More homeowners across the U.S. continue to seek the added convenience and comfort of a home elevator. Looking at the residential elevator industry worldwide, the Global Residential Elevators Market Research Report predicts the global revenue market of residential elevators will reach around $15.86 billion by 2023. Residential elevators are beneficial for several reasons — they can help those with mobility issues get their independence back, add style and luxury to a home, increase a home’s value and make it easier to care for aging family members and pets.
Home elevators are also much safer than stairs for older adults as well as those with disabilities or mobility issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than a quarter of people aged 65 or older fall every year, which doubles the chances of them falling again. However, to continue reaping the rewards of your handy home elevator, it’s essential to keep up with maintenance so you can continue using your elevator for years to come.
How to Maintain Your Home Elevator
From its origins in Ancient Greece to the elevators we know and love today, elevators have come a long way. Homeowners realize that elevators aren’t just for large buildings that house businesses and shopping centers anymore. As more people continue to add residential elevators, they must remember to keep up with maintenance, just as they would with any other investment.
All of the parts that make up the home elevator’s complex system must be in top working order to ensure safety and prevent costly repairs down the line. Whether you’re wondering how often to service your home elevator, how long your home elevator should last or how you can make it last longer, consider these maintenance tips for your home elevator.
1. Follow Safety Rules and Keep Up With Repairs
To ensure a fully functional home elevator, you must follow safety rules and stay up to date with repairs. It’s always a good idea to keep an updated log of any necessary repairs so that you can take appropriate action quickly and contact the professionals if you notice repeating issues. Keeping a record and looking it over will ultimately help save you money later on by addressing any recurring problems with your home elevator immediately. Plus, you can always share your log with your elevator repair company to get them up to speed on how your elevator is functioning.
There are also specific rules you need to follow for your safety and to prevent unnecessary damage to your elevator.
Keep these safety tips in mind to help prolong your elevator and avoid additional repair expenses:
- Pay attention to the elevator’s weight limit — don’t overload it.
- Keep all contents at least 2 inches away from the cab gate and cab walls.
- Always keep the landing doors closed unless you’re getting in or out of your elevator.
- Don’t operate your elevator if the car gate or landing door locking system seems to be malfunctioning.
- Never tamper, bypass, disable or remove door locks or any other safety features.
- Don’t operate your elevator if you hear strange sounds or if the ride seems unusual.
- Make sure the elevator completely stops before you get out or in and be sure to watch your step.
- Don’t open the car gate while the elevator is moving or put your hands or feet through the openings in a scissor-style gate.
2. Schedule Regular Maintenance
One of the best ways to keep up with repairs and ensure your residential elevator is in its best condition is to schedule regular maintenance. While homeowners can take some steps to help prolong their elevator’s life, it’s still challenging for the everyday person to pinpoint an elevator malfunction and know what to do. When in doubt, always contact a repair company before you attempt to take action.
By scheduling regular maintenance with an elevator repair company, you stay on top of potential issues before they happen instead of waiting to act until something goes wrong. Routine maintenance can also improve the elevator’s functionality and make for smoother, faster rides for users. In between regular appointments, you can keep track of any minor issues you experience to help the professionals pinpoint the problem at their next scheduled visit.
3. Perform DIY Inspections Between Services
In between scheduled professional inspections, you can inspect your elevator yourself. One easy way to keep up with elevator maintenance is by conducting a daily inspection. While you don’t have to scrutinize every aspect of your elevator, it’s a great idea to inspect your elevator daily as you use it.
The next time you step inside, think about how the elevator is functioning:
- Are all of the buttons working as they should be?
- Does the door open and close properly?
- Do you notice any interior damage at a glance?
You don’t need to go through a long list of things to look for daily — just keep an eye out as any significant issues could be a safety risk and end up costing you if they aren’t addressed immediately.
What Are the Common Repairs Needed to Be Made?
Without proper maintenance, you run the risk of potential problems with your residential elevator going unnoticed. The longer you put it off, the more likely your elevator will need repairs. Stay up-to-date with your home elevator maintenance, but still keep an eye out on these common repairs many elevators may eventually require.
Generally, it’s best to trust a professional to take care of repairs. There are some common repairs that a handy homeowner may be able to take care of. These repairs are limited to items you can access from the cab without having to enter the hoistway. For example, elevator entry doors may need adjusting or repairing if they become difficult to open or close fully, or if the door bumps into the door jamb or gets caught in the receiver. Remember to never adjust the elevators locking system. In the end, it is always best to trust a certified professional with any common repairs.
