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Home Accessibility

home-accessibility

Your life might need a lift

If you or a loved one has a mobility issue to overcome – or you simply want to make life with barriers easier – there is a Savaria product to help you stay mobile and independent in the comfort of your own home. The best solution for your needs will depend on a few factors, such as your level of mobility, whether you use an aid such as a walker or a wheelchair, and what works best in your home.

Not sure where to start? Learn more about products we offer and what may be suitable for you with our information below.

Your local authorized Savaria dealer would also be pleased to discuss options with you and most offer a free home assessment.

What product is best for you?

You have difficulty using stairs or are afraid of falling and you are not using a mobility aid
A stairlift could be the best solution as long as you are steady enough to get on and off the seat on the lift. If you have a single flight of straight stairs, choose a straight stairlift. If your stairs curve, turn or have an intermediate landing, choose a curved stairlift

You use a walker/rollator or mobility aid 
You may be able to use a stairlift, but you might need a second mobility device at the other end of the stairs, and you must feel steady to get on and off the stairlift. A better choice may be lift that can accommodate your device. That could be a vertical platform lift, a through-the-floor lift, or a home elevator.  

You use a wheelchair, or believe you will use one in the near future 
If you are in a wheelchair, the best option is a lift that accommodates you with the wheelchair.  Choose a vertical or inclined platform lift, through-the-floor lift, or home elevator.

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Be sure to consider your mobility device when choosing a lift

Straight vs curved stairlifts

A straight stairlift serves a single flight of straight stairs.

If your staircase has a landing between flights, or any curves (pie shaped stairs), you will need a curved stairlift.

If you want to curve the rail at the top or bottom so the lift is out of the way when not in use, or you want to have more room to get on and off the lift, a curved lift is also the best choice.

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A: straight, B&C: a curved stairlift is needed

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Stairlift out-of-the-way parking

Tips & answers

What is the difference between a vertical lift and an elevator?
Savaria makes vertical platform lifts that carry one person and a wheelchair typically from one point to a second point (called a 2-stop). That can be from the ground or driveway to an elevated deck or porch outside the home (called a “porch lift” or “deck lift”). A vertical lift can also be installed inside the home, most often inside a hoistway that is built by a contractor. Although similar to an elevator, the vertical lift uses constant press operation – so the user must press the button continuously to make the lift move. Releasing the button stops the lift. 

A home elevator carries multiple people with a higher capacity (up to 1000 lb / 454 kg) and features automatic operation (one touch of a button and the elevator operates). A home elevator is always installed in a hoistway and cannot be installed outdoors.

When is an elevator the best solution?
If you have the space and want a fully automatic solution that can handle a higher capacity, an elevator is a wise choice. Home elevators can be configured to be fully automatic, including automatic doors, and are available in a variety of finishes to complement your home’s decor.

A home elevator is a wise choice if you require greater than 23 ft of travel (the maximum for a wheelchair lift) or more than 4 stops. A home elevator will also be seen as an added value to your property while a wheelchair lift likely will not.

How does a through-the-floor lift work?
The Savaria Telecab is an accessibility lift that operates without the requirement of a enclosed hoistway. Instead, a floor cut-out is created in the ceiling to allow the lift to travel to the second level. When the lift lowers, the cut out is safely covered with a floor cover. The Telecab is a good solution for people who need to travel 2 stops (one level to the next) yet a traditional home elevator cannot be installed due to space or construction constraints. A person with mobility device can be carried up to a 845 lb capacity with a Savaria Telecab17.

Can I move my stairlift or wheelchair lift from one home to another?
Most mobility products are customized to some extent to fit the space that they are installed in. For this reason, most of the time relocation of a lift is not possible. Straight stairlifts and inclined platform lifts may be able to be moved, but curved lifts are custom-made to the specific angle of the stairs and therefore cannot be re-installed in a different location. Vertical platform lifts are customized to the specific height of travel needed, so often cannot be moved. Before buying a used lift, check to see if it can be installed in a new location.

Can we install a stairlift in our place of worship, business, etc.?
Any place that is not a private home is considered a commercial application in most jurisdictions. Commercial installations include applications such as a bed and breakfast, a retirement home, a church, or group home. Adding a stairlift can be a great addition to a commercial building, when allowed, but it will not make the building accessible. Both accessibility code ADA and A117.1 require lifts to have a certain platform size depending on their configuration. Your local Savaria commercial dealer will know how to comply with local code requirements including whether the lift requires a permit or inspection process. See the commercial accessibility section to learn more about suitable products.

