20 Most Frequently Asked Stairlift Questions (FAQs) – Choose the Best Stairlift for Your Home

A stair lift is a perfect solution if you are having trouble getting up and down the stairs, but want to remain in your home as you age. At EHLS, stair lifts are our specialty! We have been selling and installing them since 1991 and as a result, have received a number of the same questions from our customers over the years. Asking questions about the product, installation, and service is very important because it will help you better determine whether or not it is the best solution for you or for a relative. Also, it will help us make the best possible recommendation to help you or your family member safely navigate the stairs at home.

To help guide you through the process, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions that we have heard from customers just like you! The answers to these questions will help if you are someone who is just learning about what a stair lift is or if you are set on purchasing one, but still have a few questions that need to be answered before making a final decision.

You can use the question links below to jump to a question that you are most interested in, or you can simply scroll past the links to read the answers to all of the questions.

Here is the list of questions:

  1. What is a Stair Lift?
  2. Can I buy a stair lift if my stairs have curves or turns?
  3. How does a stair lift work?
  4. If it storms and the power goes out, will my lift still work?
  5. What is the stair lift attached to when installed? Will it ruin or damage my walls?
  6. How long does it take for a stair lift to be installed?
  7. Will there be room for family and friends to use the stairs after my lift is installed?
  8. Can I try before I buy?
  9. What are the electrical requirements?
  10. How far does the rail stick out past the bottom stair?
  11. How do you get on and off the chair safely?
  12. If I have a narrow staircase, will the lift still fit?
  13. Can I install a stair lift myself?
  14. Can a stairlift be removed?
  15. How much does a stair lift cost?
  16. Does Medicare cover stair lifts?
  17. Can a stair lift be installed outside? If so, will it be protected?
  18. Are there rental options available?
  19. What is the best stair lift for my relative or friend?
  20. Why Choose EHLS for your Stair Lift?

1. What is a stair lift?

A stair lift is a motorized chair that travels along a track on a straight or curved staircase. It operates on battery power and uses a rack-pinion drive system to provide a safe and easy to get up and down the stairs for those with limited mobility. A stair lift may be commonly referred to as a chair lift, stair chair lift, stairway lift, or stair glide.

Image of a Stair LIft

2. Can I buy a stair lift if my stairs have curves or turns?

Yes, there are specific stairway lift models that are designed to fit staircases that have curves, turns, or intermediate landings. These types of models have rails that are custom designed to fit the exact design of your own staircase.

Curved - Stairlifts- Chicago - Illinois

3. How does a stair lift work? 

A stair lift is a product that is very easy to operate! A person can ride up or down the stairs by holding a button down or pushing a switch that is located on the armrest of the chair. As the user holds down the standard rocker switch or optional toggle switch, the chair lift smoothly travels up or down the stairs.

4. If it storms and the power goes out, will my lift still work?

Yes, because the lifts are all battery operated. The lift will be able to provide you with ample trips up/down the stairs after the power goes out.

5. What is the stair lift attached to when installed? Will it ruin or damage my walls?

A common misconception about stair lifts is that they are attached to the walls. However, when installed they are actually attached to the treads of the stairs, not the wall. (See Below). There are no structural changes are needed for a stair lift to be installed in your home.

Image of a stairlift rail attached to the stairs         Image of a straight rail stair lift attached on the stairs

6. How long does it take for a stair lift to be installed?

On average, it usually takes 3-6hrs for a stair lift to be fully installed and ready to use. The time of installation will depend on if it’s a straight or curved stair lift. After the lift is installed, our technicians will take the time to help you learn how to safely operate the lift.

7. Will there be room for family and friends to use the stairs after my lift is installed?

When not in use, the stairlift’s arms, seat, and footrest can all be folded up, so that anyone can use the steps.

Image of a Bruno Elan Folded-Up

Seat, armrests, and footrest folded at the top landing of a staircase

Image of a Bruno Elite Folded-Up

Seat, armrests. and footrest folded up at the bottom landing of a staircase

8. Can I try before I buy?

Yes, and we encourage that you do! EHLS has a fully operational stairlift showroom located in Arlington Heights, IL that gives Chicago area residents the ability to test ride a lift before deciding to buy one. Many of our customers have found the showroom to be extremely helpful because it allows you to do an in-person comparison of a number of different stair lifts. Pictures and videos are great, but there’s nothing like being able to see and test out the actual product. You will be able to confirm whether or not is the right solution for your particular needs and situation.

