On the Simple Anatomy of an Elevator

There are a number of inventions that have had a massive impact on how many people live, and elevators are a great example. Elevators have revolutionized movement and transportation within structures for everyone, from those with movement concerns to average people who simply benefit from their convenience, and many people naturally wonder how these incredibly beneficial products actually work.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer an unmatched selection of commercial and residential elevators, dumbwaiters and similar lift products for all your potential needs. We’re also happy to detail the working components of any of our products, whether you need this information for safety, building codes or even simple curiosity. Here’s a simple rundown of the anatomy of an elevator, including all the important components that make these products what they are.

Elevator Cab

The elevator component that’s most familiar to many people is the cab, where passengers board and disembark. The size of the cab is determined by its intended purpose – for instance, a residential elevator will be much smaller than one meant for commercial use – but all cabs feature similar basic components.

There’s a control panel inside the cab to operate the elevator, as well as an emergency stop button that can be used to bring the cab to a halt if necessary. The interior of the cab is also outfitted with flooring, walls and a ceiling, and cabs can be further customized with different materials, finishes and colors to better match the décor of their surroundings.

Many cabs will also contain basic accessories like handrails, mirrors, and phones or intercoms that can be used in the event of an emergency.

Doors or Gates

Most elevator feature at least two sets of doors – the car door, that travels up and down with the elevator cab, open to allow passengers to board.  And ad hoistway door (sometimes referred to as ‘landing’ or ‘hallway’ door).  The car door is typically automatic, although some models may feature manual doors as well.  The hoistway door remains locked when the elevator is not present, however can be unlocked and opened manually by maintenance and rescue personnel.

The car door is sometimes referred to as a ‘gate.”  This keeps the passengers safely inside the cab as it ascends and descends in the hoistway.

Both doors and gates for elevators are found in a wide variety of styles, materials, and colors to better match their surroundings, and they can be customized to fit the specific needs of any application. A common gate style for many residential elevators, for instance, is the tambour or accordion gate, which can be opened out of the way when not in use.

Among many important concepts within the door and gate setup, the space allowed between the door and the gate while the elevator is operating is very important. There should generally be no more than four inches of space between the two, as this is considered the industry standard for safety.

Drive Systems

Naturally, the cab we already went over needs to be able to move up and down the elevator shaft (more on this below) to get people to their desired location. This is done using a drive system, which refers to a set of machinery that will move the cab up and down based on its commands. Generally speaking, there are a few options out there for drive systems today:

  • Traction: Often used for smaller residential elevators, this system uses a steel cable or chain that’s wrapped around sheave or sprocket to move the cab. The sheave or sprocket is connected to an electric motor, which is used to rotate it and in turn move the cab up or down. The actual motor is usually in the top of the elevator shaft or in a separate adjacent machine room.  Residential elevators can usually travel up to 50 feet of vertical rise, and commercial elevators can go much further.
  • Hydraulic: Another common drive system, this one uses a piston to move the cab. The piston is located in a cylinder, which is filled with hydraulic fluid. The fluid is pressurized by an electric pump, which in turn drives the piston and moves the cab.  Hydraulic models usually have their pumps located in a machine room.
  • Machine Room-less (MRL): As you may have guessed, this indicates that this system doesn’t require a dedicated machine room. MRL elevators are becoming increasingly popular in both residential and commercial applications, as they offer many of the same benefits as traditional traction models but without the need for an extra room.

Elevator Shaft

Finally, the elevator shaft is the area that holds both the cab and cable system during operations. There are a few important components in most or all elevator shafts:

  • Pit: The pit is the area just under the lowest level of the structure, offering a space where the cab can rest when it’s at the lowest level of the building. The pit must be deep enough to accommodate the cab when it’s fully extended, and it also needs to have a water-tight seal to prevent flooding.
  • Overhead: On the flip side of this, the overhead is the area just above the highest level of the structure. Again, it provides a space for the cab to rest when it’s on the top floor, and it needs to be tall enough to accommodate the cab when it’s fully extended.
  • Rail wall: This is a vital area that holds the guide rails (the track structure in which the elevator cab moves vertically on), ensuring the cab stays stable and secure at all times.

For more on the important components of any elevator, or to learn about our affordable home and commercial elevators and related products, speak to the pros at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.

Safety Themes for Boise Home Elevator Installations

There are a few important themes to keep in mind for any elevator or related product being installed in your home or that of a loved one, and safety is at the top of every such list. Whether you’re taking part in the installation or simply just around the space as it’s happening, ensuring full safety for everyone involved is extremely important.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we go to great lengths to ensure safety for everyone present during any of our Boise, ID home elevator or lift installations — both clients and our team members. What are some of the most important safety areas we cover, and what should you know about them as well, even if you’re just an observer during an installation? Here are some basics.

