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Home Elevator Installation & Service Information

What type of hoistway do I need?

Hoistway construction is important. Do not build a hoistway without knowing the specifications required for your elevator. A general idea of space required for the hoistway is five square feet. Leading manufacturers publish many specifications on their websites to help you plan in advance. A hoistway has a number of requirements for construction including specifics for the wall where the elevator rails will be secured (the support wall). Each manufacturer provides these specifics for each model of elevator.

What other space does a home elevator require?

An elevator also needs overhead room (room above the top of the elevator at the top landing), and usually a pit at the bottom. Most of the time, a pit between 6″ and 12″ is required at the bottom of the hoistway. The pit must have a concrete pad able to withstand an impact load for safety. If you install an elevator in a private condo and you live above another residence, there are additional requirements for safety. You will also need overhead space above the elevator. Overhead is measured at the top landing by measuring from the bottom of the elevator. Overhead is often about 96″ for a traditional home elevator.

Do I need specific electrical work done for home elevator?

There are also electrical requirements for residential elevators that vary by model. A skilled electrician will need to ready the site to power the drive and other features of the elevator such as lighting.

Can I install a home elevator in our church?

A home elevator cannot be installed in any kind of public building, including in places of worship. For any buildings that are not private homes, you will need a commercial elevator or lift. The exception is a private condominium with private access.

Do I need a building permit for a home elevator?

Your local professional elevator contractor should know the local code and inspection requirements for residential elevators. You may need a permit and also require government inspection before you can use your elevator, depending upon where you live. Silver Cross can help you find a pre-qualified installer near you who will know what is required in your area.

How many stops can my home elevator service?

While the answer depends on the brand and model as well as local code, you may be able to have as many as 6 stops to a maximum travel distance of 60 feet.

Can the elevator have more than one door to enter and exit?

Yes, a home elevator may be built to have as many as three doors (3 sides) to enter and exit. This allows you to configure an elevator to suit your home and where the door is for each landing.

How fast is a home elevator?

Home elevators are limited by safety code to not exceed 40 ft/min in most jurisdictions.

I’m pretty handy, can I install a home elevator myself?

No. A home elevator requires a mechanic trained in home elevator installation and safety. Manufacturers are generally governed to only allow certified elevator technicians to install and service home elevators.

Can I retrofit a home elevator into my current home?

It may be possible to incorporate an elevator into your current home. A through-the-floor lift that does not require a hoistway is one option. A specialty elevator such as a Savaria Vuelift can be installed attached to a balcony level and includes a self supporting hoistway that is clear glass or acrylic.  Contact Silver Cross to find a qualified elevator dealer to explore which option can work in your home.

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Home elevator installation diagram showing top and bottom landing floors, travel distance, overhead and pit
A home elevator requires a pit below it (usually about 8") as well overhead space. The travel distance is measured from the bottom landing to the top landing (here shown just as 2 stops).

Maintenance & Service for Home Elevators

You have invested in a home elevator, or perhaps you were lucky enough to buy a home that already had one. Don’t skimp on the maintenance and you’ll have a smoothly running elevator for many years.

Most dealers will offer you a maintenance service program at the time of purchase. This includes visits to your home to perform a number of diagnostic and safety tests to check key parts according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The technician will replace any worn parts. He will lubricate various parts and replace any batteries if required. An elevator is like a furnace or a car. Maintain them and they should keep running!

Manufacturers offer parts warranties to replace defective parts. They usually do not cover the labor costs for replacing the parts; therefore, you will need to discuss with your local dealer and at time of purchase, you can opt for a service program that will cover these costs. If you do not maintain your elevator, the manufacturer will likely not be required to replace any parts for free. Use the installation dealer for service to protect your investment.

Following the recommended maintenance can help a home elevator can last many years. You may tire of the interior finish before the mechanics of the elevator stop working. Many elevator companies also offer updating services so that your elevator interior can be redone, along with some components.

Person working on home elevator Installation
Home elevators require regular maintenance services. The best plan is usually to purchase a maintenance package from the installing dealer.

Your installing dealer will then show you how to operate the elevator safely and how to use the emergency features, such as an emergency lowering system. Make sure everyone in your home learns how to operate the elevator safely. Even better, use your phone to video the demonstration so you can refer back to it if needed. 

Be sure you know what to do in case of an emergency. For example, keep the instructions or owner’s guide in a handy location so you can refer to them.  Write down the dealer’s phone number on your owner’s guide.