Posts Tagged "home elevator"

13Jan

Calgary Renovation Show

by Andrew @ Uppercut

We are pleased to announce that we will be attending the Calgary  Renovation Show this weekend. We will be right by the front entrance in booth number 149, so come on by and find out how you can make your home accessible. We have a wide variety of accessibility solutions that include everything from stair lifts to home  elevators.

residential lifts residential elevator Wessex going through floor home elevator 1 glass elevator commercial lift Stratus Elevator TrustT Platform Lift gallery SRE 3000 07 small glass elevator car floor

The show dates are:

Friday January 13th – noon – 9pm

Saturday January 14th 10am-9pm

Sunday January 15th 10am -6pm

The show is down at the BMO Center and we have a few pairs of tickets to give away. If you would like free tickets please email Andrew to get the details

 

 

 

29Apr

Uppercut partners with Hearts & Hammers to create an accessible home

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Community Home Accessibility

Accessible Home Solutions

Some days are problematic and quite frankly can be  difficult,  but not yesterday – yesterday was a joy. We were fortunate to be able to team up with the good folks at Hearts & Hammers to make a home wheelchair accessible for a Calgary family. Our scope of work was relatively simple, as we were asked to  provide a porch lift to gain access to the home. This basic porch lift installation was completed in about an hour, but this in no way depicts the effort and time put in by the Hearts & Hammers construction crew. Weeks before, this dedicated group of contractors did some pretty extraordinary modifications to the home.  They  completed a bathroom renovation  to make the space wheelchair accessible, replaced the carpet with laminate flooring, and widened several doorways. They also did all the site preparation to accommodate  the new RAM  Trus-T-Lift™ we installed

Heart9 Heart7 Accessibility Lifts Heart4 Heart3 Heart1 Heart6 TrustT Lift Features

If you would like more information on Hearts & Hammers or would like to make a donation please visit their website

10Mar

Evacuation and battery back up options for your residential elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Home Elevators

I think humans by nature have a fear of being trapped in an elevator and therefore I usually don’t get through a sales meeting without one of the two following questions being asked:

  1. What do I do if the elevator gets stuck?
  2. What happens if the power goes out?

Both questions are valid and fortunately, we have a variety of solutions that can ease these fears.

I would start by saying that one thing you can do to guarantee piece of mind is having your elevator properly maintained by a factory trained technician. The second thing would be to ensure there is a phone in your elevator so you can call for help if necessary.

Ok, now back to the easing your fears about getting stuck in that elevator. The following are standard and optional features that can allow for a safe evacuation from your elevator.

Manual lowering (or raising)  

All devices that I am aware of have some form of manual lowering. Hydraulic units typically will have a button in the machine room that will open up a hydraulic valve and lower you at a regulated rate. Fluid is released from the cylinder, back into the reservoir. Of course, this means you can only be lowered and never raised, even if you need to get out at the upper level which is merely inches away.  Traction counter weight and ACME Screw drives utilize a gear reduced crank that allows you to be moved in both an upward and downward direction. The obvious benefit here is, in the event of a flood or fire you may not necessary want to be evacuated to the lowest level as the exit to your home may be on levels 2, 3 or 4.

Emergency Battery lowering

Battery lowering is useful in the event of a power failure where your major concern is simply being able to exit the elevator. As the name indicates the elevator will only continue to operate in the downward position. The intention is to have you safely evacuate the device at the lowest level.

Battery Backup (or DC operation)

IMG_2230

This term is sometimes confused with Emergency battery lowering. A vendor may tell you “all our units have battery back-up” but they may be referring to the ability to lower only via an emergency battery system (see above). Battery backup or DC operation means that there is a battery system in place that  allows the elevator to function when the power is out. A true battery operated system will allow the user to have  uninterrupted use in the event of a power failure. The device will travel both up and down, and be able to complete 30-40 cycles while the mains power is out. This system can function using a variety of methods, but a unit like the RAM Crystal or Stratus switches between AC and DC power depending on the remaining charge in the batteries. This option gives you true piece of mind if you are reliant on your elevator due to an  accessibility need.

The interlocks on residential elevators and lifts will have a tool that allows you to open the door(from the outside) regardless if the lock is energized or where the car is located. I would, however, caution you to never crawl out of a device that is between floors unless it is absolutely necessary (life or death situation) . Your first  line of defence is to always call your elevator provider as soon as you experience an issue.