Many other necessary repairs should be diagnosed and carried out by professionals. At the least, this includes any problems in the hoistway. If your elevator is malfunctioning somehow and the issue is not readily apparent from what you can see, call on a service technician to inspect your elevator system and determine the source of the issue.
Importance of Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
Prevent common elevator repairs altogether with a straightforward solution — regularly scheduled maintenance. While a quick self-performed elevator inspection is an excellent way to keep an eye on things, your elevator can’t survive on that alone. For the sake of your safety and your wallet, schedule routine maintenance visits from your professional elevator repair company so no problem goes unnoticed. Plus, many states already require annual elevator inspections. Even if your state doesn’t, however, you should still get into the habit of scheduled maintenance as part of your general elevator upkeep. Know what professionals look for, how often you should have your elevator serviced and how much it costs to maintain a home elevator as you get into caring for your elevator.
What Professionals Look for During Maintenance
When it comes to a reliable maintenance program, there are numerous things to look for — things the average person would probably miss, which is why professional elevator maintenance is essential. Things like inspections, safety testing, factory-authorized repair and routine maintenance are all the primary pieces of residential elevator upkeep. When professionals arrive to look at your elevator, there are many different things they check for around the elevator’s car, pit and machine room to ensure everything is operating as it should.
In the machine room, professionals will look at your electrical wiring, check the oil to make sure everything is properly lubricated, and make sure there is a way to get into the machine room that is up to code standards. They may also check the machine room for a separate branch circuit for lighting. Be sure to take anything out of the room that could potentially keep them from accessing your equipment.
Inside the elevator cab, professionals will make sure the doors can open and close properly, examine the ceiling, handrails and walls for any signs of damage, replace lights that may have burned out and check the emergency phone. During maintenance outside the elevator cab, professionals will check door panels and clearances, and replace any burned-out lights. They will also examine the cab frame, rail system, cables for any signs of wear, gates, all safety circuits and examine the entire elevator system to ensure it’s in top working condition.
How Often Should Residential Elevators Be Serviced?
While you may be familiar with the importance of regular elevator maintenance, just how regular is regular? A few different factors come into play when it comes to how often you should get your home elevator serviced. These factors include things like:
- Type of elevator: Since there are different models to choose from, elevator maintenance and repair costs vary. Some elevators may have parts that cost more to replace than others, so check with the company you bought your elevator from for specifics.
- Your contract: Many elevator companies offer various maintenance agreements so you can find one that works best for you. The contract should clearly state how much maintenance you’re entitled to and for how long so there are no surprises.
- Where you live: Elevator regulations vary from state to state. Some states might require more frequent inspections than others as well as additional fees or permits, so location might also have a say when it comes to maintenance frequency.
However, as a general rule, you should have your elevator serviced at least once a year. Annual maintenance ensures optimal elevator performance, whereas an elevator that may not have been serviced for years might operate more slowly, for example.
Home Elevator Maintenance Costs
Keeping your elevator in tip-top shape comes at a cost — a much lower one than the price of a serious repair or even replacement as a result of not keeping up with maintenance. Plus, you can’t put a price tag on the benefits of an elevator in your home. For something that adds convenience, accommodates aging residents and pets, safely transports those with mobility issues and adds value to your home, maintenance comes at a small cost. So, just how much does it cost to maintain a residential elevator?
Although costs vary, elevator maintenance usually costs homeowners a couple of hundred dollars. With regularly scheduled maintenance, you can avoid dropping much more on a major emergency fix, which could potentially exceed $1,000. Sometimes you might end up spending a little more on repairs if you have a larger elevator with a more intricate drive system, for example, as more moving parts could potentially malfunction if you aren’t getting regular maintenance. Just like your elevator, your contract and where you live can affect how often you need maintenance, these factors can impact the costs associated with maintenance, too. However, maintenance costs are an easy trade-off for the peace of mind associated with a residential elevator. Plus, it’s much more affordable than replacing an elevator altogether, which could cost around $20,000.
