Homelift Guide

Homelifts are easily retrofitted in existing homes that do not have an elevator shaft or have limited space.
That is the biggest benefit of these usually easy-to-install lifts.

(Be sure to check out our page with all the Homelift manufacturers so you can compare all Homelifts on the market today!)

Homelifts are also referred to as: "through the floor lifts" or "shaftless elevator"

Although they have many benefits, one of them is not needing an enclosure, there are a few points you should be aware of.
Most Homelifts on the market are only capable of going up two floors with a few exceptions.
If access to a third floor or higher is needed the lift must have an enclosure on the mid-level for example for a three-story or be completely enclosed like the Vacuum Elevator or Savaria Vuelift for example. 

Another reason Home Lifts are attractive is that they do not need a separate machine room, all drive systems are at the top of the rail system or cab. They are mostly available with a winding drum, hydraulic, or the unique vacuum drive system from PVE. All have emergency lowering as standard or have battery back-up or even battery-powered like the Staying home Homelift.

Unenclosed lifts like these require a "constant pressure" switch to move the lift up and down. Just like a Vertical Platform Lift operates with a constant pressure switch the Homelift can be stopped at any time if there is an emergency or obstruction, however most people are not aware of this and think the lift will go automatically to the selected floor just like a traditional elevator so check beforehand with your dealer or Home lift manufacturer.

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*Homelift manufacturers such as Wessex Lifts, Stiltz Lifts might offer a half door for convenience and an "open design", they do have safety curtains as they are sometimes called, that will stop the Homelift if an arm or body part/object is outside of the cab area. They might not be allowed by code in certain states, so be sure to check before purchasing. Your local Homelift dealer should be aware and advise on this.

Due to people wanting to stay as long as possible in their homes and the growing aging population these Home lifts are experiencing rapid growth and popularity due to the ease of installation and small space they take up.
Construction is still necessary by making an aperture into the ceiling, for this make sure an experienced contractor will be working on this, or your local Homelift dealer can usually arrange everything through them or have experienced carpenters on staff.
In more complex applications it might be advisable to hire a structural engineer when making alterations to ceiling joist or floor joists. Your Home Lift dealer should be familiar with the process.

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Stiltz Homelifts is one of the few manufacturers that can accommodate a standard wheelchair. Although limited a few Homelift manufacturers are able to have accommodations for a standard wheelchair, be sure to check the sizes of the cab and make sure it will fit if this is your need. 


*Home Lifts have a limited weight capacity compared to elevators. this is different per manufacturer but it is usually around 500 to 550lbs maximum. If you are planning on using a power wheelchair this might become an important factor since the weights of power wheelchair and user together might exceed the capacity of some Homelifts.

Check the ease of entering and exiting the Homelift on the ground floor and make sure it does not need an additional ramp and the floor is low enough for easy entry and exit.

Home Lifts are primarily for residential use, they can sometimes increase the resale value of your home, however this largely depends on the aesthetics and placement of the homelift and whether it is in a good location and fits / blends well with the rest of the home. With more people looking for homes that will be accessible for them or in the future it can be a good investment and make life much easier on a daily basis.

 

Construction for Homelifts is usually straightforward with making an access opening into the ceiling to the second floor. You will need a power supply sometimes in a different location or at the very top level, which can be either 110V or 240V.

Most Homelift are winding drum and only need an electric outlet, they also feature emergency lowering or battery back up.

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Different Homelift manufacturers will either need an existing wall to support the rail assembly and few others are free-standing rail.

Overall the costs are much lower than a traditional elevator. Construction cost can of course vary greatly depending on the location of the lift. It can go from a minimum of maybe 2500 dollars to much more depending on whether the joists span a long distance or hardwood flooring that needs to be cut/removed and re-used etc. Some case engineering drawings are needed for major alterations which will drive the cost up as well. In general costs for Homelifts are still much low than a traditional elevator when retro-fitting in the home.
 

Homelift cost varies greatly, from a low of around 14K to a high of 40K and up. 
On the more expensive side would be the Pneumatic Elevator / PVE, which uses a unique vacuum drive system and is also completely enclosed and has a very modern look, and can also be free-standing. This is one of the few that can go up multiple stories. 

Funding for Homelifts might be possible, there are many local agencies that might be contacted and check to see if there is a way to get assistance or doing a search on the web. Especially if a wheelchair is needed and you would depend on the Homelift to access your home, which might be considered "medically necessary", you would need proof from a doctor most likely.

It might be worth checking with your accountant for tax deductions for the costs of making a home accessible.
You can easily search online "deducting home improvements for medical care" there is much more that can be deducted in some cases such as remodeling bathrooms to make them accessible, ramps and widening doorways etc. (*We do not give any legal advice here so please check with your accountant or other resources online).

Deducting Medical Home Improvements