Our standard showroom hours are Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm and the 2nd Saturday of each month from 9am-1pm.

9. What are the electrical requirements?

A common household 110-volt outlet is all that is needed.

10. How far does the rail stick out past the bottom stair?

The rail of a straight stair lift sticks out approximately 16 inches and a curved rail will stick out approximately 20 inches.

This is because the track has to go all the way to the floor for a safe and easy exit. If this is an issue for your home, a manual or power folding track can be added. (See Video Below)

11. How do you get on and off the chair safely?

A safe entry and exit are at the top of our priorities for every customer. The seat at the top will swivel onto the landing, or an optional rail overrun can be used to get on and off safely. At the bottom landing, the chair is always on the floor-level for a safe exit and entry.

12. If I have a narrow staircase, will the lift still fit?

Yes, in almost all cases the lift will fit. Our experts can help you determine if there is an issue at all with the width of the staircase.

Image of woman using the swivel seat at the top landing of a staircase

Power Swivel being used at top landing of staircase

Stair Lift - Hoffman Estates, IL

Rail Overrun at top landing of the staircase

13. Can I install a stair lift myself?

Technically, you can install a lift yourself, but we highly suggest you have a professionally trained and certified technician install your lift. Our technicians install hundreds of lifts a year to ensure they are safe, secure, and don’t void warranty. All EHLS technicians are factory trained and can install a lift in your house in a few hours.

Image of an EHLS Tech installing a stair lift in Barrington, IL

An EHLS technician installing a stair lift at a home in Barrington, IL

14. Can a stair lift be removed?

Yes, stair lifts can be uninstalled within a couple of hours if they are no longer needed.

15. How much does a stair lift cost?

The cost of a stair lift depends on if it is a straight or curved rail system and if there are options needed. Please visit our cost of a stair lift page to learn more about what goes into the cost. For an exact quote, please call us @847-215-9490.

16. Does Medicare cover stair lifts?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of a stair lift because they do not consider it to be durable medical equipment. This may change in the future, but for now, this is how Medicare stands on the issue.

17. Can a stair lift be installed outside? If so, will it be protected?

Yes, there are models that can be built on a straight or curved outdoor staircase. Outdoor stair lift models are just like indoor models. The only difference is that the outdoor models are built to withstand the outdoor elements. There is also a cover that comes with the lift to protect it when it is not in use.

Round Lake Park Outdoor Stair Lift - EHLS                     Outdoor Stair Lift - EHLS                     Outdoor Stair Lift

18. Are there rental options available?

Yes, EHLS does offer rental stair lift options for Chicagoland residents. A rental is the best option when you know that the person who is need of the lift will only need it 9 months or less. For example, if your mom/dad just had knee surgery and the doctor advises that they do not use the stairs for a few months, then a rental would be perfect!

To learn more about how our stair lift rental program works please feel free to call us @ 847-215-9490 or visit the following link: https://www.ehls.com/rental-used-stair-lifts-in-chicago-area/

19. What is the best stair lift for my relative or friend?

EHLS carries a few different stair lifts models for straight and curved staircases. So, we will be able to match the appropriate stair lift for the person(s) that will be using it, taking into account the user’s mobility, weight, and height.

20. Why choose EHLS for your Stair Lift?

  • EHLS, a Lifeway Mobility company, is a family-run company that has been serving customers in the city and suburbs of Chicago for over 26 years
  • EHLS is proud to be the top stairlift dealer in the city and suburbs of Chicago, Northwest Indiana, and Southeast Wisconsin as we have been a Bruno Diamond Dealer for the past several years.
  • We have a friendly staff that will help you find the stair lift that best fits your needs and keeps you the safe in your home
  • We take care of our customers like we would if they were our own parents
  • You can visit our showroom, which is equipped with five fully operational stair lifts, giving you or your family member the ability to see and test ride a lift before deciding to purchase one
  • All of our lifts are installed and serviced by our very own factory certified technicians – you’ll always have someone to call if anything goes wrong with your lift

If there are any questions that you have that you did not see on this list, or if you would like a free in-home assessment, please call us @ 847-215-9490. One of our friendly team members will be happy to assist you!

Testimonials

I would like to thank EHLS and Mike for the wonderful stair lift and the great experience with all of you. Mike was so kind and helpful in deciding on what lift would work best as well as providing other suggestions for home equipment. My father, Robert, is doing great with his mobility, but relies on the lift and grab bars in the bathroom. Thanks again!

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