If you have a question about vacuum elevators that is not answered here, call (512) 831-2703 or use the form on this page to send us your inquiry.
Q. How much does a vacuum elevator cost?
Many factors affect the final installed cost of vacuum elevators. The average price for a good quality shaftless elevator like our PVEs with the capacity most families need will cost around $35,000 installed. Here is more information about home elevator prices. We are eager to share information about our small affordable home elevators. There are 2 main components to consider:
- The elevator – such as number of stops, size, and various aesthetic options you may prefer.
- Construction – The construction costs for a vacuum elevator are typically much less than for a traditional elevator, but home modifications are necessary. If the construction is minimal (floor is level and is installed in an open foyer or stairwell so no floor penetration is required and materials are standard, installation costs can be as low as $4,200-$6,000.
The best way to know exactly what the elevator that suits your home and preferences will cost is to schedule a free in-home elevator consultation and site evaluation. One of our knowledgeable vacuum elevator specialists will explain all your options to help you confidently make an informed decision.
Q. Should I age in place or move to a new home?
Super tough decision. And a very individual decision. We put together some information to help you evaluate whether retrofitting your current home with modifications such as a home elevator or moving is right for you.
Q. What is best location to install my home elevator?
Without us visiting your home to complete a site evaluation, we cannot answer this question. The way you use your home and plan to use the elevator as well as the home’s architecture influence what locations will work for you. Learn more about the surprising locations you can install a home elevator.
Q. What is a Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator (PVE)?
Pneumatic vacuum elevator is a air-driven lift that due to its glass tube design offers a 360-degree view. It comes partially pre-assembled and requires no shaft and minimal pre-construction so it can be installed in 1-2 days.
Q. How does a Pneumatic Elevator work?
An efficient pneumatic pump sucks the air out of the chamber above the elevator car creating low pressure which causes the higher pressure below the car to give a gentle lift pushing the car and its riders upwards. To descend, no power is consumed because a valve releases the vacuum slowly causing the car to move to a lower floor. When the elevator car is at the landing, brakes engage to lock it in place.
Q. What are typical vacuum elevator problems?
This question usually comes up when people are not comfortable with the technology or don’t know a lot about pneumatic elevators. We have lots of information for you about vacuum elevator problems and things to consider.
Q. Are vacuum elevators safe?
Vacuum elevators are certified to meet ASME elevator standards. They are simply designed with fewer parts to break down. In the event of a power failure while the elevator is in use, the slow release of air pressure caused by gravity is used to slowly descend to the lowest floor. Because upward movement of a vacuum elevator is created by the removal of air (creating a vacuum) above the car, a pocket of air is always below the car. If the elevator loses power, the air below the car remains a cushion that enables descent at a safe speed. Unlike a traditional hydraulic or traction elevators suspended by cables or ropes, there is no risk of a free-fall.
Back-up battery power ensures the mechanical brakes and locks remain operational.
PVEs offer multiple layers of safety protection for you and your family and guests.
Q. What happens if I lose electricity while in the pneumatic elevator?
Read our detailed post about what happens to residential elevators during a power outage. All elevators are designed to protect passengers during loss of power. Vacuum elevators while having additional safety measures are in fact, by design of how they work, will lower you to the ground floor when you lose electricity.
Q. What happens if the elevator breaks while I’m in between floors?
Although very rare, see “Are Vacuum Elevators Safe?” above that explains why vacuum elevators will return to the ground floor.
Q. How many floors can a PVE be used with?
PVE elevators can be built for up to 5 stops with a maximum of 50 vertical feet.
Q.What are advantages of Pneumatic Elevators?
So many pluses, here are a few:
- Safe by inherent design custom-made systems
- Elegant glass exterior is attractive and because you can see through it do not block views or take up visual space
- Small elevator footprint compared to traditional elevators making them perfect for all sizes of homes
- Self-supported structure does not require pulleys, cables, posts, or rails
- Fast installation
- Plug-and-play on 200-volt electric supply
- Lower overall cost of installation and operation
- No annual maintenance required
- Eco-friendly due to lower power consumption and they do not us harmful oils, gases, or lubricants
- Made in the USA
- Fully removable…you can take your elevator with you!
Q. Are Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators noisy?
Depending on the configuration and installation location, vacuum elevators emit sounds equal to 72 decibels (washing machine) to 85 decibels (vacuum cleaner). Our PVE specialists can help you place the elevator in your home to minimize disruption.
Q. What sizes are Vacuum Elevators available in?
There are three sizes of pneumatic elevators available:
- PVE30 – single passenger elevator with a 30” exterior diameter and a 350-pound carrying capacity.
- PVE37 – 2-passenger elevator with a 37” in exterior diameter that can carry up to 450 pounds.
- PVE52 – 3-passenger wheelchair-accessible elevator with an exterior diameter of 52” and a 525-pound carrying capacity.
Q. Can a Pneumatic Elevator fit a wheelchair?
Yes. The three-passenger elevator, model PVE52, is wheelchair-accessible. Its cab has an interior diameter of 43.5”. There is plenty of space for a wheelchair and an attendant. The 32” entrance and precision landing leveling enables easy rolling of a wheelchair into and out of the car.
Q. What should I know about installing Pneumatic Elevators?
Each vacuum elevator is pre-assembled and tested for operation and safety at the factory located in the US. No shaft/hoistway or pit is required making required construction a minimum. The ground floor must be completely level as this is where the PVE is mounted. Simple holes between floors enable the vacuum elevator to be installed. Installation requires about 2 days. Our PVE installation process is faster, less expensive, and less disruptive to your household than traditional elevators.
Q. Are pneumatic vacuum elevators a new technology?
Yes, and no. Relatively speaking, they are new and innovative. But they have been in use since 2002 so they have a long flawless history of safe operation. There are about 300 dealers worldwide in 80 countries with more than 20,000 installations around the globe.
Q. Is there a standard size home elevator?
Our pneumatic elevators come in 3 sizes, but, in general, traditional elevators have no standard residential size.
Q. What is an elevator pit?
The elevator pit is a recessed area that must be created in your home’s foundation to enable a traditional elevator car to land evenly with the ground floor. PVEs do NOT require a pit, they sit flush on top of your existing foundation.
Q. Do all elevators require a machine room?
No, PVEs do not require a machine room. There are other types of machine-room-less traditional elevators.
Q. How do PVE elevators compare to through-the-floor (TTF) lifts?
TTF lifts are not elevators and, as such, their installation does not have to follow building codes designed to protect you, the user. Vacuum elevator installation must be according to code which includes a telephone for calling in case of an unexpected event. There are some similarities to PVE like lower construction costs and faster installation compared to traditional elevators. Many people consider TTF lifts because of the low price, but there are safety and comfort trade-offs. Plus, if mild to moderate mobility issues progress to more severe issues and a wheelchair is needed, the TTF will like not meet your needs. It is vital you ask your home elevator consultant these questions before you buy.
Q. Does a vacuum elevator require maintenance?
The simplicity of vacuum elevator technology eliminates annual maintenance that traditional elevators require to remain safe to operate. Maintenance of your PVE is fast, easy, and eco-friendly.
Traditional elevators have machines and parts susceptible to wear such as pulleys, cables, counterweights, other bulky, heavy equipment. To keep the large, inter-related parts working efficiently, quietly, and safely requires at least annual inspection and testing and involves changing of messy, non-ecological lubricants.
Vacuum elevators require one service visit every five years or 15,000 lifts to inspect and test the unit. The PVE does not use lubricants so the only maintenance required is a quick replacement of the elevator’s main seal. The ultra-low maintenance requirements make a PVE a great investment for your home.