Boise, with its diverse and thriving community, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to creating safe and accessible living spaces. Stair lifts have emerged as a valuable solution for enhancing mobility within homes, and in this comprehensive guide, we are committed to helping you make informed decisions about your stair lift choices in Boise.
Custom Features: Tailoring Your Stair Lift to Your Needs
One size does not fit all when it comes to stair lifts, and this is especially true in Boise, where homes vary widely in design and layout. We will delve into the world of custom features, exploring the options available to ensure that your stair lift seamlessly integrates into your lifestyle and provides the level of comfort and functionality your family requires.
Installation and Adaptability
The installed lift must be a good fit for the home and it must blend and adapted to the various needs of our home. Having a lift that fits into our existing space without being an eye sore, tripping hazard or barrier to others is not just convenient but a paramount feature of a safe stair lift.
The most common type of staircase is the straight staircase. These staircases are characterized by a continuous set of stairs without any landings or turns. Boise homes frequently feature straight staircases, and as such, most stair lift manufacturers offer a range of straight stair lifts tailored to this design. Straight stair lifts are the cornerstone of their product offerings, providing a reliable and efficient solution for ascending and descending straight staircases effortlessly.
Boise's architectural diversity means that not all homes have the luxury of straight staircases. Many homes require what manufacturers refer to as "curved" stair lifts. These lifts are designed to accommodate various bends and configurations, making them suitable for almost any stairwell layout. Whether your stairs sweep around a spiral, make a hairpin turn around a central landing, or require a custom configuration around a corner on a top or bottom landing, curved stair lifts can be tailored to fit your unique needs. Keep in mind that the flexibility and customization of curved stair lifts do come at a premium, but they offer the perfect solution for Boise homes with unconventional stair designs.
Boise's beautiful landscapes and outdoor living spaces mean that some homes have access only through a set of exterior stairs. Whether it's a short flight of stairs leading to a front door, an extensive set of stairs to a back balcony, or outdoor access to a basement, exterior conditions can pose challenges. To address this, some manufacturers offer outdoor-rated stair lifts specifically designed to withstand Boise's climate, including moisture, heat, UV exposure, or frigid cold. These outdoor stair lifts are game-changers for many families, providing safe and convenient access to outdoor spaces and overcoming the limitations imposed by outdoor stairs.
While straight and curved stair lifts provide invaluable assistance, there are situations where the design of a home presents unique challenges. For instance, if a staircase starts in the middle of a room or if there is a door at the bottom of the stairs, the rail of a typical straight rail stair lift can be a hindrance or a safety concern. To address this, most manufacturers offer a solution known as a "folding rail." This innovative design allows the bottom section of the rail to fold out of the way when the chair lift is not in use. While there are various ways manufacturers design folding rails, the concept remains consistent: the bottom rail section that usually protrudes onto the bottom landing moves out of the way, creating a safe and unobstructed environment for everyone in the home.
The safety of using a stair lift is incredibly well thought out. From the moment that a family members sits down in the chair to the time they exit, a properly configured lift will accommodate most any limitation we may have whether it be environmental or physical.
Ergonomic Hand Control - to control a lift up and down the stairs most all stair lifts are design with an ergonomic hand control. This control is designed with users with varying hand strength and control in mind. It can even be moved from the right hand armrest to the left if needed.
Power Swivel Seat - For a rider to exit or enter at the top of a stair well we have to bend over to use a swivel handle underneath the seat and then swivel the chair. Although the operation is simple, if a rider is uncomfortable bending over at the top of the stairs, has limited hand strength or is unable to swivel the seat manually for any other reason then some manufactures offer a Powered Swivel mechanism. This power swivel will automatically swivel the seat for the rider by simply holding the “Up” button on one of the controls and eliminate any concerns family members may have regarding accessing the seat at the top of the stairs.
Power Folding Footrest - Similar to a Power Swivel mechanism some manufacturers offer a power folding footrest. This power feature will automatically fold up the footrest for the user whenever the seat is folded up. Especially at the top of the stairs is where this feature becomes a big help for many family members.
Shoulder Harness - All stair lifts come standard with a lap style safety belt to help ensure family members are safely and securely in the seat at all times during the ride. Some family members however may require additional trunk support and need assistance with sitting upright in a chair. For these family members, some manufacturers offer a shoulder harness system that helps secure a rider in an upright position.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Of course, it is not enough to simply install a piece of equipment to keep our loved ones safe, we also have to consider what it’ll take to keep the device operational and maintained over the lifetime of the unit. Total cost of ownership in both time and money is an important factor to be considered when selecting the best device for the family.
Mode of Operation - Stair lifts operate with a variety of different systems. The most common is a rack and pinion system where a steel gear interacts with a steel gear rack. In these units the steel gear rack must be lubricated on an annual basis. Other units may use a helical worm drive to operate where a heavy duty polymer screw interacts with a polymer gear rack. These units do not require any annual lubrication and are often referred to as “zero maintenance”.
Cleaning - Cleaning the chair and rail of the stair lift on a weekly basis is ideal. This can be done by simply wiping down all surfaces with a microfiber cloth or feather duster.
Batteries - In modern stair lifts there are typically 2 12V batteries that power the machine. These batteries are most often a led acid battery that has a 3-5 year life span can will require replacement as they get weaker over time.
Maintenance Codes - Some units are equipped with a digital display or LED lights that will provide the family with some basic troubleshooting guidance in the event that the unit is not behaving normally. Units with this type of feature are ideal as they allow the family to quickly diagnose a situation and determine whether they can solve the problem on their own or if they need to call a service technician.
Service and Support - Having a trusted stair lift dealer is a must. Knowing that we have someone that we can call in the event that the unit stops working can be the difference between having a lift that enhances the quality of life and having an expensive paper weight. A professional dealer should respond to your call or messages quickly, be able to dispatch a technician in realistic timeframe, diagnose an array of service issues and provide solid options for the family to consider to resolve the problem quickly.
Warranty - Last but certainly not least, you want to make sure that your lift is covered and backed by a solid manufacture and dealer combo that will make good on their warranty commitments and be there in the long run to offer support and peace of mind for the family as long as the device is in use. Avoid costly repairs, replacements and service heart aches with a good warranty that you can lean on.
Selecting the best piece of equipment for the family is not limited to the lowest cost bargain that can be found but should take into account all of the factors of the family’s needs. The design of the home, the configuration of the stairs, the strengths and capacity of the rider and supporting family members. All of these items should be considered when selecting a complete solution. Of course using a local dealer can give you a substantial advantage to identify and selecting the best options for the family. Hopefully these items provide a few things to think through when selecting your family’s ideal stair lift.