 

I would like to close by saying that getting trapped in your home elevator or lift is extremely rare. In my 18 years of experience and hundreds of elevator installations,  I can count only a handful of entrapments that required a technician to rescue an individual.

 

For more information on residential or commercial devices contact us anytime and we will be happy to answer your questions

 

 

Outdoor Porch Lifts for Private and Public Applications

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Commercial Accessibility Home Accessibility

The number one question we get when discussing an exterior lift is “how well does it work in the winter?”.  Although we have been fortunate in Alberta so far this year , we know all too well that freezing temperatures are never too far off the horizon.  So the question regarding cold weather operation is very valid.

20160203_160710

 

Our preferred lift for exterior installations is the RAM Trus-T-Lift™.  We recommend this wheelchair lift for both residential and commercial applications for the following reasons:

Drive Mechanism

The TrusT utilizes a reliable ACME screw drive. Unlike hydraulic drives, there is no hydraulic fluid to thicken when the temperature gets cold.

Finish

Some outdoor porch lifts are simply painted, but  all Trus-T-Lift™s are finished with a durable powder coating that ensures the finish will stand up to the elements

Zero Load Start

This is a feature that is unique to the Trus-T-Lift™ that allows the motor to run prior to picking up the user. This feature minimizes the strain on the device giving the motor a chance to “warm up” and therefore it doesn’t experience the stress of start- up while under load.  The result is fewer problems with breakers or fuses blowing under extreme conditions.

 

Simplicity

Keeping things simple has allowed this wheelchair lift to be a reliable accessibility solution when the temperatures drop. There are no hoses, valves, PC boards, pumps, or complex reslifts_5controllers associated with this drive .

Made in Alberta

Beyond any pride you may experience from buying local, it’s good to know that your outdoor lift is made for people, by people who live in the same environment as you. The Trus-T-Lift™ has been manufactured for close to 30 years in Edmonton, where they know a thing or two about winter conditions.

 

If you have more questions regarding exterior porch lifts contact us or click here for more information

 

 

14Sep

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts – Made in Alberta Solutions

by Andrew @ Uppercut

As a proud Albertan company, Uppercut Elevators and Lifts believe in supporting our local economy, so it makes sense to buy local whenever possible. For this reason, all  the  elevators and vertical platform lifts we purchase  are manufactured here in Alberta (Edmonton).

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts

We also believe in the importance of  local ownership. Owners that are present and active within the business, in my opinion, are able to better understand the unique needs of their clients. My own experience spans 17 years, many of which I have been a managing owner. In this time I have learned the value of getting to know my clients and gained the perspective to provide them with the best possible solution.

If you make the claim that you are local, you need to back it up with infrastructure and staff that actually live in the communities they work. We are not proponents of “parachuting” in staff which is reflected by the fact we have offices in both Calgary and Edmonton. These offices are fully staffed with skilled employees and are prepared to serve you in a timely fashion.

This commitment to being truly local is represented in our mission statement:

Our Mission

To provide a local solution using superior products and services for all your residential elevator and commercial accessibility lift needs. We adhere to the values of accountability, flexibility, and attention to detail to ensure the best possible consumer experience.  

You can find our elevators and lifts installed throughout the province including major centers such as Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton.

For more information on a local solution to your residential elevator or commercial accessibility lifts needs please click here.

You can also reach us via the phone:

Calgary Office 403.519.3186

Edmonton Office 587.597.9959

11Sep

Free Tickets to the Calgary Home + Design Show

by Andrew @ Uppercut

The Calgary Home and Design Show is just around the corner, and we would love to see you there!

The show runs from September 17th – 20th at the BMO Center. Show hours are:

Thursday – 4pm-9pm20150227_141223

Friday – noon – 9pm

Saturday – 10am – 9pm

Sunday 10am – 6pm

We have 4 sets of tickets to give away to the first 4 people to email Andrew – Simple as that!

Send Andrew an e-mail and the tickets are yours.

We are located in booth #324 so stop by and say hello.

16Jul

Custom Glass Elevators

by Andrew @ Uppercut

We recently completed a custom glass elevators project that started out with many unique challenges . We were asked to install a glass elevator within a spiral staircase. The device could not utilize a pit as there was in-floor heating, nor did they want to give up space for a machine room. These requirements alone can create  issues due to space and functionality, but when paired with the request of a glass car and hoistway,  the challenge was multiplied.

