Stairlift Frequently Asked Questions – Emprise Stairlifts
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FAQ

Stairlift FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we have provided answers to the most common questions we receive about stairlifts.  Click on a question to go to the response. If you can't find the answer you are seeking, please do not hesitate to contact us!

 

What is a stairlift and how does it work?

How will the stairlift fit on my stairs?

How much will the stairlift cost?

Why do curved stairlifts seem to cost so much?

I've found other brands of curved stairlifts that cost less money - why?

How much space does a stairlift use?

Can I install the stairlift on either side of my stairs?

Will my walls be strong enough to support a stairlift?

Will the stairlift work for someone who also uses a wheelchair?

How will the stairlift look in my house?

What about stairlift safety features?

Is the stairlift easy to care for?

Should I choose a straight or a curved stairlift?

Will the curved stairlift suit my stairs?

What happens if there is a power failure?

Do I need to plug in and charge my stairlift?

Where does the rail stop on the stairs?

How long does it take to get a curved stairlift?

How long does it take to get a straight stairlift?

Can more than one person ride on the stairlift at a time?

A rose by any other name - stairlift, stair lift, chair lift?

Where can I get more information?


Responses 

What is a stairlift and how does it work?

A stairlift is a motorised chair on a track that is secured to the steps of your staircase. No structural changes are made to your home and the stairlift glides over stairs without marring walls.

The chair can be “parked” at either the top or the bottom of the stairs.  Remote controls can be used to call or send the chair to the other end of the rail.

Once seated, with a push of a button, you are gently and securely carried over stairs. When not in use, the seat of the stairlift folds compactly against the wall.

Your comfort and safety are our top priority.  Each of the stairlift models supplied by Emprise Stairlifts is designed to ensure a smooth, comfortable ride that will let you confidently maintain your lifestyle and freely enjoy your whole house.

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How will the stairlift fit on my stairs?

The rail is attached to the treads of the steps, not the wall. The rail for the stairlift runs along one side of the stairs and is supported by legs every metre or so along the full length of the rail.  The legs are designed to keep the rail at the correct height all the way from the bottom to the top.  Each leg is fixed to the step or to the landing with three or four screws.  Nothing is attached to the wall or to the balustrade.

The seat can be folded up so that there is maximum room on the stairs for other people to walk past.

When not in use, the chair can be "parked" at either the top or the bottom of the stairs.

The positioning of the rail, the parking of the chair and even the impact on furniture near the stairs will all be discussed during a site visit and survey.

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How much will the stairlift cost?

The following are indicative prices only. The final quoted price will depend on the specific staircase (for example, how long the rail will need to be, how many - if any - turns are required) and optional features chosen:

  • A straight stairlift normally costs from $5,500, fully installed.

  • An outdoor straight stairlift normally costs from $6,500, fully installed.

  • A typical curved stairlift with one 90o turn and a rail up to about 6.0 metres long will be about $18,000, fully installed.

The cost of a straight stairlift (including the outdoor model) will be affected by the length of rail and any optional features selected.

The price of a curved stairlift depends mainly on the length of the rail and the number of turns in the rail. Other features that affect the price of a curved stairlift include any “overruns” at the top or bottom of the rail and any additional charging points.  There are also options for either a power or manual swivel seat. The automatic (powered) swivel plus curved arms are approximately $2,500 extra.  The exact price of a curved stairlift is subject to a site visit to measure the stairs and determine what extras may be required.

For distant installations, there may be additional travel, living and/or freight costs.

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Why do curved stairlifts seem to cost so much?

Curved stairlifts are more expensive than the straight stairlifts for several reasons.

The curved stairlifts have two motors; straight stairlifts only need one motor.  The first motor drives the seat up and down the rail just like the straight stairlifts.  The second motor is used to adjust the level of the seat as it goes up and down the rail. To ensure this happens automatically, there are sensors to detect when the slope of the rail changes. 

The rail is custom made to suit the exact measurements of the stairs.  This includes bending the sections of rail to suit the curves and slopes of the stairs and landings; the slots for the joiners are then cut into the rails; supports are cut to the correct length; and the charging points are installed on the rail. Rails for straight stairlifts are simply cut to length from standard sections of rail.   

