You might be wondering how long will a stairlift last?
You are going to spend probably thousands of pounds on a stairlift and you’ll want an idea of how long a stairlift may last.
It’s really difficult to predict how long a stairlift will last because there are lots of considerations to take into account. However, as a general observation manufacturers usually say an average lifespan of around 7-10 years. Some models we have known, have even gone on to last even 15 to 20 years! Some models that have not been looked after properly may last around 3-5 years but this would be exceptional.
It’s just like having a car, if you maintain it regularly and treat it with care it should last you for a long time.
So how can you prolong the lifespan of your stairlift?
- Buy a good quality product
- Weight of the user
- How you use and treat the product
- Making sure you service it.
Let’s take a closer look and explain these in more detail.
Buy A Good Quality Product
It’s true that you get what you pay for and that old saying buy cheap, buy twice applies. Buying a good quality product will last you for some years to come.
You can buy new models and second-hand models. When buying second-hand it’s advisable to check what the age of the lift is. Second-hand models that have been factory reconditioned properly (parts checked and worn parts replaced with new ones) will last longer than ones that haven’t been reconditioned. We do recondition all our second-hand models for peace of mind.
Another factor to consider is that technology in the stairlift industry moves on and as newer models come to the market, manufacturers discontinue their older models. There’s no telling how long a stairlift model will be on sale for before it is replaced. Some models have been sold for over 20 years with periodic updates and some models have been replaced after 5 years – there are no predicted time limits or lengthy notice periods as to when models are likely to change.
Usually, in the UK manufacturers commit to providing and retailing spare parts for their discontinued models for around 5 – 7 years. After this time you would possibly be reliant on independent stairlift companies having stocks of spare parts should you need any.
Sometimes, and this is very rare but does happen, a manufacturer may be bought out by another manufacturer. This sometimes causes models to be dropped from a product range when it is not economically viable to produce those specific models. Production would stop and maybe spare parts supply will stop too. Again that’s where an independent company may be able to help with your maintenance and repairs.
Weight of the User
Every lift has a weight limit or in our technical language a “safe working load”. The sticker on the carriage of the lift will tell you the weight limit and if you’ve not bought one yet then the weight limit should be on the brochure. Although products are safety tested to much more than the safe working load, it’s not advisable to go over the weight limit.
So let’s say you buy a product that has a weight limit of 19 stone and you are 18.5 stone. You have the lift for 6 months and then you go over the 19 stone mark. What will happen? Sometimes the lift detects the weight and will cut out and stop working. Sometimes the lift carries on but this will put excessive pressure on the mechanics of the lift, meaning it will wear out quicker than you would normally expect. If you exceed the weight limit, you shouldn’t really use it.
That’s why when buying a stairlift, taking into account the weight limit of the model may be a deciding factor as to which model you choose. Should you be close to the weight limit on one model, then perhaps choosing one with a higher weight capacity will last longer.
How you treat the product
If you don’t look after your product then it will not look after you. We have seen lifts that have not been treated with care and subsequently don’t last very long.
You should always treat your lift with care, use it correctly and follow the manufacturer’s User Manual which you should be supplied with on purchase. Your product should be kept clean and in good condition. A quick wipe over of the track and chair with a damp cloth once a week will be fine and will prevent dust build-up and pets hairs that will end up in your machine and clog up the insides of your carriage. Don’t grease or WD40 the rack on the rail as this can have the opposite effect of what you may think you are trying to achieve and cause damage. You should also service your lift annually which leads us nicely onto the next point.
Making sure you have a service
How often should you service your stairlift? Some people don’t bother and it shows. If you don’t have a service then your lift will not last you for as long as if you were to have it serviced and safety checked. Your lift should normally be serviced annually but if it is under heavy usage then it’s a good idea to do this every 6 months.
During a service, a good stairlift engineer will:
- clean your lift down – the rail, chair and carriage
- lubricate whatever parts are necessary depending on the model you have
- check all the safety circuits are working correctly
- ensure all the bolts are tightened because over time they might work loose
- check working parts for signs of damage and excessive wear and tear
- check your batteries to make sure they are holding the right charges
The service should always be done by a qualified stairlift engineer who is trained on your product.
How long do Stairlift Batteries last?
All stairlifts are battery operated and have two large batteries fitted inside the carriage. They are designed to last around 3-5 years depending on useage. As they are battery operated your model needs to be wired or plugged into the nearest electrical socket and a battery charging unit will feed power to it. You need to park your model on a charge point usually at the top and bottom of the rail for it to charge up. If you don’t park it on the charge point you will normally hear a short beeping noise to tell you that you need to move it to a charge point. The power socket needs to be permanently switched on. Switching it off will cause the batteries to degrade and then run flat and therefore the batteries won’t last long and will need replacing.
So as you can see looking after your product and having it well maintained by trusted engineers, is key to it being reliable and lasting you a long time.
Want to find out more about servicing? Take a look at another one of our advice articles Why Should I have a Stairlift Service?
If you are looking to have a lift fitted, simply call us on 0800 019 22 10 for a friendly chat. We can arrange for a free no-obligation quotation and come and assess your stairs and recommend the best solution for you.
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