If you have a multi-level house with stairs, loss of physical mobility can affect your access to a large portion of the house. A stair lift is a great modification that gives you the freedom to move around your home as easily as you always have. It’s a solution that helps you age comfortably at home for as long as possible.
If you have a straight staircase of about 12-14 steps with no landings or curves, you can easily install a stair lift that won’t cost the earth. A straight stair lift doesn’t need much customization, and most reputable manufacturers can have it fitted in a day or two.
Here we look at the benefits of stair lifts, and the cost of having a straight stair lift installed at home.
Benefits of Stair Lifts
A stair lift allows you to move up and down the staircase in your home, without risking a fall. The chair of the lift should be at a comfortable height for you to move onto.
The seats have a safety belt to ensure you’re well balanced and secure during the movement.
Many stair lifts have essential sensors that stop the lift from moving if the seat, footrest, or armrests are not in the safe position.
They also have braking systems that stop the lift if there is an obstruction on your stairs – such as your pets!
Loss of mobility can mean you are no longer able to move around a multi-storey house with ease. No-one wants to have to relocate from their beloved home and neighbourhood, into a single-storey house or care facility. With a stair lift, you can stay right where you are, and be able to live as independently as you always have.
A professional installer will check the angle and length of your staircase, and fit a rail on the side of the staircase that you prefer. The seat of the lift can be customized to suit the needs of the user.
Many people think that stair lifts are fitted to the wall of your stairwell. They actually run on rails fitted to the stair treads. The installation won’t damage or affect your home interior in any major way.
Straight Stair Lift Features
Most lifts installed in private homes are straight indoor stair lifts. They are used on any indoor staircase without curves, turns, or landings.
Length and Width
Stair lifts can be fitted to nearly any staircase length. Straight stair lift rails don’t need much customization, but installers might have to add to or trim the rail, to fit your staircase.
Various stair lift models come in different widths to suit the user. Most stair lifts need 27-29″ of space, which fits most modern staircases. If you have a particularly narrow staircase, you should think about installing a standing or perch stair lift.
Larger people can face especially difficult problems getting up and down the stairs. A significant number of overweight people suffer from vertigo, on top of joint and muscle stress, which can make stairs very risky.
Good news for heavier users is that straight stair lifts are able to accommodate a higher weight capacity than other types of stair lifts. Some models of straight lift can take up to 400lbs of weight. These models also feature wider seats and longer seatbelts.
Stair lifts are generally either AC or DC powered. If you live in an area with a stable power source, an AC lift will be fine.
If you have frequent power outages, a DC powered stair lift is a better option, although it’s more expensive.
A rechargeable battery acts as a backup, so you will still get safety up and down the stairs in case of a power outage.
Other lifts are fully battery-powered, but need to be recharged.
A fully-charged lift will run for several hours to several days, depending on how fully the battery is charged.
Stair lift controls
Stair lifts are controlled by a button or switch which is situated in the lift seat’s armrest. If you are concerned about being able to hold down a button for as long as it takes to ascend or descend the stairs, you can opt for a switch or toggle.
This switch allows you to move the lift to a different floor of the house and out of the way, if you need to. It’s usually mounted at the top and the bottom of the stairs, so you can bring the lift to you when you want to use it.
Even straight stair lifts can have rail overruns. This is a part of the rail that curves around the bottom of the staircase, so that the lift can stand out of the way of passers-by. This kind of rail will increase the price of your straight stair lift, so check with the manufacturer before you commit.
Stair lift seats often have the ability to swivel, to help users to get in and out of the stair lift easily. Some seats even have a powered swivel mechanism, so you don’t have to move the seat manually.
Straight Stair Lift Cost
Basic straight stair lift models cost less than any other type of lift. However, the price will increase depending on factors like weight capacity, motorized functions, and seat fabric and style.
Here is a brief price comparison of the various types of stair lifts, so you can see what to budget for your straight stair lift.
Straight indoor lift
Curved indoor lift
Straight outdoor lift
Curved outdoor lift
$2,000 - $5,000
$3,500 - $6,000
Stair lifts are not currently covered by Medicare, but senior-citizen organizations might be able to give you information about financing options. Veterans can approach the VA for details about securing financing for a stair lift.
Most of us will need help in some form or another, to continue living at home well into our old age. Nobody wants to have to move from a beloved home of many years into a new single-level home or a care facility. For these reasons, having a stair lift installed can be well worth the cost.
If your staircase is straight up-and-down, you’re one of the lucky homeowners who won’t need an extensive custom installation. A basic straight stair lift won’t break the bank and is quick to install.