When the rail is complete, the entire stairlift is then shipped from the factory ready for installation. Straight stairlifts can be shipped in bulk as they are all standard components.

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I've found other brands of curved stairlifts that cost less money - why?

The ThyssenKrupp Flow 2 is an amazingly well-engineered stairlift that can accomplish turns and changes in incline that other brands cannot, while operating smoothly and quietly. For example, the Flow 2 will go around a 180 degree inside turn and will do so without requiring any more distance from the wall than on a straight run, minimising the impact upon other users of the stairs and with no additional visual impact.  Once installed, the sleek and colour-coded rail has minimal visual impact - the Flow 2 single rail system being physically smaller than a tall or double rail system. While costing a little more than some if its competitors, both functionally and aesthetically, the Flow 2 is a winner.  The additional cost, when measured against the benefits and the total cost of the home in which it will be installed, make the Flow 2 the preferred choice. For further discussion on this topic and images of the ThyssenKrupp Flow 2 please see Why a ThyssenKrupp Flow 2 curved stairlift is the right choice and Flow 2 Images.

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How much space does a stairlift use?

This varies by model.  When not in use, the seat and footrest of the stairlift can be folded up, maximizing space on the stairway for others. The stairlift typically takes up about 35cm when folded. When in use, the stairlift typically opens to about 60cm.

A design objective for all the stairlifts we supply is to allow continued use of the staircase once the stairlift has been installed.

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Can I install the stairlift on either side of my stairs?

Yes. However, usually one side is more suitable than the other given the location of walk ways, door ways, where the user will get on and off the seat, and similar concerns. Access to power is also required for the battery charger. For curved stairlifts, installation on the inside of the curve means a shorter rail, a shorter distance to travel, resulting in a  ride of less duration. We will work with you to determine the most appropriate installation.

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Will my walls be strong enough to support a stairlift?

Stairlifts are mounted on the steps themselves.  There is no impact on the walls.

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Will the stairlift work for someone who also uses a wheelchair?

Stairlifts can be useful even for someone who has limited mobility. The user needs to be able to get on and off the stairlift seat and have access to a wheelchair at the end of the ride - a wheelchair cannot travel on the stairlift. Convenience features built into some models include folding arms that push up and out of the way, adjustable seat heights, and soft, padded seats.

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How will the stairlift look in my house?

The ThyssenKrupp Flow 2 offers the widest variety of colours and fabrics to choose from - so you're sure to find a look that blends with your décor. For an additional cost, the rail can be coloured in a custom colour to match your decor. Upholstery options include easy-care vinyl and plush fabrics. Please see Curved Stairlifts for photos of some of the options.

The ThyssenKrupp Flow 2 rail is also very subtle in size and shape compared with the rails for curved stairlifts from many other manufacturers; the Flow 2 is a superbly engineered solution.

The ThyssenKrupp HomeGlide family has a well-designed rail that is not visually obtrusive.  The HomeGlide comes with neutral upholstery that suits most decor.  The HomeGlide Extra offers four upholstery colours so you can select a colour that specifically suits your decor. Please see Straight Stairlifts for photos.

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What about stairlift safety features?

All of the stairlifts supplied by Emprise Stairlifts are engineered with multiple safety features for your peace of mind. The multi-point safety system of each stairlift includes sensors that stop the stairlift if something blocks its path, a seatbelt for added security, and brakes that will stop the stairlift should something go wrong with the drive system. Swivel seats, where fitted, ensure an easier, safer transition from sitting to standing positions. And, the swivel seat locks in place for travel.  There are mechanisms that prevent the stairlift from travelling beyond the track.  The controls are designed to make sure the stairlift will stop if you release your finger from the controls.

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Is the stairlift easy to care for?

Yes! Our stairlifts are easy to maintain and designed to last for many years.

The manufacturers recommend a preventive maintenance check every 6 to 12 months (this will be influenced by the situation in which the stairlift is installed).  A regular service costs $250 (plus travel and living for remote locations).

Additionally, it is expected that the batteries in the  handsets will need to be replaced every year, and the batteries in the carriage approximately every 3 years (the latter costing approximately $140).

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Should I choose a straight or a curved stairlift?

