A home elevator provides years of use, but like any other mechanical device, there comes a time when it needs to be replaced. Fortunately, you can expect decades of safe, efficient use for a newly installed elevator, greatly improving your mobility, quality of life, and ability to age in place.
If you move into a home with an existing, older elevator, you need to evaluate its current condition. Whether the elevator can be modernized, or needs replacing, depends on the repair and maintenance history, as well as its age. An authorized home elevator company can provide you with an assessment and a review of the findings.
What is the Lifespan of a Home Elevator?
A home elevator typically has a lifespan of 20-35 years before it reaches the end of its cost-efficient life. This does not mean all residential home elevators need replacing when they reach this age limit. Regular maintenance, usage, and partial modernization can keep a home elevator running safely and efficiently for 35+ years.
What does this mean for you? If you were to install an elevator to help you age in place at age 65, you would be between 85 and 100 before you needed to consider replacing your elevator. If you’re younger, and need an elevator for mobility issues, that’s still a great return on your investment, especially considering the average automobile only has a twelve-year lifespan.
What Factors Shorten a Residential Elevator’s Lifespan?
While residential elevator lifts provide years of service, certain factors can shorten an elevator’s lifespan. Here are some of the most important:
Lack of regular maintenance: Without periodic maintenance, breakdowns are more likely and repair bills slowly become more expensive.
- Lack of regular maintenance: Without periodic maintenance, breakdowns are more likely and repair bills slowly become more expensive.
- Environmental factors: Depending on the type of elevator, highly humid environments, exposure to water, and extreme temperatures may reduce the working life of a home elevator lift.
- Care and handling: A roughly used elevator is more likely to need repair work. Failure to keep an old elevator clean can lead to debris and dirt that affects the controls, damages trim and cladding, or impairs the function of car doors.
How can you Extend the Life of Your Elevator?
Older home elevators can continue to provide safe, efficient service for years, as long as steps are taken to extend their life. Such steps begin with a proper home elevator installation, after which regular care and maintenance play important roles. Towards the end of the average elevator’s lifespan, partial modernization can breathe new life into an old elevator.
- Home elevator installation: Your elevator’s efficiency begins with its installation. When a qualified and experienced technician installs an elevator, it operates at peak performance, reducing the risk of costly breakdowns, repairs, or parts replacements.
- Regular maintenance: Scheduling regular maintenance and semi-annual inspections with elevator technicians helps to keep your home elevator lift in good working order and identify minor issues before they worsen into expensive repairs.
- Keeping a written record: Maintaining a written record of all maintenance visits and repairs helps service technicians identify and resolve issues promptly.
- Partial modernization: After about twenty years, talk to your service technician about upgrading your elevator. Depending on how your elevator has aged, partial modernization may include replacing motors and gear systems for smoother rides, replacing control panels, or giving your elevator car a fresh look with new paneling, fixtures, lighting, or handrails.
When Should a Residential Elevator be Replaced?
As your home elevator lift comes to the end of its lifespan, you’ll need to choose between repairing and modernizing the elevator or replacing it with a newer model. Newer models give you access to technological advances that weren’t available when your old elevator was installed.
Keep track of the cost of repairs as your elevator ages: there may come a point at which the cost of upkeep is high enough that replacing the elevator is the most economical choice. At this point, it’s wise to have a conversation with your elevator service company, which can help you evaluate the cost of repairs and modernization compared to the purchase of a new elevator.
A home elevator lift can improve your quality of life and extend your ability to age in place. When considering a residential elevator, you should familiarize yourself with what you need to know before purchase and installation. A qualified Symmetry Elevator dealer can answer all your questions.