Common Hazards to Be Aware Of

First and foremost, here are some of the potential hazards of an elevator or lift installation that must be understood and planned for in advance:

  • Falls: Anytime you’re working at a height, or even on the ground in an area close to one, there is always a risk of falling. This can be as simple as tripping and stumbling over your own feet, or as complex as being knocked off balance by a piece of equipment bumping into you.
  • Improper use of PPE: Personal Protective Equipment is always a necessity when working with and around hazards, but if it’s not used properly, it can actually become a hazard itself. For instance, if you’re wearing a hard hat but not securing it properly, it could come flying off your head during a fall or other impact and cause serious injury.
  • Scaffolding or other structure collapse: Any time you’re working with or around a scaffolding, it’s important to be aware of the potential for collapse. This is especially true if the structure is not properly secured or if it has sustained any damage during the installation process.
  • Electrical hazards: Electricity is always a potential hazard, whether you’re working with live wires or simply around electrical equipment. If you are not properly trained and experienced with working with or around electricity, it’s best to stay as far away from this area of the installation process as possible.
  • Confined space: Any time you’re working in a confined space, there is an increased risk of injury or even death. This is due to the fact that there is less room to move around, and less ventilation, which can lead to exposure to fumes or other dangerous gases.

What are some of the ways we combat these risks while on any elevator installation job? Our next several sections will dig into these.

Strong, Regularly-Reviewed Safety Protocols

For starters, we have strong, regularly-reviewed safety protocols to help prevent common injuries and other threats. These include the following:

  • Comprehensive personal protective equipment (PPE): We only work with and wear PPE that is suited for the specific job at hand. We also make sure to wear the right PPE for the right job and situation, using hard hats if there is a danger of falling objects or safety glasses at all times on jobs where there is any potential risk of dirt or other debris getting in our eyes.
  • Confined space prevention: At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we avoid working in confined spaces whenever possible. If it’s absolutely necessary to enter a confined space, we take extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone involved including using proper ventilation and PPE.
  • Fall prevention: We take several measures to prevent falls, both for our team members and clients. These include using ladders, scaffolding and harnesses if needed to ensure stability at great heights; using guardrails, toe-board barriers or other safety measures as necessary on any job that involves working at a height; and regularly checking elevators, lifts and other equipment to make sure they are working properly.
  • Emergency preparedness: We always have a plan in place for what to do in case of an emergency. This includes having a first-aid kit on hand, as well as knowing the nearest hospital or medical facility. We also make sure to have the contact information for the local fire department and police department readily available.

Securing Ladders, Scaffolding, Etc.

For any job that involves working at a height, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to prevent falls. This includes using ladders, scaffolding and harnesses if needed to ensure stability at great heights; using guardrails, toe-board barriers or other safety measures as necessary on any job that involves working at a height; and regularly checking elevators, lifts and other equipment to make sure they are working properly.

One of the most common causes of falls is from ladders or scaffolding, which is why we take extra care to secure these structures at all times when using them. We do this by making sure that our ladders are sturdy enough for a person’s weight, regularly checking the integrity of all ladders to minimize the risk of wobbling or other weaknesses, and ensuring that our scaffolding is always securely fastened to the floor or wall to prevent it from moving.

Electrical Safety

We also take electrical safety very seriously on all of our jobs. This includes making sure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded and using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with or around live wires. We also make sure to have the contact information for the local electric utility company readily available in case of an emergency. We ground all our power tools while making sure they are in good repair and won’t cause shocks.

Hydraulic Safety

Finally, we also pay close attention to the health and safety of our hydraulic units. This includes making sure that all hydraulic fluid is free from leaks or other damage, inspecting hoses for wear, checking pressure gauges before use, and ensuring clean, uncontaminated fluid for all operations.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we take every precaution to make sure that our home elevator installation process is as safe as possible for all parties involved. If you’re interested in installing an elevator or lift in your Boise, ID home, don’t hesitate to contact us today! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have, not only about safety but also about all the fantastic qualities of our products.

Comparing Home Elevators and Dumbwaiters for Your Needs

There are a few products that may play a central role in making a home more accessible for various needs, and two that are comparable in certain ways — but different in other important ones — are elevators and dumbwaiters. Both these systems carry out similar operations, but in some very different ways that make them more or less practical depending on the needs of the home and its occupants.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer a wide range of both elevators and dumbwaiters for both residential and commercial settings. What are the basic differences between the two, and how do they compare in certain key areas? Here’s a primer on these two components.

Elevators Vs. Dumbwaiters

The key element that differentiates elevators from dumbwaiters is what they’re meant to carry. Elevators are generally meant to transport people, while dumbwaiters are meant to transport items. This is reflected in the design of the two systems, as elevators typically have a large cabin that can accommodate several people, while dumbwaiters are typically much smaller and only meant to carry a few items at a time.

Let’s go over some other basic elements that should be considered.

