All modern stairlifts are battery-powered and usually have two batteries located inside the carriage part of the stair lift (where the motor is) that will take you up and down stairs.
So how do you know when you have fully charged batteries when the stairlift battery is not charging, and what do you need to do when you need a stairlift battery replacement? In this article, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about stair lift batteries!
What power supply does a stairlift need?
A stairlift needs a normal home power supply, so a mains socket either a plug-in or spur outlet. A battery charging unit is then wired from the socket and into the lift charge station to operate the charging system.
The stairlift batteries are recharged by parking the lift on a charging point where the charging strip can make contact with the stairlift carriage.
A charger will feed a low-voltage trickle charge of power from the mains socket through the charger to the charging point. There is sometimes a small light on the charger unit that will tell you if it is working.
How long do stairlift batteries last before they need to be replaced?
The battery life of a stair lift battery will depend on conditions and usage, but as a general guide, you should normally expect them to last around 2-5 years. It is likely that you will need a battery replacement about every 3 years. It’s also likely that all two or three (whichever your model holds) stairlift batteries will need to be replaced at the same time.
Battery life can also depend on the maintenance of your stairlift so make sure you have an annual service as recommended by safety standards to check over your stairlift and also check the batteries.
When is a stairlift battery not charging? Why is my stairlift beeping?
Your model should always be switched on ready to use and be parked on the usual charging point at the top and/or bottom of the stairs. There are certain models which have a continuous charge strip throughout the length of the track so it doesn’t matter where you park the lift it will still charge up.
When it is not charging you will hear a beeping noise – this is the off-charge alarm system. This might be because:
- The powerpoint is switched off at the mains or there’s a power cut
- The charge strip is not making contact with the carriage either because it isn’t parked on a charge or the charge strip is dusty or bent out of shape and not making contact
- The charger unit or charge circuit is broken
- There is another fault
If it is not switched on at the mains then switch it on to stop the beeping. Check that the lift is at a charging station and parked in its usual place. If this hasn’t solved the problem then it’s time to call a stairlift engineer.
Can I use my stairlift if I have a power outage?
If you have a power outage then don’t worry, as it is battery-powered the stairlift will still work until the power comes back on, but you should minimise trips up and down the stairs.
Your model will beep continuously if the power is out and you can turn it off using the on/off switch on the carriage, whilst leaving it switched on at the mains. This will stop the beeping.
Uncharged, it should provide around 8 trips up and down the stairs, depending on model and configuration.
When power is restored, turn it back on. A stair lift battery that runs completely flat, it cannot be recharged and will have to be replaced. They will come at an additional cost as they are not included in any warranty.
Should I switch my stairlift off if I go on holiday or I’m in hospital?
Absolutely not. Just leave it switched on at all times. If you’ve got someone going into your home whilst you are not there, do get them to load test it (sit on it) and run it up and down your stairs once a week. If you do switch it off you will need new batteries when you return.
Should I switch my stairlift off if I only use it occasionally?
If the stairlift was originally installed for someone else, say a partner who now no longer uses it and you’d like to keep the stairlift running in case you may need to use it occasionally, then please do run the stairlift once a week to prolong the life of the batteries.
What kind of battery does a stairlift use?
Most stairlift batteries are made of lead acid. There are normally 2 batteries located inside the carriage. The specific type of stairlift batteries you need will be determined by which manufacturer model of stairlift you have.
As technology is changing, a particular manufacturer also uses lithium batteries which are difficult to currently recycle.
A stairlift engineer will change the batteries for you and environmentally dispose of this waste for you.
Has your stairlift started running slow or just stopped completely?
Then it’s time to replace your batteries!
What are the symptoms of flat or damaged stairlift batteries?
If you try to run your stairlift in the up direction is it going slower than normal or at its usual pace? Does it go much slower when it is under load (when you are sitting on it)? Does it only travel a short distance and struggle to go the length of the rail? Is it taking forever to get up and down the stairs?
These are all symptoms of your stairlift batteries running low and needing replacing.
It is very rare that you see a damaged battery as they are in a sealed unit, but if they are damaged they can overheat and become swollen. That is also why you should make sure you have a regular service so that the batteries can be checked over as well as the rest of the stairlift.
Ultimately at some point during your stairlifts life, the batteries will run flat.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Stairlift Battery?
When installed new into your machine you will have fully charged batteries. If your batteries are running low for any reason they will normally need several hours parked up to become fully charged. If they drop below a certain Amp then they won’t pick up and recharge and will need replacing.
How long does it take to change a stairlift battery?
It will normally take around 10 minutes for a specialist stairlift technician to replace the batteries for you after checking the old ones with a tester. This isn’t a job that we would recommend you attempt yourself and you need a professional technician to do this for you.
How do you test a stairlift battery?
Stairlift batteries can be tested with specialist battery testers to determine the power outage – voltage and Amps. A stairlift battery has a range of acceptable charge voltages and amps. If it does not have the correct voltage or is completely drained then replacing the batteries is usually necessary.
Battery testers are always used by our engineers on a service visit to make sure that they are charging properly and that the battery is working correctly.
They will also check that the charge point is clean and is making contact with the lift charging system.
How Do You Change A Battery In A Stairlift?
You don’t, you leave this job to a professional technician. First of all, you need to know exactly which stairlift batteries you need. Secondly, you need to know the internal workings of the stairlift to be able to replace the batteries properly without disturbing any of the wiring looms and safety circuits.
When a battery is replaced it cannot be thrown in the bin! It has to be recycled correctly.
What is the cost of stair lift batteries?
Stairlift batteries can be around £50 each to be replaced + VAT. Normally a warranty or maintenance agreement would not include the cost of a stairlift battery replacement as this is a normal “wear and tear” consumable item.
Don’t forget about your remote control battery!
Remember that just like your TV remote control, your stairlift remote control will also need it’s battery replacing. They are normal household ones that you can replace yourself, just check the type in your user manual or give us a call and we can help advise.
Worried about your stairlift? Need further advice?
Our qualified engineers are here to help you so you are worry free about travelling on your stairs. If you are concerned about how your stairlift is running we can come and take a look at it for you.
If you need a service or maintenance on your stairlift then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Aftercare team to book your visit. We also look after models that we didn’t originally install too. During every service visit we test every battery to make sure they are charged and check the charging systems too. Call us on 01249 814528 (option 3 for aftercare) to arrange your appointment with our qualified engineers.