / CreativeCommons