Is it time for a stair lift?
Many people throughout Ireland suffer from reduced mobility, this can be due to ageing, a medical condition or because they have had an accident or operation. For many, one of the most challenging parts of getting around can be climbing up and down the stairs. If using your stairs has become difficult or unsafe, it may be time to consider getting a stair lift installed.
Installing a stairlift is a practical, cost-effective, and long-term solution that ensures you don’t need to move your bedroom to the ground floor. This is especially relevant in homes with no downstairs bathing facilities as retrofitting a wet room can be expensive and inconvenient. A stair lift is a much cheaper alternative and far simpler to install, plus you get to keep full access to your home.
When choosing a stair lift, it is always advisable to seek advice and consult your GP or an Occupational Therapist. If you know any friends or family who have a stairlift fitted in their homes, you should speak to them about the process to gain an insight into their experiences.
Straight, curved, or spiral?
Straight stair lifts are the simplest and the most economical stairlift to buy. They are designed for staircases that run straight up with no turns or landings. Straight stairlifts can be installed in about an hour and will fit perfectly to your staircase.
Curved stair lifts are designed for stairs with one or more turns or stairs with a landing. Curved stairlifts need to be precisely measured by a stairlift surveyor before a technical drawing is submitted for fabrication. Curved stairlifts take a little longer to install and may take up to 4 weeks to be fabricated, depending on the complexity of the staircase.
Spiral stairlifts are like curved stair lifts and must be measured and fabricated specifically to suit the staircase.
If you are unsure about which stairlift is suitable for your stairs, please book a free no-obligation survey here. One of our partner stairlift installers will visit your home to accurately measure your stairs and discuss the options available.
How do I pay for my stairlift?
The good news is that there are grants available. The Mobility Aid Housing Grant Scheme is a grant that is available from your local council. The maximum amount available is €6000 and it may cover up to 100% of the cost of installing a stair lift in your home.
If you are considering applying for a grant, please visit your local county council’s website where you will find all the relevant information and forms to assist with your stairlift grant application. Please note, councils will only approve grants that are being paid to VAT registered installers with VAT clearance certificates, so always ensure your installer is VAT registered and can provide a copy of their VAT clearance certificate.
Some of our partners offer finance options that allow you to spread your payments. Stairlifts, when purchased privately, are taxable at the 23% VAT rate. The VAT can be reclaimed in its entirety when you need to submit the VAT 61A form to your local revenue office. Alternatively, you can submit a request through the revenue online service (ROS).
Once you have picked your stairlift, agreed on the price, and arranged the payment, you are now at the installation stage. Installation of a straight stair lift is simple and should take around an hour to complete. For curved stairlifts, the installation may take up to half a day, depending on the complexity of the staircase.
In situations where you do not have an electrical outlet in proximity to the stairlift, you may need to have one installed. This will have been discussed during the home survey and if such additional work is required, we can look after this. Our stairlift partners only use registered RECI and safe electric contractors to ensure a safe and professional job. The price of any additional work will be included in the overall quote to ensure there are no surprises.
Once the installation is complete, your installer will always clean up after themselves and ensure there is no mess left behind. Before leaving, our partner installation engineer will give a detailed demonstration of how the stair lift works and provide contact numbers should an issue arise.
Size matters: After price, the size and footprint of a stairlift is probably the biggest consideration for most people. Currently, Handicare boasts the slimmest stairlifts on the market. The Handicare 1100 is the slimmest straight stairlift and the Handicare twin-tube curved stairlift offers the tightest bend that is available from any stairlift manufacturer. So, if you have a narrow staircase, or just wish to have a compact stairlift, Handicare stairlifts are the ideal choice.
VAT registered: If you are applying for a grant it is vital to use a reputable company that is VAT registered and can supply a VAT clearance certificate. County councils will only approve grants from VAT registered installers with a VAT clearance certificate.
No hidden charges: Always ensure the price quoted is the final price you will pay. In some situations, a stairlift installation may require some extra work such as installing a plug. Always ensure that the price you are quoted is the final price you will pay. If you are applying for a grant, the price quoted will be what the grant is based on, so any additional costs will not be covered. For this reason, it is advisable to have your stairs surveyed before agreeing to a quote.
Stairlift Survey: As noted above, a survey allows the installer to accurately assess your stairs and provide a proper quote to ensure there are no hidden charges or extra costs. A survey is also key to getting the right stairlift to suit your stairs and more importantly, your needs. When an installer surveys your stairs, they can discuss the various available options to ensure you get the best possible solution. If you require a curved stairlift, a survey is extremely important as this will ensure you get a stairlift that is specifically designed to suit your stairs, rather than a stairlift that is adjusted to fit your stairs.
New or used: Some stairlift companies offer used or reconditioned stairlifts. Our stairlift partners only supply new stairlifts because each stairlift we provide is custom fitted to suit your stairs and your requirements. When you purchase a used stairlift, that stairlift has been fitted to another staircase and then taken out and adapted to fit yours – this may require using other parts from other stairlifts rather than a single seamless track. This can affect the ride and the overall quality of the stairlift, not to mention the life span.
Stairlifts require care and maintenance to ensure longevity and there is always a risk associated with a used product, much like buying a used car. Stairlifts run on batteries and once the cells in a battery die, the battery needs to be replaced and this is quite costly. If you wish to buy a used stairlift, ensure that it is supplied with a warranty and ensure the company who supplies the warranty are reputable, as a warranty is only as good as the company who provides it.
Common misconceptions about stairlifts
Sometimes, a customer may feel that installing a stairlift means that they are losing their independence. This is not the case; a stairlift gives people independence. It provides peace of mind for both the user and their family. A stairlift can be used when required and gives full access to the home again without help from anyone. A stairlift is a safety net that can be used should the need arise, but the user can continue to use the stairs if they want. In most cases, once the stairlift has been installed and the user has become accustomed to it, they end up loving it!
A common misconception is a stairlift will be an eyesore and obstruct the stairs. Modern stairlifts, such as the Handicare 1100, are extremely slim and do not take up much stair space. They also feature a folding chair and remote control to send them upstairs when not in use; this ensures they can be easily moved to the top of the stairs and called back when required.
Stairlifts are not expensive to run, the cost to use your stairlift is comparable to using your kettle.
Another common misconception is that a stairlift will not work if the electricity goes; modern stairlifts are battery powered meaning they will work during a power cut. The battery is kept constantly charged and in the event of a sustained power outage, it will not go up or down the stairs unless it has sufficient charge to complete the journey, so you won’t be left stranded.
Many people with narrow staircases think a stairlift will not fit as their stairs are not wide enough. If you have a narrow staircase such as those commonly found in older terraced houses, the Handicare 1100 may be a solution. The Handicare 1100 is the slimmest stairlift on the market and can be successfully installed on stairs that are 66cm wide, or wider.
If you are considering installing a stairlift, please fill out our simple 3 step form to avail of a free no-obligation home survey. Our stairlift partners will visit your home at a time of your choosing to measure the stairs and discuss the various options available.