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Stair Lift Installation and Service Information

1. What happens with a straight stair lift installation?

The installation of a straight stair lift involves cutting the travel rail to the correct length for the stairs. This is often done on site as part of the installation process, but it might be done ahead of the installation date.

Stair lifts can be installed on either side of the stairs. There is usually a more logical side to choose based on the surroundings at the top and bottom the stairs. Some stair lifts can be changed on-site to suit either side, but some models must be ordered in advance as “right handed” or “left handed”.

The rail is securely mounted to the stair treads with brackets. The carriage is threaded onto the rail and the chair is securely mounted to the carriage. The installation is completely in about one hour.  The installer should take time to show you how it operates.

2. What happens with a curved stair lift installation?

A curved stair lift requires careful measurements to be completed before the travel rail is manufactured. This is typically done using a photographic measurement system for the best precision. The dealer installer will schedule a time to take measurements by taking photos of paper targets strategically placed on the stairs and landings. The photos are processed via software to create a drawing of the staircase and how the curved lift rail can be fitted to the staircase.

Stair lift installation requires the use of a photo measuring system
Most companies use a photo measuring system to precisely measure your stairs, then a computer drawing is made for the custom fabrication of the rail.

The most advanced system on the market, used by Handicare, even allows you to see how your stair lift will look on your stairs during the measurement process. Engineering drawings are made from the measurement software and these drawings are used to fabricate the custom bent rail for your home. The installation process of the curved stair lift can take several hours or more depending on the complexity of your staircase and if you have parking stations.

3. How much space is needed?

The size of the stair lift will vary from brand to brand. A general rule of thumb is that the stairway needs to be at least 30″ wide, and there must be at least 24″ of landing space at the base of the stairs.

Stairlift Stairs Measuring Savaria | Silver Cross

4. Why shouldn’t I install a stair lift myself?

Better safe than sorry! A stair lift is dangerous if it installed incorrectly. Also, bear in mind that if you install the unit yourself, it may be difficult to find a dealer willing to service it should something go wrong. Many manufacturers may also void your warranty if you do not have it installed by an authorized dealer.

5. Can I install a stair lift in a church?

A stair lift can be installed in a church or any public building as long as the product is rated for public use and you follow the local code requirements for public installations.

6. Does my stair lift need service?

Stair lifts are mechanical devices and may require maintenance service from time to time to keep them running properly. Budget $100–$200 for annual maintenance. The owner’s manual should include a schedule to follow. The batteries will need replacement from time to time depending on how you have used your lift. Since they are specialized batteries in most cases, you will need to have them replaced by your dealer who originally installed the equipment.

7. Why is my stair lift beeping?

One of the most common service calls occurs when the unit is not being charged properly. Most stair lifts beep to let you know that they are not charging. Make sure to park the stair lift fully into the charging station that may be located at the top and at the bottom landing.

8. What are diagnostics on a stair lift?

Most stair lifts have display lights that indicate problems with the stair lift such as the lift is not charging, or that there is an obstruction. The owner’s guide includes instructions on how to follow the diagnostic lights. It may be possible to remedy the issue with your stair lift without a service call in some cases, by following the instructions in the owner’s guide.

9. Why is my stair lift squeaking or squealing?

Sometimes the rollers that help the lift glide on the rail require lubrication or even replacement after some time. Having your stair lift serviced once or twice a year can often prevent these issues for occurring.

10. What is the warranty on stair lifts?

Each manufacturer offers a warranty on their stair lifts that typically covers defective parts for a period of time. The warranty varies by manufacturer and it does not usually cover any labor costs (see comparison charts). Dealers sometimes offer additional warranties to cover service. Dealers may also offer maintenance and warranty packages for extra cost, but that give peace of mind to cover future costs. You should register your product warranty with the manufacturer when it is installed.

11. I need service on my stair lift, who can I call?

It’s always best to call the dealer who installed your stair lift if you need service. Check the lift to see if the dealer’s information is on a sticker on your product. If you don’t remember who installed your stair lift, call the manufacturer of your stair lift to get a recommendation from them. You will want a dealer that is authorized to receive replacement parts if needed.

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Stair lift installation in a church
A stair lift may be installed in a place of worship depending on your local code.
Close up of service light turned on
Stair lift diagnostic display to identify service issues.
Stair lift installation and service person
Call the dealer who installed your stair lift if you need service.