Posts Tagged "home lift"

29Apr

Uppercut partners with Hearts & Hammers to create an accessible home

by UppercutAndrew
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

Accessibility Lifts

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 UppercutAndrew
Uncategorized

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 UppercutAndrew
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

 

 

3Nov

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts – A local company serving the entire province of Alberta

by UppercutAndrew

What makes a company local? It is my belief that to be truly local your company needs to encompass the following principles:

LOCAL OWNERSHIPAlberta-flag

It’s not good enough to have a local manager or even a local owner that has other interests and doesn’t make the time to come into the office every day. Local owners answer the phone, deal with client concerns directly, and treat their staff fairly. After all, the owner sets the standard as to how the business operates. We believe in being accountable, fair and ethical. At Uppercut Elevators and Lifts, ownership is present every day  to make sure this standard is met.

OFFICES IN BOTH CALGARY AND EDMONTON

Believe is or not there are some companies that would mislead you into believing they are local because they have a PO box and a sales person who is willing to travel to your city on occasion. We believe in hiring the best local individuals who are able to participate and give back to the communities where they work and live. We believe it is imperative that local staff  are available to meet with you on your schedule not “when they are in town next”. We are proud to have offices in both Calgary and Edmonton, that are staffed with local employees.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

Our Elevators and Vertical Platform Lifts are manufactured in Alberta by Albertans. In these tough economic times, it only makes sense to support the business and tax base where we live.

PROUD TO BE LOCAL

We are pleased to be able to service the entire province of Alberta with our  superior elevator and lifting product line. We know we can accommodate  the needs of our clients better if we hire local representatives, and ownership is present to steer the ship in the right direction. We are proud to be a truly local company operating in Alberta.

 

For more information on our products click here

To find a local representative click here

You can find our products installed in Cold Lake, Edmonton, Drumheller, Red Deer, Strathmore, Calgary, Okotoks, High River, Lethbridge, Vulcan, Brooks, Olds, Medicine Hat, and all across the great province of  Alberta

 

28Aug

Custom Curved Stair Lifts

by UppercutAndrew

custom curved stair liftsMany people are unaware that a stair-lift can accommodate stairs which bend or turn. While straight run units are more common, as home designs change, custom curved stair lifts are raising in popularity. There are a variety of quality chair lifts on the market. The following post will outline some of the things to consider when choosing a stair-lift provider.

 

Custom built VS off the shelf

Our preference is to use a manufacturer that builds their stair lift exactly for your stairway. This ensures the tightest possible fit to minimize any obstruction on the stairs. This process requires a trained individual to measure your stairs using a special camera and a series of tiles. These pictures are uploaded into a program, and then site specific drawings are created. Once the drawing is approved the lift can go into production. This entire process usually take 4-8 weeks.

 

Alternatively some manufactures offer standard “off the shelf ” bends. It is our experience that when a track is not built specifically for your stairway you run the risk of wider turns or uneven spacing where the track winds around  landings. It’s like if you went to the shoe store and needed a size 9 shoe but all the clerk could offer you was a size 8 or a 10. While the size 10 may work, it’s not the best possible fit. An advantage of “off the shelf” units is that they can typically be provided in under 4 weeks.

Both Custom and off the shelf curved stairlifts sell for approximately the same price.

Experience

It is important to know how long the company you choose to deal with has been selling and installing stair lifts. I personally have close to 18 years of experience specifically dedicated to accessibility lifts. Our technical support team has installed a multitude of curved and straight run lifts over the years. With all this experience we can ensure your lift is quoted to meet your needs, is measured correctly, and installed in a professional manner.

Detailed Quotations

Make sure you examine your quotation closely. Does it detail the path of your lift? Did the sales person provide a drawing or a sketch? If you accept a quotation from a vendor that is not detailed , you run the risk of having the device not function as you may of thought. For instance was the stair-lift meant to bend 180 degrees at the bottom landing to clear a hallway? Would you benefit from having the device over-run at the top landing and possibly park 90 degrees around a corner? It’s very important to have all the bends detailed to ensure you are making an “apple to apples” comparison.

For more information on stair lifts contact us or click here

For information on straight run stair lifts click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19Jun

Comparing Porch Lift Features

by UppercutAndrew

When choosing a porch lift supplier it is important to do a detailed  comparison to ensure that the specifications of each product and company match.

Areas where discrepancies can occur include:

  • Standard platform size – You should note that not all manufactures make a standard platform the will accommodate a larger wheelchair or scooter. This is sometimes a costly upgrade so it needs to be discussed up front.