Specific Purposes

Digging in a bit further on the above, some common purposes and uses of an elevator include:

  • Safely transporting people between floors in a home
  • Allowing people with disabilities or other accessibility needs to have easier access to all parts of a home
  • Creating an alternative to stairs in multi-story homes

In contrast, common purposes and uses of a dumbwaiter include:

  • Lowering food or other items from a kitchen to a basement or ground level
  • Receiving food or items from different levels in a home for storage or preparation
  • Moving large amounts of laundry between floors in a multi-story home
  • Hauling other heavy objects between floors

The precise ways in which both these items are used will depend on the needs of the home and its occupants.

Size and Dimensions

Both these systems are available in a variety of custom sizes, so there’s no singular example to go from here. Generally speaking, however, elevators are significantly larger than dumbwaiters, and as such can take up more space in a home. This may be a consideration for those who are tight on space, as elevators require a certain amount of clearance around all sides in order to operate safely.

Elevator cabs can typically range up to 18 square feet or even larger in some cases, while a dumbwaiter’s cab will typically be around 4 – 6 square feet. These dimensions may also be impacted by clearance space that’s required, plus the height of the building in which the system is being installed.

Weight Capacity

Down similar lines, elevators typically need to come with a much higher weight capacity than dumbwaiters. Elevators are built to handle the weight of multiple people, as well as any items they might be carrying, while dumbwaiters are not typically meant to carry more than a few hundred pounds at a time. This is something to consider if there are plans to use the dumbwaiter for transporting especially large or heavy items — you’ll want to be sure to choose a dumbwaiter that’s rated for high weight numbers.

For elevators, the weight limit will be based on the drive system that’s used. There are a few common setups here:

  • Hydraulic system: Hydraulic elevator drives are some of the strongest available, rated for a standard maximum capacity of 950 pounds, up to 18 square feet. In some cases, capacities up to 4,000 pounds can be achieved
  • Gear driven: These systems also have a 950-pound capacity for 18-foot cabs, and up to 1400 pounds capacity for larger cabs.

Cost Factors

Naturally, anyone considering installing an elevator or dumbwaiter in their home will want to weigh the cost factors involved. Elevators can be significantly more expensive to install than dumbwaiters, and this is largely due to their size and weight capacity. Additional costs may also be incurred if the home needs to be retrofitted in order to accommodate an elevator, which is not always necessary with a dumbwaiter.

That said, elevators do offer a number of benefits that may be worth the extra investment, such as the ability to transport multiple people at once and the addition of wheelchair accessibility. It’s important to weigh all the factors involved in order to make the best decision for your unique needs.

Making Your Choice

As we noted above, much of the decision in terms of whether to install an elevator or a dumbwaiter will come down to what (or who) is being transported. If there are many people in the home who will need easy access to all floors, an elevator is likely the best option. For those who only need to move light objects or food between floors, a dumbwaiter may be more practical and affordable.

Installation professionals can help assess your needs and provide guidance on the best system for your specific situation. They will also help you ensure you have the right components for any selection you make — for instance, that your dumbwaiter, if you choose one, is of appropriate size and rating for the weight of the items you’ll be carrying.

When it comes to accessibility, elevators and dumbwaiters are both valuable tools. Though they serve similar purposes, there are some important differences between the two that should be considered before making a purchase.

For more on this subject, or to learn about any of our affordable home elevators or other lift types, speak to the professional staff at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.

Factors Influencing Home Elevator Lifespan

Like any other accessory or item you might be considering for your home, expected lifespan will be an important concept for any residential elevator. Those purchasing such items naturally want them to last for decades without issue, and today’s modern home elevators and lifts will absolutely do so — as long as they’re cared for and used in the proper ways, that is.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer a wide range of home elevator products, from our electro-hydraulic system, direct gear, and many other options. We’re also happy to discuss themes like durability and long-term lifespan with clients, including the factors that play a role in determining this lifespan. Here are some of these factors, plus the areas where you can play a role in maximizing your home elevator’s useful lifespan.

Using Quality Brands and Manufacturers

First and foremost, it’s vital to ensure that you’re using a quality brand and manufacturer when it comes to your home elevator. Choosing a well-respected, reliable company is key to ensuring that your elevator will last for the long haul. When you work with A+ Elevators & Lifts, for example, you can be sure that you’re getting an industry-leading product from a team that’s passionate about customer satisfaction.

Proper Installation

A major factor that will influence your home elevator’s lifespan is how it’s installed. A professional installation is critical, as it will ensure that your elevator is aligned and stable, minimizing wear and tear on key components. Poor installation can lead to premature failure of crucial parts and systems, costing you time and money in the long run.

This area drives home the importance of working with qualified professionals when purchasing and installing a home elevator. Never attempt a DIY installation — not only will you likely end up doing more harm than good, but you may also void your warranty in the process, and you also risk your own safety in several ways.

Standard Maintenance

Another of the most important factors that will determine how long your home elevator will last is standard maintenance. Like all machines, home elevators require periodic care and tune-ups to function at their best and longest.

