Seven Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Residential Elevator
If you are building an elevator in your new home or retrofitting one in your existing home, there is plenty to do to prepare for installation. If you prepare adequately, installation will be easier, faster, and more effective.
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Here are tips for preparing your home for a residential elevator:
- What kind of elevator will you install? Residential elevators are available in a variety of models, including traditional hydraulic elevators, which require a machine room.
- Machine room – The location of a machine room for a hydraulic elevator is above in the attic. In your machine room, you should also have a light, light switch, and GFCI outlet.
- Hoistway – If you don't know which home elevator or size cab you want, you should leave your options open. The U.S. code allows for residential elevators to be up to 15 sq. ft. in size. If you need the elevator to accommodate a wheelchair, choose a layout with enough space. The ideal hoistway dimensions should be five feet wide by six feet deep. One of the side walls should have rail backing installed in it. The rail backing is typically two sets of 2 x 12s running from the sill plate to top plate of the hoistway. There should also be a one-foot-deep pit in the foundation, with 12 inches of concrete to support your elevator.
- Door openings – Doors are slightly to the left or right of center on an elevator shaft, so have your contractor span the central four feet of your five-foot openings with a header, so you have room to move the three-foot-wide door for your elevator.
- Power – Some elevators need a 110 volt 20 amp circuit, and others need a 220 volt 30 amp circuit, so bring both over to the elevator shaft and assigned machine space. You will also need a phone line connected to your house line brought over to the shaft area. Some elevators require power at the lowest floor and others at the top of the shaft, so terminate your power in a junction box where it can go in either location.
- When to install your home elevator – If you are considering a heavy-duty elevator of 1400 lbs. for heavy cab materials such as stone flooring, a high-end custom cab, or an elevator with sliding doors, you should proceed with the elevator installation at the time you build your home due to increased pit depth, rail backing, and power requirements and the difficulty of getting large pieces into your house
- Prepare your family – Make sure everyone knows when installation will take place. If you have young children, arrange for them to spend the day at a friend's or relative's house, and place pets in an undisturbed room or outside.
You can find the ideal residential elevator online at sites that offer a wide range of elevators with professional installation service. They will take care of the construction details with help from you and your family with home preparations.