 

  •  Finish – Some lifts are painted while others come with a durable powder coated finish. Remember to ask about the costs associated with powder coating your lift.

 

  • Capacity – 750lbs seems to be the industry standard but there are still some 550lb capacity lifts on the market

 

  • Cold weather operation – Some porch lifts require the addition of an outdoor package. If your lift is exposed to the elements make sure it has this provision or a feature like a “Zero load start”  to ensure your lift operates in cold temperatures

 

  • Safety features – Ask about the safety record of the lift. Does it have a fall arrest system, platform kick plate, and easy to access manual lowering device?

 

  • Where you buy – This is hard to quantify at the time of purchase, but it must be considered when making your decision. An indication of the type of company you are dealing with may be given by the sales person. Did they return your call promptly? Did they offer to come out and meet with you, or did they just send a quote? Were they prepared with brochures, and was the quote they provided comprehensive? How many people do they employ, and do they have the resources to service your porch lift if needed?

For more information on porch lifts, including funding and site preparation requirements please click here

TrustT Porch Lift Features

26May

Choosing a drive mechanism for your elevator

by UppercutAndrew

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

11Mar

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

by UppercutAndrew

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

My career into the world of elevators and lifts started out as a technician, primarily installing and repairing residential lifts such as porch lifts. In my 17 years I have I have sold, repaired and maintained a multitude of different devices. I have leaned what products stand the test of time, and which ones fall short. The following is a list of things you should consider before you purchase a porch lift.

                                                                      Drive Mechanism

reslifts_5

 

There are really only two choices in Alberta , ACME  Screw drive or hydraulic. Both mechanisms are safe and incorporate the required safety redundancies, but there is a big difference when it comes to how they function in the cold weather. When hydraulic fluid gets cold it thickens, which can cause the porch lift to operate slower, or not function at all . For this reason (along with an increased costs) I would typically never offer a hydraulic unit in an outdoor application.

Features like a Zero Load Start will lessen the strain on your porch lift during the  initial start up. This offering allows the motor to cycle prior to picking up the load and lessens the chance of blowing  the house breaker. Having a device with a direct drive (no gearbox) will also aid in your lifts functionality during the cold weather.

 

 

Platform Size

Most manufacturers make several platform sizes so it is important that your quote specifies the

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

size that will meet your needs. While a 48″ long platform may meet a portion of the populations requirements, I recommend a platform the is 54″ long. This longer platform will be able to accommodate most wheelchair users and an attendant if necessary. Widths are pretty much standardized in the industry with a typical size being between 34″-36″. If your porch lift needs to be configured to have adjacent access or a 90 degree turn, it is important to have a platform size of 40″ wide x 54″ long. This will ensure that the individual using the device can make the turn with ease.

Solid or Steel Mesh Platforms

If you choose a porch lift with a solid (non-see though) platform you will be required to purchase a device with an under-pan sensor. This sensor is necessary to ensure that you will not crush objects that you can not see under the platform when moving in a downward direction. The good news about under-pan sensors is that they work. The bad news is they can be temperamental  and cause the lift not to run. I remember one of my first service calls; I was dispatched to a lift that had gone up but would not come back down. Upon examination I had discovered that the under-pan had dropped down as it is intended to do, but the plunger switches that monitor the pan were frozen in the engaged position. The lift “thought” there was an obstruction, and therefore would not operate in the downward direction. For this reason I prefer lifts that have steel mesh platforms where the user can see any obstructions below the lift. I find it to be a simpler solution to this safety concern. The mesh also allows the rain and snow to fall through the platform, lessening the chance for ice build up and platform warping.

                                                                                                   Controls

Upper landing gate

Upper landing gate

Due to code restrictions, residential lifts such as porch lifts or vertical platform lifts are required to operate under constant pressure. This means you have to hold the button for the lift to run. For this reason it is recommended that the buttons on the device are both large enough and easy to access. You want a control that does not protrude into the platform area like a joystick, as these are easily bent or broken if a  wheelchair user drives into it. You also need  a controller that is weather resistant will not become stuck. I prefer a “paddle style”  control with soft touch operation.

Site Preparation

This is the work required so that  your residential lifts provider can install your device safely. All porch lifts need some form of foundation for the device to be mounted to. This can be accomplished with a variety of methods but the most common would be concrete sidewalk blocks or a poured concrete pad. Next we need to ensure that there is no risk of a pinching hazard, so we ask that a sheer plate is added the deck side of the lift. Finally we need to minimize the risk of someone falling off the deck area if the lift is in the down position. An upper landing gate will need to  be constructed to meet this safety requirement. Another option would be to have your lift provider include a porch lift gate for an additional cost. For applications where the lift is directly in from of a door (like in a garage) we need to monitor the door with an interlock to ensure that the door will not open if the lift is not at that level.

