Deciding which residential elevator to have installed in your home requires lots of research. Before you buy your home elevator, use these questions to ensure you are informed about the installation project and about how your elevator will work for your mobility needs.
Questions to Ask Your Home Elevator Installer
1) What type of home elevator do you recommend for my needs?
You have options, each with their advantages and disadvantages. We install pneumatic vacuum elevators (PVE). These vacuum elevators fit the structure of any multi-story home because they do not require extensive construction of a shaft. And they offer options for wheelchair use and capacity up to 3 people which is sufficient for most residential needs.
Your home elevator consultant should make an in-home visit to determine how your home’s existing architecture will best support the installation of your elevator and ask lots of questions to help determine your mobility needs, now and in the future.
Learn more about what we do during our in-home elevator consultations.
2) Can I take my elevator with me if I move?
The answer is “no” for any residential elevator that is not a vacuum elevator.
Many are surprised to learn that they can take their PVE elevator with them if they move to a different home. Though, keep in mind, that in today’s housing market, elevators add value to your home when selling.
3) What is included in the elevator installation estimate?
Often one home elevator installer’s low bid is due to not including something in your other quotes. Carefully review each proposal you receive to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. Look for design, pre-construction costs, installation costs, options and add-ons, and permit and inspection support. Note that because a vacuum elevator does not require a shaft or machine room, it offers low pre-installation construction costs and less disruption to your home life with a 2 or 3-day installation time.
4) What safety features are included in the elevator and are there any add-on options I should consider?
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) collaborate to create codes for all types of products including elevators. The standards that apply to elevators is ASME A17.1-2019: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (CSA B44-2019 if you are in Canada). This most recent update to the National Safety Code for Elevators came in 2020.
Per this set of building codes, elevator installers must ensure that the following safety areas are addressed:
- Lowering during power outage – When power fails and the pump stops creating the vacuum that pushes the car upward, gravity gently lowers the PVE as the valve slowly releases air. Read more about vacuum elevators during a power outage. While unnecessary to get you safely to the lowest floor, there is an upgrade option for a battery backup system to keep the elevator operable when electricity is out.
- Phone – All elevators must have a telephone so occupants can call for assistance.
- Alarm – An alarm is present inside the cab that can be activated to alert others outside the elevator that someone in the elevator requires assistance.
- Emergency lighting system – If a power outage occurs while the vacuum elevator is in operation, the cabin ceiling light and fan will remain on as the cab gently lowers to the lowest floor and the door opens enabling passengers to safely exit.
- Doors – Home elevators have interlocking doors that can open only at the landing points, unless forced open.
- Protecting from entry into the hoistway – Doors, gates, or other devices must be present to prevent people, pets, or objects from entering into the hoistway.
HVAC requirements – HVAC is a vital part of their elevator’s safety features, though most people don’t think about it. It is important to maintain temperature and humidity around the elevator machinery and control systems within the manufacturer’s specified ranges. Most elevator controls these days contain microprocessors so keeping their temperature at the manufacturer’s specifications is key to ensuring efficient and long-lasting operation, as well as safety.
5) Who will install the unit and provide maintenance after the fact?
Home Elevators of Austin has its own background-checked and bonded teams to ensure your installation goes as specified in the design. Carefully consider any proposal from other home elevator installers that sub-contract the installation work.
Though no annual maintenance is required for a PVE elevator, we stand behind our products offering all maintenance and repair services needed.
Review any home elevator contract in detail before signing. They often contain clauses that include multi-year deals with built-in automatic increases in maintenance agreements.
6) Who is my point of contact for my home elevator?
For both the elevator installation project and elevator maintenance, you want to have the home elevator installer’s contact information handy. To ensure communication is clear, you want only one point of contact for the project and one for any follow-up questions or repair needs.
Have More Questions?
Our Austin-based Certified Aging-in-Place (CAPS) specialists look forward to visiting with you in your home to provide you with a free, detailed, no-obligation quote as well as answer all your questions about how a vacuum elevator will fit in your home and serve your mobility needs.
Jay, thank you for the immediate service response for our elevator. Josh did an excellent job and was a fine representative of your company. Needless to say, Brad is always super. When we first started our business relationship, I told you a main factor for my selecting your company was the professional manner displayed by you and your staff. Using your services in my own home was just another example of that professionalism. The result is that my wife can once again go downstairs without fear of falling. Her Parkinson’s Disease has progressed since you last saw her, and the elevator has been a blessing for her mobility.Art B.