Generally speaking, this maintenance should be carried out by quality professionals with expertise in the elevator realm. Here are some of the areas they will cover on your behalf:

  • Inspecting for any worn-down or damaged parts, and replacing as needed
  • Checking the alignment of all moving parts
  • Cleaning and lubricating all moving parts
  • Testing the entire system to make sure it’s functioning properly

These are just a few of the many standard maintenance procedures that should be carried out in order to ensure your home elevator lasts as long as possible. Failing to carry out this maintenance can severely shorten your elevator’s lifespan, requiring costly and time-consuming repairs or replacements down the line.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re happy to offer quality service and repairs for all makes and models of home elevators. If you’re experiencing problems with your current system, or if you just want to schedule some routine maintenance, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Your Role in Maintenance

While it’s important to have a professional carry out standard maintenance on your home elevator, there are also several things you can do as the owner to help prolong its lifespan. Here are a few key suggestions:

  • Regularly check the elevator for any visible damage or wear and tear
  • Keep it clean, both inside and out
  • Avoid letting objects or people obstruct the path of the elevator
  • Never try to repair or modify the elevator on your own

By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure your home elevator lasts for many years to come.

Frequency of Use

Naturally, like any other product where wear-and-tear is a normal part of the equation, the more often your home elevator is used, the shorter its lifespan will be. This isn’t to say you should avoid using your elevator altogether; rather, it’s important to be aware that regular use will cause some degree of wear and tear that needs to be factored into your overall maintenance plan.

If your home elevator is used only occasionally, it may last for many years without any major issues. However, if it’s used on a daily basis, you can expect it to need more frequent maintenance and have a shorter lifespan overall.

And of course, operating the lift properly with each use is key to preserving its condition. Be sure not to overload it, and always use the safety features in place.

Upgraded Features

Another major factor in the eventual lifespan of your home elevator: Whether you upgrade its features over time.

Adding new features and gadgets to your elevator will put more strain on its components, and can lead to an overall shorter lifespan. So if you’re considering a major upgrade, be sure to factor in how this will affect the overall life of your elevator.

Upgrades can range significantly in price and complexity, so it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons before making a decision. In some cases, upgrades might actually be required by law to keep your elevator up to code.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re always happy to help our clients make the best choices for their home elevators. We can provide advice on everything from features and upgrades, to routine maintenance and repairs.

For more on how to determine the expected useful lifespan of any home elevator, or to learn about our residential elevators or lifts, contact us today.

Common SLC Elevator Controls, Buttons and Indicators

As most who have ridden some kind of elevator in their lives will be well aware, standard elevators come with a variety of controls, indicators and buttons that define their operations. For anyone who has an elevator in their residence or a commercial building where they spend lots of time, knowing the basics on these controls and how they work is important.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer a huge range of elevators and related lift products to clients throughout Salt Lake City and other areas, from residential lifts to commercial LULA elevators and many other options in between. What are some of the most common elevator control, button and indicator components found on various elevator systems today, and which should you be aware of for safety purposes? Here’s a primer.

Hall Indicators

Also referred to as position indicators or hall lanterns, these indicators are placed in hallways outside of an elevator and show the current position (and direction) in which the car is moving. They’re often used alongside automatic doors, and establish much safer access for people with mobility issues.

For nearly all modern elevators, hall indicators will be accompanied by vocal signals that can be heard within the elevator car itself. These audible indicators are meant to be used as a safety measure, alerting passengers of the direction in which the car is moving and whether or not it will soon stop at another floor. They’re also helpful to the deaf or anyone hard of hearing, or for anyone who might be inebriated or otherwise impaired.

Hall indicators in public areas have a few basic rules and requirements for their placement:

  • Indicators must be mounted at least 72 inches off the floor
  • Arrows for hall indicators must be at least 2.5 inches tall
  • Arrows for hall indicators must be visible from the area where call buttons are located

Hall Call Buttons

In addition, hallways featuring elevators also contain one or more call buttons. These buttons are placed in hallways where the elevator is located, and are used to alert people inside the car of a potential need to stop. For anyone who’s ever visited an older building with elevators that don’t have automatic stops, you’ll already be familiar with these components.

Car Controls

Once you step inside an elevator from any hallway, there will be several different potential controls or buttons. These may vary significantly depending on the elevator being used and its specifications, but a few standard elements are generally present:

  • Floor selection buttons: While some elevators have automatic stops, it’s still necessary to indicate the desired floor before arriving at that level. Most systems today feature control buttons for this purpose. These buttons will be labeled with the desired floor, with lobbies typically labeled “L” and basements typically labeled “B.”
  • Door open button: If you encounter one of these components, it’s meant to be pressed when the elevator is about to close its doors on you. This can prevent potentially painful injuries to your fingers, toes or other extremities. This button is not meant to be pressed while the elevator travels between floors.
  • Door close button: For elevators that stop on multiple floors, the door close button allows you to close the door manually if it’s sitting open for longer than a few seconds.
  • Door hold button: Also called a door delay button, this is a button sometimes found in hotels or other commercial buildings that allow people to load baggage or other items into the elevator before closing the door.