More information on porch lifts and residential lifts can be found here

A complete list of contractual requirements can be found here —–> Porch Lift Contractor Requirements

A summery of this document can be found here ——>Porch lift features

You may qualify for the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) . Click here to download the application

 

9Mar

Planning for a Residential Elevator

by UppercutAndrew
Home Elevators

Planning for a Residential Elevator

People install a residential elevator in new home construction for many reasons. Some folks implement an elevator into their design for luxury, others out of necessity, but the vast majority of people I see do it so they may age in place. It is very important to do your research and understand your options.  As the saying goes “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. This statement certainly applies to your aging in place elevator. There are several factors you must consider to ensure that your home elevator will meet both your needs today, and in the future.

Elevator in home

Elevator in home

 

The first thing to consider is car or platform size. I have heard numerous times ” we don’t need the elevator to fit a wheelchair” , my answer is always “we hope for the best but plan for the worst” If you are going to the expense of adding an elevator to your home, we need to consider wheelchair accessibility. My experience working with home medical companies tells me that we need a minimum platform size of 34″ x 54″. Many standard platforms are 48″ long, please try to resist going with the smallest platform available.

Home elevator with a gate

Home elevator with a gate

Next we must decide on the aforementioned gates, elevator doors or light screens. As you travel in your home elevator we need to ensure that you cannot come into contact with the hoistway that houses the device. While all mechanisms will accomplish this, they vary in ease of use, aesthetics, and cost. An automatic elevator door is probably the most aesthetically pleasing and is very easy to use (it automatically opens and closes) but it is by far the most costly option. Next in the cost category would be an accordion gate. You won’t break the bank by adding gates to your residential elevator car, but they don’t have a great reputation when it comes to looks or ease of use – especially for wheelchair users. The final and most cost effective option would be a light curtain. This “virtual gate” ensures that if any object comes into contact with the residential elevator hoistway the elevator instantly stops. They operate using a series of light beams that shoot across the entrance way, if the beam is “broken” the elevator ceases to operate until the obstruction is removed and a floor is selected. From a wheelchair users perspective or anyone with limited mobility not having to reach back and close a gate eases the use of your home elevator.

Home elevator with a light curtain

Home elevator with a light curtain

residential lifts

The best way to ensure all these points are considered is to consult a professional. Many elevator companies will offer no cost or obligation consultations. They should be able to address your needs and answer your questions prior to you paying a deposit or making a commitment. Don’t base your elevator design from the back of a brochure, or from a generic drawing. Remember, site specific drawings will ensure that your elevator will meet both your needs today and allow you to age in place.

For more information on a residential elevator call us today.

 

5Mar

Elevator and Residential Lifts Education Day

by UppercutAndrew

Residential Lifts Education Day

Curved stair lift

Curved stair lift

We will be co-hosting an elevator and Residential Lifts education day with Medichair on March 25th. This will be an informative session where we will discuss the features and benefits of Residential Lifts and Residential Elevators. It will be informal and the floor will be open to ask questions.

Uppercut will be speaking about the benefits of Residential Lifts and will be available to discuss all products and services. Uppercut and Medichair offer the largest selection of Lifts and Elevators in Calgary and Edmonton. Be sure to visit our education day session to learn more about the benefits and to check out our great prices.

Our team offers the highest level of customer service in Calgary and Edmonton. We are a call away for any of your questions relating to our products and services. We offer onsite service and demos of our products and our team has decades of experience. Our education day will assist you select the best product for your home.

 

 

Trus-T-Lift™ Unenclosed - Porch Lift

Trus-T-Lift™ Unenclosed – Porch Lift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residential Lift Topics covered will include:

Lunch will be provided from 12:00 – 12:30

The address and a map can be found here.

Everyone is welcome but space is limited so please register with Bonnie as soon as possible.

Bonnie Flick – bonnief@medi-options.com or 403.252.5366

This event will be hosted by Andrew Smith and Melanie Rorstad and a package dealing with product offerings on Residential Lifts and “ball park” pricing will be provided. Come visit us and learn more about our products and services. Our team is always here to help. Please be sure to call ahead to schedule time to visit as space will limited.

We hope to see you there!