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If you or someone in your family falls into a higher risk category, due to old age or a pre-existing medical condition, and lives in a multi-level home, maybe it’s time to install a home elevator. 

A well installed home lift will ensure your safety while giving you the independence you need. Plus, it will effectively reduce accidents within the home — a boon especially during these times of social distancing. A safer home will also help minimize the burden on the already stressed healthcare system.

On a personal level, the advantages of a home elevator are many. Mobility limitations can make climbing stairs difficult, painful, and a huge effort. That, coupled with the risk of falling on the stairs can make the situation dangerous.

If selling your existing two-story or three-story home is not financially possible, or moving into assisted living facilities is not an option, the next best thing is to invest in a good home elevator. 

Fortunately, today, home elevator companies are providing affordable home elevator options as well as customization options for people. And, it’s such a blessing for elderly people with limited mobility. Residential elevators provide them with unmatched convenience — making life so much simpler. No more hauling heavy household items or climbing stairs from one floor to another.  

In this blog, you can explore some basic questions about home elevator systems and find out everything you need to know before buying one for your house.

Read more: Aging in Place 101: Updates for Seniors’ Homes

How much does it cost to install a home elevator?

Installing an elevator at home can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $80,000 — the average cost being $30,000. The reason for such a large variation is that home elevator cost depends on a lot of factors, including the type of elevator, power source, elevator model, number of stories, and installation costs.

You can expect an expense of $1,000 to $40,000 just for the equipment, $1,000 to $20,000 for the elevator installation. An outdoor lift costs $2,000 to $10,000 while a pneumatic vacuum elevator costs between $35,000 and $60,000. You also need to factor in some additional expenses for labor costs, and to get the required permits. 

home elevator cost
Photo by Simmons-jl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What are the different types of home elevators? 

There are different elevator types based on their power source and mechanics. Some of the most popular types of elevators are:

  • Hydraulic elevators: Here, a motor pushes oil into pistons which help to move the elevator. For installing a roped hydraulic elevator, you’ll require a pit, a drilled hole for the piston, a hoistway, and a separate machine room or closet. If you’re installing a pulley system, you can do without a piston hole or a machine room.
  • Overhead cable drum or winding drum elevators: This elevator system works with chains or cables or steel ropes in a compact drum. It’s often less expensive than a hydraulic elevator. 
  • Traction or chain or cable drive elevators: These elevators use a chain, pulley, hoistway, and counterweight system within an engine room. 
  • Pneumatic elevators: These elevators work using a vacuum system. Interestingly, there’s a passenger tube with a door that fits inside another larger tube. The second tube is suctioned upward and goes down with gravity. Such an elevator is plugged into your home’s electric system. And, there’s no need for a hoistway, pit, or machine room. 

What is the smallest residential elevator?

The PVE30 is perhaps the smallest residential elevator in the entire world with a diameter of 30 inches. It has a 350lb lift capacity and is capable of up to 50 ft. (15m) of elevation. Such an elevator is small enough to fit in the most modest-sized home. And, don’t be fooled by its compact size, these home lifts are just as capable as other residential elevators that are bigger and more expensive. It’s an excellent option if your home has size constraints. However, it may not be wheelchair accessible. 

Can you add an elevator to an existing house?

Putting an elevator in an existing home is possible but it’s more difficult than when it’s already a part of the house plan. It needs more time for construction and installation — unless it’s a wheelchair lift, a vertical platform lift, a stairlift, or an inclined platform lift. 

Depending on the type of lift it is, you’ll need to make some additional modifications to your house. This is to accommodate basic infrastructures such as a hoist-way or the shaft which allows a traditional elevator to move up and down. Ideally, if your architect includes the elevator shaft into the home plan, the elevator will fit more seamlessly or be concealed better. Plus, the elevator price will be lesser.

Adding a cable-driven elevator into new construction costs between $20,000 and $30,000 while retrofitting an elevator shaft into an existing home can cost $45,000 to $80,000. The reason is that it requires a great deal of construction, including demolishing walls and excavating concrete. 

The ideal locations for home lifts are corners or easy-to-access places with plenty of space to spare. That way, they won’t hinder any movement in the room.

Does adding a home elevator increase home value?

Many real estate experts believe that a home elevator can add to the property value — by up to 10%. It’s a boon for homebuyers who have aging parents or someone with limited mobility issues in their family. Personally, a home elevator offers a lot of convenience value, and safety features, to the property. It allows homeowners safer aging in place

Last thoughts

If you live in a multi-story home and have concerns about navigating the stairs due to any physical limitations, installing an affordable home elevator is a good solution. Moving from floor to floor is easier, safer, and quicker.

Here, we’ve tried to answer some basic questions you may have about installing home lifts. Hope this blog helps you make an informed decision when choosing a home elevator on the market.

Need a home elevator? This guide on home lifts is for you was last modified: August 5th, 2021 by Ramona Sinha

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