The independence that a small residential elevator brings to a homeowner, along with the value it adds to the price of the home, make it a worthwhile investment. However, it comes with a lot of requirements, maintenance, and expense. Here are a few.
“Aging in place” is a term often used to describe owners who wish to continue living in their long-standing family home.
Modifications and renovations to an existing home can make it easier for a senior to avoid moving to a new location. These renovations often include additions to the home, such as adding a bathroom with a roll-in shower or replacing the exterior stairs with a handrail.
It could also include creating a living space on the first floor, so that the owner can avoid using one of the most difficult places in a residence: the stairs.
Adding an elevator or “vertical transport” may seem like a simple and inexpensive solution that will help older homeowners avoid using the stairs in an older or existing home.
In its simplest form, an elevator requires a cabin or box, an electronic mechanism, and a hole in the floor of the house, allowing it to move between levels. What could be complicated about adding an elevator, which makes it easier to move between floors and adds to the overall value of the home?
Well, there is quite a bit to think about.
Elevators require permits, maintenance contracts, safety devices (including an alarm bell, telephone and lighting inside the cabin, lockable doors) and in most cases, a machine room, where the mechanics are located.
A back-up power system is always a good idea if the house loses power and the elevator stops between floors with someone, perhaps in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled, at the cabin interior.
The guiding idea behind adding an elevator is to provide independence for someone who may be unstable or unable to navigate the stairs. In reality, the care and maintenance of a home elevator as well as the day-to-day operation requires monitoring, planning and supervision.
Using an elevator alone when no one is home is not recommended, as malfunctions, even in a two-story house, should always be taken into account. Cab doors may jam or the cab may not be level with the ground when it stops, preventing the doors from opening easily.
If a fire were to occur in the house, the resident who became dependent on the elevator would be unable to exit the house by the stairs. (The general rule is that you should never use an elevator in the event of a fire.)
Additionally, accommodation codes – which vary from location to location – also dictate the type of elevator that can be used.
Locating the elevator in the footprint of the house and deciding where to cut the hole in the floor is the first decision. In most cases, placing the elevator in a hallway, near existing stairs, is the most common placement.
If you need a mechanical room, you need to allocate space for it. Small residential elevators can incorporate self-contained electric motors and use vertical guides, attached to a wall, high-powered motors or cables found in larger elevators.
The drive system behind used with a small lift will determine the power and strength of the lift system. Another requirement is an electromechanical lock (EMI), a safety locking system for the door.
Another type of small elevator mechanism is a hydraulic elevator, in which a pump delivers hydraulic fluid to a cylinder to raise and lower the car. In addition to regular inspections of elevator equipment, cables in small units should be replaced every five years.
A vacuum self-help system, moving air pressure through pumps and turbines, is yet another way to drive an elevator car without the use of an elevator peak or spike. a hoist.
The elevator cabin doors can open from both sides or only one side, depending on the space outside the landing platform. Another consideration is the speed at which the small residential elevator will go up and down. In most cases, smaller units (unlike business units) move slowly.
Adding an elevator to an existing home comes with a lot of requirements, maintenance, and expense. However, the independence that a small residential elevator brings to a resident, along with the added value to the price of the home, can make this business an attractive consideration.
Look online and you will find a large number of companies that offer many elevator options. They often ship and install components as well as maintain them. To be honest, homeowners looking to tackle a project of this magnitude should give it special attention. They should determine its validity and whether residents who who will be using the elevator are able to use it and, more importantly, if they are comfortable with its operation.
Gerard Splendore is a Certified Associate Real Estate Broker with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.