Some elevators may contain several additional buttons or controls. This will depend on the specifics of the system.

Emergency or Safety Controls or Indicators

In addition, elevators contain a few vital emergency or safety features that all occupants should be aware of if they’re using them. These will sometimes be locked in a secure panel, depending on the setting, but may also sit out for anyone to press. They’ll typically be found above or below floor selection buttons.

Some examples of emergency buttons include:

  • Emergency telephone: An internal phone system used for contacting anyone on the car’s staff or in an outside dispatch center. There may be more than one of these on larger elevators, but they will always be labeled with the word “emergency” somewhere near them.
  • Emergency alarm: A loud siren-like device that can be used to alert others in the area of danger or to signal staff at the other end of the line that there’s an emergency situation.
  • Emergency lighting: May be found near or on an emergency telephone system, these are typically red lights meant to activate when power is lost by initiating a backup electrical generator within the car.

If you happen to be in an elevator during any kind of safety risk or emergency, remember to stay calm and assess your resources. Find a light source first, then utilize the telephone to call for help.

If you are not able to use the telephone, try shouting for help to signal someone near you, but keep an eye on your surroundings in case of any threat. It’s also important to note that if there is a fire or other significant risk, it may be necessary to evacuate the car immediately. When this happens, leave in an orderly fashion, and provide assistance to any older or younger people who may require it.

For more on the basic controls, buttons and indicators found in elevator systems today, or to learn about any of our elevator or lift products for SLC and other clients, speak to the team at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.

Debunking Common Myths on Home Elevators and Lifts

For a number of people, including both seniors and many others who may deal with movement issues of any kind, a home elevator or lift system can be enormously valuable. However, certain harmful myths about these products have become more common over the years, and these may stop people who could benefit in major ways from taking advantage of them.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer a wide range of home elevator systems, from our direct gear systems to electro-hydraulic systems and more. In addition, we regularly offer clients and prospective clients important information to ensure they’re properly informed on these products — including debunking some of the most pervasive myths out there about residential elevators. Here are some of these common myths, plus the proper information on each of them.

Myth #1: Only Rich People Can Afford Home Elevators

While it may have been true several decades ago that the only people who could afford home elevators were the extremely wealthy, this no longer has to be the case. Today’s range of home elevator products if far more affordable and attainable, making these systems accessible to people of more modest means.

In many cases, especially if the elevator is being installed for medical purposes, programs like Medicare or Medicaid may cover some or all of the costs involved in putting in a home elevator. If you’re on disability for any reason, your individual benefits may be able to cover these expenses, too.

Myth #2: Home Elevators Only Work For One Person

Many people assume that elevators are designed only for one person’s use at a time. However, this is not true of home elevators. The majority of residential elevator models are built to accommodate two or more people at once, which makes them ideal for many different family members’ needs.

Even if you plan on using your elevator by yourself most of the time, it’s nice to know that other people who visit your home can use it too without issue or inconvenience. The design of these elevators is such that they can easily support multiple users at once, making them great for any number of purposes.

Myth #3: Home Elevators Are Not Safe

Simply put, this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. The home elevator systems that are on the market today are built with safety in mind every step of the way, from their easy-to-use controls to their durable designs.

For some reason, there’s an assumption among some stating this myth that residential elevators use just one or two low-quality ropes to lift the cab, which could easily snap and make the entire system dangerous. While this used to be true of some older elevator models, today’s systems are incredibly advanced and engineered to superior standards.

Today, home elevators are powered by steel cables and are capable of supporting hundreds of pounds. Most are made with materials that will not break or weaken over time, making them incredibly durable and reliable for use by everyone in your household.

Myth #4: Home Elevators Require Too Many Repairs

As long as you’re purchasing from a reputable installer like ours, you’ll find that your home’s residential elevator is a durable and long-lasting product. In addition, with the proper preventative maintenance from a professional service provider, you can reduce the risk of potential issues.

In general, lifts that are properly maintained will not only operate properly for years to come but also be safer to use as well. In many cases, building a relationship with a local service provider can be the best way to ensure that your home elevator is well-maintained throughout its life.

In addition, most major repairs will be just a phone call away, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that help is nearby if an issue does occur. By trusting A+ Home Elevators for all your home elevator needs, you can have a safe and reliable system put in place that everyone will enjoy.

Myth #5: If Something Goes Wrong, I’ll Be in Free-Fall

We’re not sure why, but some years ago, a myth developed that if anything goes wrong during the use of a home elevator, the entire cabin would plummet to the ground. This is simply untrue, and there’s no reason for anyone to worry about this happening.

Home elevators are designed to automatically stop if they’re not properly grounded or attached to their guide rails, making them safe for anyone who uses them on a daily basis. In addition, many modern lifts also include a backup battery that will automatically engage and stop the cab if power is lost.

It’s easy to understand why this myth was started, but it has absolutely no basis in reality. With one of the safest and most reliable home elevator systems available today, you’ll never have to worry about any danger when trying to access your elevator.

