What is a Home Elevator?

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  • Written By: Mary Beth Swayne
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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Home elevators are automatic lifts that allow people and things to be moved mechanically from one level of a house to another. For example, if a house is large enough and enough money is made within the family, a family may choose to add a residential home elevator for luxury purposes. At the same time, any family with a disabled child, adult, or elderly resident may opt for a home elevator or lift to enable the family member to move to a higher or lower story. Whatever the reason, a home elevator is designed to ease mobility of the family around the house and allow heavy loads to be more easily carried.

There are several different types of home elevators. One type is a hydraulic elevator, which is considered to be a safer and more reliable home elevator during emergency situations. This is due to the fact that the machine room can be found in the basement or foundation of the house and the elevator offers a manual lowering system. Therefore, the machine room is less likely to be damaged by earthquakes or fires.

The electric home elevator is suspended in a shaft and works using counterweight suspension. The elevator does not use oil or have a machine room, which may make it more practical for a smaller home. It is not recommended for those who live on a vault line or even in earthquake prone areas.


The "green" home elevator, for the environmentally conscious, is the winding drum elevator. Like an electric elevator, it does not use oil or a machine room. It's winding drum sits on top of the house.

The pneumatic lift elevator can hold a maximum of two people. This elevator uses a pneumatic vacuum to move the cab between floors, and, without a machine room, will usually cost less. This type of elevator is not recommended for handicap use.

Another, different type of home elevator is the stair lift. Designed primarily for the the handicapped, a stair lift runs along the side of a stairwell, and carries the user up or down levels. Although it can offer the disabled more independence to be able to travel up and down the stairs, transforming the banister of a house to a chair lift may depreciate the value of the house significantly.

Many companies that offer private home elevators offer a variety of choices. Size and expense are often a factor, and there are a number of different options to fit home size and budget. Higher priced models are also available to coordinate with the home d├ęcor, offering a choice of cab colors, various gate styles, light fixtures, glass observation panels, and many other options.

Home elevators have many usages. Whether it is to allow a disabled family member full access to a house or allow a homeowner to carry groceries up three flights of stairs on her own, with the baby or children, and the dog. Although they can be quite expensive, depending on the selections made to go along with well-planned interior design, in the long run, home elevators or lifts may allow a freedom for people that they previously did not have.


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Post 3

Home elevators bring up a lot of questions about safety. First of all, in an emergency, such as a fire, even in commercial buildings we are told "do not take the elevator in case of fire. Use the stairs".

So there's that. But, the electrical component that is involved in a home elevator system is what is worrisome to me. What about power outages?

I guess in the long run, if you are afraid of installing an elevator in your home, some of those fears may be alleviated by talking with the home elevator company that will install it. They are the professionals and know all the safety measures that are in place to keep the elevator running smoothly and safely. You might also contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about your concerns.

Post 2
Jewellian, the article states, "a hydraulic elevator, which is considered to be a safer and more reliable home elevator... the machine room can be found in the basement or foundation of the house and the elevator offers a manual lowering system". That should make you feel a little better. Also, you could install a phone in the elevator for emergencies.

Post 1

It is great that persons with disabilities have the option of having an elevator for home purposes. Really great.

I am afraid of having one in my home. What are the chances of getting stuck in one? If a malfunction occurred in a home elevator, and no one else is home to get me out, well that is a little scary to me.

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