Door open in glass elevator

Door open in glass elevator

 

 

My first call was to RAM Manufacturing where their engineering team had to determine if we could even fit the device in such a small space. After a bit of deliberation, the design included a pie shaped platform utilizing a traction counterweight drive mechanism. This elevator featured a machine room-less drive and had a low profile car floor so we did not need a pit. In order to preserve space, we incorporated an off-board controller that was located in a room beside the elevator enclosure. These features made it possible for us to maximize the elevator car, and create a functional elevator that can accommodate 2 people with an 800lb capacity.

 

Now that we knew that we could physically fit the device in the stairway core, we need to address the  request of having as much glass in the elevator as possible. We did this at the client’s request in order to maintain an “open view” through the stairway core.

The car was designed to have wood panelling to match  home décor on the controller wall, with curved glass surrounding the rest of the car area. The doors were made entirely of glass  with a stainless steel trim. To these doors, we incorporated our interlocks for safety. The contractor then fabricated  glass panels held together with stainless steel “clips”. These panels served as the elevator hoistway or shaft.

The end result was an unobstructed view where you could look straight through the elevator on the upper floors. We maintained the look of the home without taking up any valuable square footage and avoided a costly addition. All in all, we are very pleased with this project and look forward to many more custom elevators in the future.

 

glass elevator hoistway walls custom glass elevator glass elevator between floors glass elevator rail wall for glass elevator glass elevator with door open Exterior glass elevator view controller and tower of power glass elevator car floor

For more information on custom elevators please contact Uppercut Elevators and Lifts

23Jun

Advantages of (Machine Room-less) MRL Elevators

by Andrew @ Uppercut

This article is not referring to passenger elevators and is intended to discuss the advantages of MRL Elevators in a residential or commercial accessibility lift setting. A machine room-less elevator or an MRL Elevator is a device that typically houses the drive mechanism at the top of the hoistway. By doing this the need for a machine room is eliminated, as the entire device is contained within the elevator footprint.MRL elevator

Units that require a machine room( like most hydraulic drives) will also require the electrical and hydraulic hoses to run through a wall from the machine room to the elevator hoistway. In cases where the machine room is not adjacent to the elevator, a remote machine room will be required.  This can be costly and create logistical problems with the running of hydraulic hose through the floor, ceiling or in the walls. It also poses several maintenance concerns; What if a hose ran through a ceiling for instance and it starts to leak? Will it be possible to do a scheduled hose replacement? What type of ongoing costs should you expect in this application? This is a definite advantage of an MRL, having the entire elevator in one contained space.

The second advantage is quite simple; with an MRL elevator, you do not have to allocate the additional space to house the drive mechanism. Depending on the drive system and whether the installation is residential or commercial (B-355),  a machine room could require anywhere from 12  to 20 square feet.  This is space that could be used for storage, a larger elevator car, or a revenue opportunity (like a couple of extra tables in a restaurant).

Finally look at all the costs associated with constructing that machine room. If you think about it,  its equivalent to the cost of half the elevator hoistway  (2 stop). On top of the basic room construction, you will need to provide lighting, possible drains, sump pumps or oil separators, additional sprinkler/smoke detectors, and an additional door (fire rated in a public application).  These costs can add up quickly, and should be considered when calculating the overall cost of the elevator.

To recap MRL Elevator units will:

  • Save you money when it comes to maintenance
  • Require less space
  • Reduce the initial cost of construction

For more information on Commercial MRL Elevators click here For more information on Residential MRL Elevators click here

26May

Choosing a drive mechanism for your elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut

While many of our clients seem to spend a lot of time selecting elevator car finishes and aesthetic options , very little time appears to be allocated to discussing the drive mechanism. I can’t really blame them; after all talking about what moves that fancy box you just designed can seem  quite boring.  We however, feel it is important for our clients to get as much information as possible, especially when it concerns such an important aspect like the drive of your elevator.

In this blog I will be discussing the strengths and weakness of the following drive mechanisms.

  • Hydraulic
  • Traction Counter Weight

Hydraulic

This system utilizes a pump motor and oil reservoir, to force hydraulic fluid through a hose to a cylinder. The pump motor and reservoir are usually located in a separate machine room. If you areHydraulic Drive unable to provide a  borehole at the bottom of the pit you can use a roped hydraulic system.