Myth #6: Power Failure Leads to Major Hazards

Some assume that if the power goes out while someone is in a home elevator, he or she could be trapped and injured. While this may sound like a reasonable assumption, it’s far from the truth. In fact, most modern elevators come equipped with a backup power system that automatically powers the elevator in a power failure situation, continuing the elevator operation to a designated floor, allowing passengers to safely exit and ensure everyone’s safety.

If you’re concerned about what would happen during a power outage, you can rest easy knowing that your home’s lift is engineered to keep everyone safe even in the most severe weather conditions. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be protected during its operation and while it’s stationary.

For more on the common myths out there surrounding home elevators and lifts, or to learn the proper information on any of our residential elevators or other products or services, speak to the pros at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.

Mobility at Home for Aging population – As you or your loved ones get older, the physical body wears down, which can make it difficult to move around, even in your own home. For those who are aging, it can be humiliating and frustrating to no longer be able to do the things they once were able to do. Luckily though, there are solutions for when aging takes a toll on mobility. In this post, we’ll go over some of the best ways to promote independence by increasing mobility at home for an aging population.

Mobility aids are devices that allow independence through physical assistance without the aid of another person and are the biggest helpers in promoting independence and increasing mobility in those who are aging. If you have ever used a cane, a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair, you’ve used a mobility aid. Mobility aids can be crucial in giving an aging population a way to maintain control of their quality of life even if deteriorating health prevents or decreases their mobility and independence.

For an aging person, joint problems and other health issues may contribute to poor mobility; therefore stairs are one of the bigger problems in the home as far as independence goes. For the elderly especially, having to walk up and down the stairs to a bedroom, basement, or other room in the home can quickly lead to a serious fall, potentially resulting in injury or even death.

There are two excellent solutions to prevent a fall in the home on stairs, as well as increase independence in an aging population: home elevators and wheelchair stairlifts. At A Plus Elevators & Lifts, we offer various styles of elevators and stairlifts designed to increase independence and mobility in an aging population, including the ones mentioned below.

Home elevators are ideal for multi-level homes and come in a variety of styles. With pneumatic vacuum, electro-hydraulic, direct gear, or gearless drive systems, there is a reliable option for everyone.

Elevators with pneumatic vacuum drive systems are the most environmentally friendly of these options, leaving a small environmental footprint by using air to lift the elevator. Elevators with vacuum drive systems are fairly easy to install compared to other types and have a structure that supports themselves. Pneumatic vacuum drive system elevators can be installed without altering the structure of the home too drastically.

Traditional hydraulic drive system elevators are usually less than ideal for elevator passengers in the home as they make for a bit of a rough ride. For the elderly or those with health and mobility issues, this can be less than ideal. In electro-hydraulic elevators, electronic valve assembly ensures that the ride is extremely smooth. To combat any remaining jerkiness of the elevator, the machine is lubricated with hydraulic oil.

Direct gear drive system elevators are another more traditional style of elevators. Despite being a smooth ride, because of the large gears used to move the elevator, these types of elevators are quite loud. With the case of A Plus Elevators’ direct gear drive system design, an in-line gearbox is used, which greatly reduces the loud gear sounds by more than 50%.

Gearless drive system elevators are the more luxurious elevators of the variants, with the same technology implemented in the system as is in commercial elevators. Gearless drive systems use a motor with a magnet instead of a gear, which results in the smoothest ride out of the various types of elevators.

Wheelchair stairlifts are also another perfect solution for giving the mobility-limited a way to get around their home if stairs are a prominent area where they struggle to navigate. With options for enclosed and unenclosed vertical platform lifts and inclined platform lifts, stairlifts can be used with or without a wheelchair, but are designed to be used with a wheelchair, making them ideal for those in the aging population who are unable to walk or stand.

Vertical platform lifts work similarly to an in-home elevator by lifting the user vertically. There are enclosed and unenclosed vertical platform lifts for those who cannot get up or down stairs. Vertical platform lifts are ideal for both indoor or outdoor use, and their flexibility and precision make them suitable for a passenger and assistant to ride at the same time. Inclined stairlifts use a rail system to lift a passenger in a wheelchair up or down flights of stairs and are a perfect choice when home elevators or vertical platform lifts are not feasible. Depending on the model, a stairlift may be able to go up and down straight or curved stairs, and some models have folding platforms.

Thanks to mobility aids, independence in those who are aging is not unattainable. With assistance from home elevators and stairlifts, independence is made possible for the elderly or disabled in a safe, easy-to-use way.

The Best Home Elevator Recommendation – If you are one of the many people who have limited mobility due to injury, illness, or age you might be considering if a home elevator could make your life simpler.

Whether you are building your home or remodeling, you may be wondering what the best elevator recommendation is for any home.

Well, keep reading; we will give you the facts so you can make your decision based on the current tech and knowledge of the industry.

What to consider when choosing an elevator

What should you consider in your decision to install a home elevator? Here are five tips for choosing a home elevator.  Follow these and you should be able to choose the one that fits your needs and your home.