DIY Home Elevator Maintenance Tips
Sometimes minor elevator issues have simple solutions. Take matters into your own hands and be proactive with some DIY maintenance. One of the best DIY methods when it comes to taking care of your residential elevator is by performing a maintenance audit. An internal audit costs nothing but your time and can help you get familiar with any weak spots regarding your elevator. There are just a few simple steps you can take to perform this audit — make a list of areas to look at, check potentially problematic areas, evaluate elevator performance, prioritize your list and brainstorm solutions to solve any issues.
1. Make a List of Areas to Inspect
The first step in your DIY elevator audit is making a list of everything elevator-related in your home to look at. In addition to the elevator itself, this could include any phone lines, any previous inspection records, the contract you have with your elevator company as well as any maintenance history information. After you have everything all listed out, be realistic in choosing the items you can audit. As you likely don’t have any professional elevator experience and are working alone as one person, you won’t be able to get to every single thing. Instead, focus on the items within your limit and leave the rest to the professionals.
2. Look at Areas Prone to Malfunction
After you narrow down your list of elevator-related things to audit, write down possible errors that could occur with each of them so you can stay prepared for any situation. For example, your phone lines could potentially go down. Brainstorm all the possibilities and consider the most popular areas around your elevators prone to malfunction and stay on top of maintenance.
When it comes to the elevator itself, keep an eye out for the following areas particularly prone to malfunction that could sometimes be solved on your own:
- Doors: Many emergency elevator maintenance calls are the result of an elevator door issue. While you can’t fix the door yourself, the culprit might have a simple solution. Before calling for professional elevator maintenance, perform some DIY maintenance first and check for any obstacles that may be in the way of the door, keeping it from opening or closing correctly. Be sure to check for any obstructions on both the inner and outer elevator doors.
- Circuit breaker: If your elevator doesn’t seem to be moving or you lose power in your home, don’t fret just yet — check the elevator’s circuit breaker or fuse panel to see if there’s still power before you pick up the phone. Sometimes elevators will go to the bottom floor and open using battery power if the main power goes out.
- Reset switch: To restore power, check for the built-in reset switch.
While some areas prone to malfunction on your elevator might have some simple DIY solutions, others may require professional assistance. Things like odd noises or a noticeably slower ride usually require maintenance, for example. So, while you should first troubleshoot to see if you can solve any issues on your own, don’t forget to contact a professional elevator company if it’s out of your hands.
3. Evaluate Elevator Performance and Prioritize List
Take your list of possible weak points around the elevator and put them to the test. Go through each item and test the performance of each area. When you’re done evaluating your elevator’s performance, you can then work on prioritizing that list. Look at which failures have the most significant risks associated with them as well as which are more likely to happen. Look at other factors when you create your prioritized list — have any of these failures happened before? And if so, how often? What is the lifespan for that particular item or area? Think about these things when making your decision.
How Long Will a Home Elevator Last?
Of course, one of the biggest influences when it comes to how long your elevator can last is your maintenance program. With solid routine maintenance, your elevator is more likely to last much longer than an elevator that has not received adequately scheduled maintenance. Some other factors that could play a role in the life of your residential elevator also include how much you use the elevator, the equipment design and environmental factors.
So, just how long should your home elevator last? Typically, residential elevators last for at least 20 years before they need replacing. After 20 years, your elevator should probably at least be modernized. However, after 25 years, it’s usually the end of the line for most elevators. These lifespans are for elevators that have been appropriately cared for and maintained. For other elevators that weren’t cared for quite as nicely, their lifespan is typically cut in half, and they will likely need to be modernized after their first 10 to 15 years.
Protect Your Investment With a Residential Elevators Service Maintenance Agreement
Home elevators are an excellent investment that can improve everyone’s quality of living. Make the most of your investment by keeping up with regular maintenance. At Residential Elevators, our trained service technicians install and service all of our hydraulic and traction elevators. Even after your warranty expires, you can rely on one of Residential Elevators’ elevator maintenance plan options to protect your investment and for some added peace of mind.
Save 50% off replacement parts for equipment and enjoy one complimentary annual preventative maintenance service call with our silver plan. Enjoy two complimentary calls, 50% off replacement parts and 50% off labor for any additional service calls during the agreement period with our gold plan or go platinum and get up to four complimentary service calls while we include all labor and replacement parts on each visit. Don’t wait — contact us today or request information for a service maintenance agreement that works best for you so that you can continue enjoying your elevator for years to come.