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Vertical Platform Lifts: The Safe Stair Elevator

Mar 23, 2008
For those in a wheelchair one of the most difficult things to do can be to enter and exit our home. Often times the front stairs are much steeper and narrower than the inside steps and this can make it harder or impractical to build a ramp to enter your home. For others it puts too much strain on the body to use a ramp. There is a solution and that solution is vertical platform lifts.

Vertical platform lifts are often referred to as wheelchair lifts. They are in essence an elevator, usually installed outdoors, that raises the individual on a small reinforced steel platform. Most residential units utilize an electric motor to lift the unit using a very efficient gear system called a worm gear. Usually very little maintenance is required, but it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Vertical platform lifts are generally designed to be permanent fixtures in that they should be bolted to a sturdy base made out of concrete or lumber. There are some exceptions to this however. Some units are available that are portable and can be moved very easily and require little installation or setup. The unit is on wheels, but can be securely bolted to a base if they are not going to be moved or depending on the lifting height. These types of units are great for churches, schools, and restaurants.

With certain units it is possible to create a temporary base. This is ideal if you need to quickly set up your new vertical platform lift or if you are about to move to a new home and do not want to install your new vertical platform lift twice. It is imperative that you consult your manufacturer's installation instructions to see if your unit is compatible with this type of installation, but a temporary installation can be done on certain units by burying two pieces of rough cut lumber in 2 inches of sand or gravel so that the top of the boards are level with the ground. The distances and measurements of the boards will be provided by your manufacturer if this type of installation is possible with your vertical platform lift. Most units should also be secured to the side of the stairs or house if they are lifting a distance greater than 52 inches.

Whether you are purchasing a new vertical platform lift for your self or for a friend or family member it is imperative that you honestly access the expected weight load. If you are going to be using the wheel chair lift with two people than access the max weight that of the heaviest people that could be on the lift at any given time as well as the weight of the wheelchair. Generally most lifts will support at least 500lbs and it is possible to upgrade the lifts so that they hold more weight.

A vertical platform lift is a great investment and can let you establish a normal everyday routine.
About the Author
Brad Brubaker is a technical writer for www.vertical-platform-lifts.com. They are the premier source for Wheel Chair Lifts in addition to mobile platform lifts.
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