The type of the stairlift you choose will be primarily affected by the shape of your staircase.  In simple terms, a straight stairlift will only be suitable for a straight staircase, with no bends, curves or landings.  There are some possible exceptions, but these are few. Please refer to Straight or Curved.

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Will the curved stairlift suit my stairs?

Curved stairlifts will suit all types of stairs – even straight stairs.  They are used on staircases with grand sweeping curves, staircases with a 180 degree turn, staircases with landings and even straight stairs where it is desirable to park the chair around a corner away from the top or bottom of the stairs.

The curved stairlift supplied by Emprise Stairlifts is called the Flow 2 and is manufactured by ThyssenKrupp – one of the world’s leading suppliers of lifts, escalators, moving walkways and stairlifts. They manufacture over 1,000 curved stairlifts every month and ship them all over the world.

The Flow 2 stairlift has a choice of 4 standard rail colours and 10 different seat fabrics.  If desired, a custom colour and/or fabric can be used.

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What happens if there is a power failure?

As the stairlift works on battery power, it will continue to work during a power failure.  The batteries are designed to allow the user to make many trips up and down the stairs on a single charge. However, as you will not know how long the power failure may last, trips on the stairlift should be kept to a minimum.

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Do I need to plug in and charge my stairlift?

The stairlift includes a transformer that is permanently plugged into a standard 240 volt power-point.  The power-point can be either at the top or bottom of the stairs.  When the stairlift is parked, the batteries are automatically recharged.

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Where does the rail stop on the stairs?

For a straight stairlift, at the top and bottom of the stairs, the rail normally stops at the end of the stairs, but the rail protrudes slightly.  Where this is an issue to traffic at the bottom of the stairlift, a hinged rail can be installed. (Refer to Straight Stairlifts.)

For a curved stairlift, the rail ends where the stairs start/stop.  This means that the rail will not protrude into walkways or block doorways.  Alternatively, it can run along a landing or go around corners at the top and bottom so that the chair is parked out of everyone’s way. (Please see the photos in Curved Stairlifts.)

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How long does it take to get a curved stairlift?

The typical timeframe from your stairs being measured for a curved stairlift (and you placing an order) to the installation being complete is about 6 weeks.

Each stairlift is custom made to suit the stairs where it is to be installed.  The first step is a detailed survey of the stairs measuring the height and depth of each stair, and the angles of every turn.  This is then used to make a detailed engineering drawing of the stairs and the rail to fit the stairs.  The rail is then custom made to suit the stairs and the complete stairlift is then shipped from the factory ready for installation. 

Installation at your home normally takes only a few hours depending on the number of sections in the rail and ease of working on the stairs.

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How long does it take to get a straight stairlift?

The typical timeframe from your stairs being measured for a straight stairlift (and you placing an order) to the installation being complete is 1 to 2 weeks.

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Can more than one person ride on the stairlift at a time?

Safety certification for these stairlifts is based on single passenger per ride only.

The stairlift manufacturers have very strong recommendations regarding use of stairlifts.  In the interest of safety for you, your family and your friends, we fully support these recommendations:

  • Only adults who are familiar with the operation of the stairlift (having read the user manual or been shown by an experienced user) should use the stairlift.
  • Under-aged and mentally disadvantaged persons may only use the stairlift under supervision.
  • Never exceed the maximum permissible weight for your specific model.
  • The stairlift is exclusively intended for the transportation of one person per journey.
  • Never use the stairlift for transporting animals or goods.

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A rose by any other name - stairlift, stair lift, chair lift?

In Australia, we most commonly call a seat that travels up and down a stairway on a rail a stairlift (or stair lift, with a space).  In the UK they are often called chairlifts (or chair lifts).  We've even seen them called chair stair lifts!  Yes, they are all the same thing. The very same model from a manufacturer is sometimes labelled differently to suit the local usage.  Hopefully, if you're reading this question, you've searched on one of these common terms and found us.

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Where can I get more information?

Call or e-mail us to request further details on the space requirements for the stairlift, installation options, sample colours of the rails, samples of the fabrics.  Also, a demonstration video is available showing the operation of the stairlift. An extensive photo gallery is also available.  See Contact Us.

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An Emprise Pty Ltd business.

Perth, Western Australia.

Emprise Stairlifts

Copyright 2017

Last Updated September, 2017