First, consider your needs. Will the elevator need to accommodate a walker, a wheelchair, or a scooter? How many people will be using it? What is the weight capacity? What about the mechanical part, will it need a mechanical room? How far will it rise, that way you know it will go to all the levels of your home? All these things will help decide what style of an elevator will work for you.

Second, safety is important. You need to know that you are safe while using the elevator. One part of safety is a secondary power source so that if the power goes out you will not be stuck in the elevator and it will not just fall to the bottom level. It should also have a sensor that will not allow operation if something is in the way of the elevator or a door is open. That sensor will help not only you but any grandchildren visiting.

Third, is the noise level, how noisy will it be? Noise is a consideration especially if the tube or rail system will be beside the bedrooms. One thing to remember here is that the noise level can vary depending on the type of elevator. For example, a hydraulic run elevator will make less noise than a vacuum run elevator.

Fourth you will want to choose an elevator that is easy to install and maintain. You should also plan on a yearly inspection to make sure that it is still operating safely.

The last thing you will be looking at is style. Once you have answered the four things above you will have a better idea of what size and style will fit in your home.  If you’re building a new house it will be easier to put in an elevator. But for those who are remodeling in order to put in an elevator, space in the home is something that will factor into the type of elevator that will work for you.

Best home elevator recommendations

There are several elevators that make the list.

A+ Elevators Gearless Drive System offers many benefits. One of which is its near quiet and smooth ride due to the drive system utilizing a permanent-magnet gearless motor. This system is based on the technology used in high rise elevators.

  • Five-year warranty
  • 950-pound lift capacity is standard
  • Will travel 40 fpm
  • 2 to 6 stops allows traveling up to 50 feet
  • Up to 15 square feet of cab size
  • Battery-operated emergency operating and emergency lighting system
  • Quiet and smooth ride
  • Guide rails transfer the loads to the pit floor
  • Separate machine room with location flexibility

What makes this one so good? It is a quiet smooth ride, lower maintenance costs, and very good operational efficiency.  It also comes with several upgrades that can be purchased to complement the décor of your home, automatic hoistway door systems, security system, and more.

A+ Elevators Electro-hydraulic Drive System uses a state of the art electronic variable valve assembly that provides a smoother high-quality ride. It has a flexible machine room that can be located either by the hoistway or in a remote location on any floor.  What other benefits does this system offer?

  • Five-year warranty
  • 950 lbs. lift capacity standard with the option of up to 1400 lbs. on certain models
  • Custom cab to match the décor of your home
  • A programmable microprocessor control system
  • A slightly large cab size 18 square feet
  • Battery-operated emergency operation and lighting system
  • 2-8 stops with up to 50 feet of travel

Several optional features are available automated car door system(s), automated hoistway door systems, custom control integration in your home’s “Smart Home” system, security system, and more. It uses an earth and health-friendly approach to this by using EnviroTech hydraulic oils made from a vegetable-based formulation.

A+ Elevators Direct Gear Drive System uses an inline drive that reduces noise in the home and long term reliability in the gear drive system. It will give you a smooth ride and comes with a five-year warranty. Other benefits this system offers are

  • 950 lbs. lift capacity standard
  • Programmable solid-state control with VVVF drive
  • 18 square foot cab
  • Custom cab to match the décor of your home
  • 2-8 stops with up to 50 feet of travel
  • Battery-operated emergency operation and lighting systems
  • Compact machine design saves floor space

There are several other upgraded options available, including automated doors, security systems, and more.

Vuelift by Savaria offered by A+ Elevators provides a stand-alone elevator, so you do not need a general contractor to build a hoistway. It offers a smaller footprint than regular elevators and a 360-degree view. It has a three-year warranty. Other benefits of this elevator are

  • Round and octagonal choices
  • 840 lbs. lift capacity standard
  • 32 FPM nominal operating speed
  • 82 square foot cab
  • 84 in. ceiling height
  • Battery-powered emergency operation and lighting systems
  • Two to six stops with up to 42.5 feet of travel
  • A focal point of any room you choose to put it in

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators LLC and A+ Elevators Pneumatic Vacuum Drive System This system runs on air, yes that’s right, air. That makes it the most economical and eco-friendly systems around. Installation can be done in only a few days due to its unique self-supporting tubular design. It is available in three sizes. Other features of this elevator are

  • No pit required
  • Self-supporting structure
  • 360-degree visibility
  • Two to five stops with up to 50 feet of travel
  • Battery-powered emergency operation and lighting systems
  • Six colors to choose from

An optional feature in the 37-inch model is a folding seat. The pneumatic Vacuum elevator is easily adapted for use in an existing home with a minimum of changes to the home’s structure. This makes it a great choice for those who wish to remodel or update their home instead of selling the home and building a new one.

Each of these elevators we suggested is the best of their type. The one that is right for you will be the one that fits your needs, budget, and style of home. A+ Elevators can help you make sure you get the right elevator for your needs.

