Published at Friday, 14 September 2018. Stair. By Alwine Seiler.
Stair lifts are chairs that run on tracks attached to stair treads that lift a person up or down the stairs safely. They are an enormous help to someone living alone who has trouble navigating stairs, and for those who live with a spouse, relative or other loved one who is not capable of the hard physical work of carrying the person up and down the stairs. A stair lift usually benefits more people than just the person who uses it. There are a number of reasons why people have trouble going up and down staircases: arthritis, diabetic foot complications, neurological conditions, or a decline in strength due to aging. Giving up the independence of going up and down stairs can be a terrible blow to a person’s morale and self esteem. Suddenly half the house is out of reach, and that person’s world shrinks considerably.
While the maintenance of mobility in the event of a power outage is a huge advantage of a DC stair lift system, that advantage is tempered by the cost of replacing batteries every 12 to 18 months, which can run up to $100 a pop for most stair lift batteries. On the other hand, DC stair lifts make less of a demand on the home electricity system, meaning that electric bills will be somewhat lower for DC powered lifts. The batteries of a DC powered stair lift charge in one of two methods: station charging or the use of a charge strip. With station charging, permanent charging stations are positioned at each end of the rail. Charge strips allow the lift to charge at any point along the track. Today’s rechargeable batteries are reliable and hold a charge better than old models. The typical stair lift battery will stay charged through about 8 trips up and down the track, though it will vary based on how long the staircase is and how heavy the person it is transporting is.
Proper stair design has a maximum rise of eight inches, a minimum run of nine inches and a minimum tread width of 9.25 inches. A safe and properly configured stairway should be at 34 inches wide. As a rule the wider steps are safer then narrow stairs. There needs to be adequate headroom above the set of stairs. The required headroom is at least 6 foot 6 inches. When there is a door at the top of a set of steps, it should open away from the stairs for safety reasons. If a door opens toward the stairs a landing is needed so a person opening the door will not be able to push someone on the stairs.
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