28 June 2017
5 Common Stairlift Myths Answered
Myth #1: Stairlifts are fixed to the wall and cause damage to décor
It is a common misconception that when a stairlift is installed, it will be attached to a wall. They are actually attached to stair treads. The stairlift is mounted on to the stairlift track that runs up the length of the staircase which is fixed to some of the stair treads.
This means that, in fact, stairlift installation won’t require any building work unless a small adaptation such as trimming a window sill to avoid a clash with the seat is required. In most situations a stairlift can be fitted without the need for any adaptation to the home.
Myth #2: Stairlifts will start moving on their own
When a stairlift is not in use it can’t move anywhere unless operated by a person. A person does not need to be seated on the stairlift. Wall mounted or handheld controls can be used to call and send a stairlift between floors or to a park point to charge while not in use.
Park points are often at the end of a rail and some stairlifts offer features called ‘Creep To Park’ where a stairlift will continue up to 5cm along a rail once the control is released to ensure it is left on a charge point to ensure that the batteries remain charged and ready for use.
Myth #3: A stairlift won’t stop if an obstruction occurs
Whilst it is unlikely that you will encounter an obstruction whilst using a stairlift, if you do it will activate an emergency stop that will prevent the stairlift from moving in the direction of travel until the obstruction is removed.
These features are called ‘Safety Edges’. Once a safety edge is activated the stairlift can be driven in the opposite direction to the obstruction to enable its removal.
Myth #4: A stairlift will stop working when there is a power cut
Years ago stairlifts were A/C powered by electricity that was supplied directly form the mains. These days you can install D/C battery powered stairlifts. These units receive their power through batteries which are in turn charged by the mains electricity. This means they store a reservoir of power in their batteries so, in the event of a power failure, they will be able to move up and down the staircase because they draw on the power stored in their batteries.
These batteries typically store enough power for multiple trips up and downs stairs: the exact number of trips will depend on the staircase and batteries. The batteries recharge when the stairlift is left on a park point; some stairlifts will charge wherever they are left on their track. This feature is called ‘Continuous Charge’.
Myth #5: Batteries in D/C powered stairlifts go dead and regularly need replacing
D/C powered stairlifts commonly contain two highly durable, heavy duty rechargeable batteries which power the stairlift up and down the staircase. As aforementioned, when the stairlift isn’t in use, the batteries will be charged via the mains electricity if the stairlift is left on a charge point.
It is therefore important to keep the mains power left on as you would with a fridge or freezer to ensure that the batteries are charged.