Published at Friday, 14 September 2018. Stair. By Elise Luthi.
Starting with two parallel 2x6 stringer members, the adjustable brackets are first positioned using a spacing tool and then attached to each member with a single "pivot screw". For finished interior stairs, the stringers may be "paint" grade or "stain" grade but will have a tongue and grove or spline milled into the parallel mating surfaces so that once the brackets are adjusted, the mating surfaces will be pushed together to form a continuous, decorative, one piece knee wall stringer. The remaining screws are inserted and the end cuts are made. All the risers and treads are now square cut to the exact length using a chop saw. It is recommended that a stop is used for accuracy and efficiency. The treads are usually cut slightly shorter than the risers (1/64") for fit. For fast assembly it’s best to first pre- assemble the stair and then lift into position whenever circumstances permit.
In fact, the best time to add a stair lift system may be before it is actually a requirement. There are plenty of seniors who may not be disabled, but who experience intermittent conditions, such as an arthritic knee or hip, that make climbing stairs a challenge some of the time. Stair lifts can be installed in straight or curved staircases. Most models today run on rechargeable DC battery packs that hold a charge for around 8 to 10 trips up and down, depending on the length of the track and the weight of the person it is transporting. Some of these battery packs have chargers mounted next to the top or bottom of the lift track, while others are able to recharge from anywhere along the track. DC powered stair lifts are the preferred style today because they still work (for a while anyway) if the AC power to the household is cut. Many seniors, through no fault of their own, lose the ability to go up and down staircases with agility. And many of them have strong emotional ties to the house in which they live. A stair lift can make the difference between allowing a senior to have significant independence of daily living and having to making the difficult choice of selling a beloved home.
Battery packs come as a sealed unit that is maintenance free. Eventually, however, it will lose its ability to hold a charge and need to be replaced. the battery packs attach to the stair lift or are externally mounted near the charge station. It is a good idea to check the cost of batteries when choosing a stair lift, because they will have to be replaced eventually. Stair lift technology has moved away from the use of household AC power to use of rechargeable DC battery packs. While the batteries recharge on the household current, the lift does not require the household current in order to work, allowing use of the lift during power outages and resulting in a much smoother and quieter ride.
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