Posts Tagged "vertical lifts for homes"

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

 

 

9Dec

Greener Elevators and Lifts can save you money

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Commercial Accessibility Home Accessibility Home Elevators News and Such

When I think of making an environmentally sound decision, especially if it pertains to green elevators or a lift purchase, I can point out 3 contributing factors .

 

                          alberta               #1 Where is the device  manufactured?

This seems pretty obvious but if you can purchase a locally manufactured elevator or lift, the transportation impact can be minimized. Buying local not only reduces emissions it saves you money on shipping costs associated with replacement parts.

 

 

#2 What impact could the drive mechanism have on the environment?

Devices that utilize large hydraulic pumps and reservoirs may need to have precautionary measures were taken, such as oil separators in the event of a hydraulic oil leak. This is to ensure that the oil cannot seep into the ground or water table. Some jurisdictions in the past have asked that food grade oil is used in order to alleviate this concern. Elevators and lifts that utilize a Traction Home elevatorCounter Weight or Screw Drive don’t actually pose this risk, as no hydraulic fluid is used. These greener solutions only require a 2″-3″  pit (or no pit at all) so there is less concern with disturbing ground water. You may even be able to save some money on your site preparation as hydraulic elevators can require anywhere from a 6″ to 60″ pit.

#3 What are the ongoing energy costs?

This cost is two fold; the energy consumed as it relates to the environment and the monetary cost directly to you. Do your research on how much energy your elevator or lift will require operating. Devices with a mechanical advantage such as a traction counterweight drive will be up to 50% more energy efficient that a comparative hydraulic unit. Hydraulic elevators have to pump fluid into a cylinder which is often located in a separate machine room.

It doesn’t matter if  your goal is to consciously protect the environment or simply save some money (energy costs, site preparation , and maintenance), it’s apparent that the two can go hand in hand.

 

For more information Elevators and Lifts please click here or contact us for a free consultation.

 

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

31Mar

Residential Elevators – What do they cost?

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Home Elevators

This is by far the number one question we get asked at Uppercut Elevators and Lifts. How much for an elevator? There is no straight forward answer, as many variables come into play. In this blog post however,  I will attempt to give you the tools to determine a reasonable estimate for your elevator  including the installation . Please note that these prices are product specific, and are based on our current pricing structure. This article is only attempting to give you a reasonable “ballpark” figure for your home elevator. Obviously, prices will vary depending on your supplier.

Elevator in home

Elevator in home

Cost Variables

For the purpose of simplicity we will base the elevator specification on the following:

2 stops ( we will use basement and main floors as an example)

Automatic operation (otherwise it is an accessibility lift)

Entrances on the same side

Standard finishes

11 feet of travel (from top of basement floor to top of the main floor)

Light screen protecting the entrance side

Machine-room-less application

Small ramp or 2″ pit requirement

20 feet/ minute speed

800lb Capacity

40″ X 54″ car size

Installation of your elevator in Calgary

 

I thought it necessary to mention the pit depth and the lack of a machine room as these are contractual requirements  that affect the overall cost. We will address these variables later on.

More detailed information on this product offering can be found here

Elevator Cost

It would be reasonable to expect the cost of the above-mentioned device to sell for around $17,500.00. Adding a third stop, say to a mid landing garage at grade would involve the additions of a second light screen, another interlock and call station. You could expect this to add about  $1,000.00 to your overall cost. A smaller car will save you money while a larger one can add $400.00 – $500.00. If you reduce the  travel of your elevator (less than 9 feet) the device could cost up to a $1000.00 less ,while the opposite may occur if your home elevator needs to travel up to 14 feet. Devices travelling more than 14 feet usually utilize a different drive mechanism, which involves a per foot charge and a different product offering such as the RAM Crystal.

Contractual Costs or Site Preparation

Stratus – Residential Elevator

Stratus – Residential Elevator

Knowing the cost of your elevator only gives you half the information. The work required prior to a factory trained technician installing your device is the other cost you will have to account for. The following is a brief summary of contractual work that may have to be done.

  • Pit or ramp – we typically  ask for a 2-3 inch pit but some models (usually hydraulic) require up to a 14″ recess in the floor. In some jurisdictions, you may need a pit drain and/or a sump pump, as well as a hydraulic oil separator. If a pit is not possible you will need a small ramp granting access up to the elevator car floor.
  • Electrical – this varies but most devices require both 120 VAC and 220 VAC brought to the appropriate disconnect.
  • Machine room – Hydraulic units and some cable drives typically  require a machine room. This is not only a cost you will have to absorb, it’s also space you will have to part with. I personally prefer machine room-less elevators for this reason.
  • Hoist-way Structure – These are the walls around your elevator which include the rail wall blocking. They are usually built using wood construction (2×4 or 2×6). Standard household doors (solid core) will also need to be provided.

For a complete list of the contractual requirements please click below.

Drawings and contractual requirements for this device can be found here

 

If you require any additional information on home elevators or  lifts please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

 

 

9Mar

Planning for a Residential Elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut
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

Elevator in home Elevator car 1 e1424535547307 Home elevators residential lifts commercial lift

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.