Costs
Your local Savaria dealer can provide you an accurate quote for equipment and the installation. This cost varies greatly depending upon the type of equipment needed, the work to be done in your home to accommodate the lift and any custom options you may wish to add. 

Is there funding to pay for lifts?
Your local Savaria dealer is the best resource to find out about any available programs that will help cover the costs of your lift. We can put you in touch with the dealer nearest you.

Measurements & requirements

To install a stairlift, you will need a minimum stair width of 30" (A) and about 2 feet of landing space at the bottom of the stairs (B).

For an inclined platform lift, you will need a minimum stair width of 36" (A) and at least 10 feet of landing space at the bottom landing (B) for straight through access (slightly less if you opt for a 90 degree exit configuration).

/resource/dm/Diagram of how to measure your stairs

A. Stair width B.Landing clearance

A vertical platform lift will need a pad or pit proportionate to the platform size (e.g. 54" x 74" for a 36" x 48" platform), plus additional room to maneuver in and out of the lift at each landing.  

A traditional home elevator will require space for a hoistway as well as a machine room, unless a machine roomless model is chosen. 

The Savaria Vuelift is an alternative that typically requires less space than a traditional home elevator because it comes with an integrated hoistway. 

The Savaria Telecab through-the-floor home elevator does not require a traditional hoistway, as it travels from one level to the second level through a cut-out in the floor. The smallest model of the Telecab requires a cut-out of as little as 60.5" x 35.25", as well as room for the tower which requires a support wall for installation. 

All elevators and vertical platform lifts will need adequate room at entrances to maneuver in and out.

Outdoor options

Can I install the lift outside? 
Vertical platform lifts (Multilift, M2lift, V-1504) are built to be installed outdoors, even in most cold climates. Outdoor lifts do require more maintenance than indoor lifts in order to keep them running smoothly. If you live near the ocean, you will need to take special care for maintenance due to the corrosive properties of salty air.

Our K2 straight stairlift, as well as our Delta and Omega inclined platform lifts can be installed outside in moderate climates where winters are milder. 

A home elevator cannot be installed outside, but the interior shaftway can have an exterior access point.

/resource/dm/Savaria Multilift Outdoor Application

Savaria Multilift

Installation

Can I install it myself or using a handyperson?
No. All Savaria products must be installed by an authorized Savaria dealer. Dealers are trained to install products to meet all safety recommendations and dealers are responsible to meet all local building and elevating code requirements. 

What does a stairlift installation involve? 
Stairlift rails are installed directly onto the stairs. A power outlet nearby is needed to power the lift’s battery charger. The lift is battery operated allowing it to run even during a power failure. Your local Savaria dealer will know if your jurisdiction requires a permit and inspection for a home accessibility lift. 

How long will it take to install my lift? 
A straight stair lift can be installed in just a few hours. A curved stair lift usually takes one day to install. Vertical lifts and home elevators take multiple days depending upon the complexity of the installation and work that may need to be completed by other tradespeople, such as electrical work. Your local dealer will be able to talk to you more about the overall time it will take to execute the full scope of work.

What’s involved in a porch lift installation?
An outdoor vertical platform (often called a porch lift) is a common solution to provide easy access from the ground level into the home. Generally, the lift is installed onto a poured concrete pad. Installation must include a top landing gate that is solid material and completely flush with the lift to prevent injuries. The Savaria M2lift comes with a flush, solid metal top landing gate making for an easy safety solution. 

What’s involved to install an inclined platform lift?
The Savaria Delta inclined platform lift allows a wheelchair user to be carried on a platform over the stairs. A travel rail is installed securely onto the side support wall. The motorized carriage features a fold-out platform with safety arms. The space needed here depends on the size of platform, angle of lift and how the lift is configured to enter it. Your local Savaria dealer can assess your home to determine the space needed.

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Installation is done by an authorized dealer installer

Lift operation

How do stairlifts and platform lifts operate?
Mobility products such as stairlifts and wheelchair lifts operate using constant pressure controls. To move the lift, you need to continuously press a button; when the button is released your unit stops. Most lifts have a remote control or a call station to call the unit from another level.

What if you don’t have mobility in your hands to operate the vertical lift?
A Savaria platform lift can be customized to include joystick operation, controls on the either side of the lift or additional automatic features such as an automatic gate or door operator.

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Constant pressure controls

Maintenance

What kind of maintenance is needed?
As with all mechanical equipment, mobility products need regular maintenance to ensure they operate reliably. For example, parts may need lubrication or adjustments from time to time, and wearable parts may eventually need to be replaced. The recommended maintenance schedule varies by product, and will be outlined in the owner’s manual.

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All lifts need regular maintenance