Strengths

  1. Price point for the equipment will be in the mid-range when comparing other drives
  2. Machine room is easily accessible for servicing
  3. Manual lowering is inside the machine room
  4. Smooth ride and landing function providing the valve settings are adjusted correctly
  5. Usually, incorporates battery lowering in  the standard product offering
  6. Many manufacturers to choose from

 

Weaknesses

  1. A machine room will be required which equates to extra construction costs
  2. Hydraulic fluid temperature can affect performance
  3. Typically a pit of 8″ – 14″ is required
  4. Some jurisdictions may require a pit drain and an oil separator to ensure leaking fluid can’t enter the water table
  5. Power consumption will be 2-3 times higher than a traction counterweight system – Therefore more ongoing costs
  6. Maintenance costs on hydraulic units will be 2- 4 times  higher (over a 10 year period) due to the potential of leaks and issues with valves , gaskets, and the pump.
  7. Variable usage patterns can accelerate fluid degeneration
  8. If hydraulic fluid leaks there is the potential for the smell to permeate throughout the building
  9. Levelling and re-adjusting (anti-creep) issues

Traction Counter Weight

A traction counterweight drive operates the elevator by having  the mass of a series of  weights counter the elevator car and its occupants. If the user selects a command the elevator motor powers a cable (through a sheave) past the balance point and the device travels at a regulate rate in that direction.

   Strengths  

  1. Lower power consumption than hydraulic or winding drum systemsHome elevator
  2. Minimal  maintenance due to simple design with lower repair costs
  3. No machine room required
  4. Minimal 3″ pit required (or no pit at all with a small threshold ramp)
  5. No worry of hydraulic leaks or smells over the life of the elevator
  6. Variable speed drive for soft stop and start
  7. Low standby power
  8. Minimal issues with levelling even with variable capacities

Weaknesses

  1. Typically the equipment cost will be 10% – 15% higher than Hydraulic units (overall cost may be less when you consider construction and maintenance)
  2. Access to the motor is at the top of the hoistway (for the service technician)
  3. Manual lowering crank is accessed from the top landing
  4. Auto car lowering (similar to battery back-up) can be added for an additional cost
  5. Not a lot of manufacturers to choose from in the Alberta marketplace

A PDF summary of this document can be found here ——> Hydraulic vs Traction

15Apr

What’s the difference between a residential elevator and a residential vertical platform lift

by Andrew @ Uppercut

The short answer is vertical platform lifts are typically installed due to an immediate accessibility requirement, while elevators are usually incorporated for luxury or ageing in place purposes. Of course, there are always exceptions, so it is important to understand the limitations  and features of each device.

Trus-T-Lift™ enclosed – Vertical platform lift

Trus-T-Lift™ enclosed – Vertical platform lift

Code

While residential elevators and lifts are not inspected in Alberta, there are governing codes that exist. Elevators fall under the B-44 code while accessibility lifts are built to meet the B-613 code. Ultimately it is these codes that provide the distinction between the products.

Constant pressure or automatic operation

Elevators utilize automatic operation, while a lift will require that you hold the button for the device to function. Holding the button or constant pressure operation limits your risk for pinching or shearing hazards. I go into more detail below.

Elevator car or lift platform

An elevator will always have an enclosed car usually complete with a ceiling. Your entrances will have either a light curtain, accordion gate or a sliding elevator door. This is due to the above mentioned automatic operation. A lift, on the other hand, will have an “open platform” so the hoistway around you is exposed, thus the requirement for constant pressure operation.

 

 

Speed 

Lifts will have an operating speed of 8ft/min – 18ft/min. An elevator usually functions between 20ft/min – 40ft/min.

Capacity

Crystal – Residential Elevator

Crystal – Residential Elevator

Capacity usually isn’t a factor as platform sizes are limited, but lifts will start at 550lbs (most are 750lbs) and elevators will range from 800lbs – 1400lbs.

Flexibility and features

While I have installed  some pretty fancy lifts in my time, most of the  upgrades people look for are usually only offered with an elevator purchase. These can include, automatic homing, hands-free phone systems, and custom interior finishes. We can usually make an elevator fit into the desired space while a lift is more of a “cookie cutter” design.

Cost

For the purpose of comparison let’s use a 2 stop with 10′ of travel, and entrances on the same side. A lift will cost you approximately $13,000.00 and an elevator will land around the $17,000.00 mark.

This obviously is general information and is based on specific product offerings, but should give you the tools to differentiate between an elevator and a lift.

Drawings and the corresponding site preparation for these devices can be found here

More information on residential elevators can be found here

More information on residential lifts can be found here