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What to Ask Your Home Elevator Installer Before You Buy

panoramic vacuum elevator installed in a circular stairwell in an upper kirby residence in houston texas

Having a residential elevator installed in your home is a process in which there are lots of considerations to take into account. We encourage you to ask us and other home elevator installers these questions so that you are informed about the entire process and about how your final choice will work for you and your home.

Important Questions To Ask Your Home Elevator Installer

1) What type of home elevator is best for my needs?

You have options, each with their advantages and disadvantages. We install machine room-less and roped hydraulic and traction drive elevators which are traditional types of elevators. We also install pneumatic vacuum elevators which although seem new, have been in use in homes for decades. Here are some resources you can review prior to meeting with us or your other home elevator companies you are talking with and review after your consultation to help you keep the facts and benefits of each elevator type clear in your mind:

Your home elevator consultant should make an in-home visit to determine how your home’s existing architecture will best support the installation of your elevator and ask lots of questions to help determine your mobility needs, now and in the future. Learn more about how our in-home elevator consultations work.


2) What is included in the elevator installation estimate?

Often one home elevator installer’s low bid is due to not including something in your other quotes. Carefully review each proposal you receive to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. Look for design, pre-construction costs, installation costs, options and add-ons, and permit and inspection support.

3) What safety features are included in the elevator and are there any add-on options I should consider?

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are two standard-setting bodies that collaborate to create regulations for all types of products including elevators. The standards that apply to elevators is ASME A17.1-2019: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (CSA B44-2019 if you are in Canada). The most recent update to the National Safety Code for Elevators came in 2020.

By building code, elevators are required to address safety in the following areas:

  • Backup battery power – In case of a power outage while the elevator is in operation, your unit should have backup power and automatically transfer to the backup system within 60 seconds of electrical failure.
accordion gates over elevator shaft entrances protect people, pets, and objects from entering the shaft
  • Manual lowering devices – Though backup power and PVE features such as the valve releasing air slowly as gravity pulls it down without the pump need to elevate the cab are all built-in safety features of our elevators, because there is a possibility of the elevator becoming stuck between floors during an electrical outage, home elevators should have a manual lowering system.
  • Phone – All elevators are required to have a telephone so occupants can call for assistance in case of emergency.
  • Alarm – An alarm should be present inside the cab that can be activated and heard outside of the hoistway to alert others that someone in the elevator requires assistance.
  • Emergency lighting system – In the event of a power outage, lights inside the cab should come on with use of a battery backup system that also keeps a fan running.
  • Doors – Home elevators have interlocking doors that will only permit them to open at a certain point, unless forced open.
  • Protecting from entry into the hoistway – doors, gates, or other devices must be present to prevent people, pets, or objects from entering into the hoistway
  • HVAC requirements – Most people don’t think about HVAC being a part of their elevator’s safety features, but it is important to maintain temperature and humidity surrounding the elevator machine and control systems within the manufacturer’s specified ranges. Most controls contain microprocessors so keeping them cool is key to ensuring efficient and long-lasting performance.
  • Fire safety – Various types of hoistway construction for traditional elevators fit the structure of your home and fire safety needs. If proposals show differing types of shaft construction, ask questions as to why one type of construction was recommended over the other.

4) Who will install the unit and provide maintenance after the fact?

Home Elevator of Houston has its own background-checked and bonded teams to ensure your installation goes as specified in the design. Carefully consider any proposals that sub-contract the installation. We also provide elevator maintenance and repair services for all the brands we sell.
Go over any contract in detail before signing as they often contain clauses that are multi-year deals with built-in automatic increases in maintenance agreements.


5) What is the estimated annual cost of maintaining the home elevator?

These costs vary greatly with the type of elevator and its frequency of usage. ???But according to Home Advisor, the national average for elevator maintenance is about $420, with a typical range of $175 to $700. Vacuum elevators have little to no regular maintenance, so those costs are much lower for PVEs.

6) Who is my point of contact?

For both the elevator installation project and elevator maintenance, you want to have the contact information and, ideally, only one point of contact for the project and for later issues.

We look forward to an invitation to your home to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote as well as answer all your questions about how a home elevator will fit in your home and serve your mobility needs today and in the future. Call (713) 360 7353.

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