Costs of home elevators

The costs associated with the installation of a home elevator will vary greatly based on a number of factors including the type of elevator and then the amount of work going to be involved making the installation as seamless as possible and requiring the least amount of disruption. One thing to know is that you have the cost of the elevator itself and the cost of remodeling. If you have to change the structure of the home, there is likely going to be electrical, heating, and cooling ducts, not to mention floor and wall coverings that must be done.

However, do not let this scare you. While basic Medicare will not pay for an elevator or structural changes, some of the Medicare Advantage plans may pay some of it. But, there are also a few places that provide grants and loans to people with disabilities.  Many homeowners can qualify for an equity loan as well as the value of the home appreciates with the installation of enhanced mobility in the home for special situations.

In conclusion, while the cost may scare you, it will be well worth it for you to have more mobility in your home and to not become a prisoner in your own home unable to reach areas of the home that you need to access safely. It will allow you to have full access to your home and not lose space on the main floor for having guests or entertaining.

Hire Our Certified Elevator Inspector – When you get a home elevator you will need to have it inspected by a certified elevator inspector. The inspector must be someone employed by the state, county, or city government where the elevator is being installed. However, some jurisdictions do not employ government inspectors and require 3rd party inspections before using a home elevator. That is where A+ Elevators comes in. A+ employs some of the top certified inspectors in Utah, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada. Read on to find out why you should come to us for any of your inspection needs.

A+ Certifications

Here are just a few of the things that we offer:

  • Certified inspections that ensure all equipment is compliant with ASME A17.1 (Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators), ASME A18.1 (Safety Code for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts), and any other applicable regulations.
  • All inspections are done by inspectors certified through The National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities International (NAESA). These inspectors must maintain their certification through rigorous training and testing each year.
  • Our inspectors can catch any potential problems that can threaten the safety of you and your family. You are likely getting a home elevator to make your life easier, so getting injured due to an elevator malfunction is the last thing you want. These inspections may be required by law, but they can also give you peace of mind that everything is working properly.

Our certified elevator inspections occur bi-annually or annually (whichever is required by law). We work around your schedule so that the inspections are not disruptive.

We also manufacture some of the best home elevators in the country. Don’t believe us? You can read what others are saying about us by visiting our customer reviews page. If you have any questions about our inspection process or want to get an estimate on one of our elevators, feel free to contact us.

Elevators Service and Repair Excellence – We would all love if elevators or wheelchair lifts never had any issues, but anyone that’s ever owned one knows that is not the case. Maintenance and repair are a fact of life when it comes to machinery and any piece of equipment that gets significant usage, and home elevators are no exception. This is why we have created our Preventative Maintenance Program for all of our client’s service and repair needs. We’ll get into some of the most common procedures that you might need to do to your elevator or lift over time, and end by discussing what benefits our Preventative Maintenance Program gives to our customers.

Elevator Maintenance

Preventative maintenance should be at the forefront of your elevator service routine.  You don’t want to wait until there is a problem with your elevator, because that could lead to accidents or injuries that nobody wants. This involves testing the safety features, buttons, and mechanical operations of your home elevator. Make sure that you leave the maintenance to the professionals, as they will when something is wrong and know how to fix it. Trying to maintain your elevator yourself could lead you to miss some signs of a problem that could cause an accident down the road.

Common Reasons for Elevator Repairs

While preventative maintenance should prevent many issues, sometimes there will be issues that will need immediate repair. Here are some signs that your elevator might need some repairs:

  • Mid-Leveling- Mid-leveling refers to the situation of your home elevator stopping above or below your floor destination. When the door of the cab opens the floor of the elevator should be aligned with the floor of your home, otherwise, your elevator is mid-leveling. Mid-leveling is often a sign of brake wear, and it is imperative that you contact a professional right away before your brake system is permanently damaged.
  • Unusual Noises- One of the easiest signs for elevator owners to see is loud or strange noises when riding the elevator. There are many reasons your elevator may be making a weird noise, but it usually is an issue with the elevator cables or pulley system. Our expert technicians will be able to diagnose the problem and adjust the pulleys and cables to prevent any noise (or future damage).
  • Speed issues- Your elevator rides should be smooth sailing. If your elevator slows down significantly, jerks and jolts when climbing and descending, or takes forever to come to a stop, there is more than likely a problem. If these problems are major, it could be a sign that your elevator needs to be replaced. However, this is why you should call a professional. They will know whether these changes in speed are a fixable problem or if it is cheaper to replace the elevator completely.

Our Preventative Maintenance Program

Here are some of the things our Preventative Maintenance Program gives to our customers:

  • Customized maintenance schedules based on client’s equipment and budget
  • Certified and factory trained technicians that can repair and diagnose any piece of machinery you get from us
  • We put safety before all else, which is why we use a fault monitoring system to catch any potential problems with your elevator so you don’t have to worry about dangerous situations in the future

Even if we didn’t install your home elevator we are happy to help maintain it and have techs in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.