Savaria Stairfriend Stair Lift
With some minor variations almost all stair lifts are installed the same way. The stair lift chair will travel along a rail or track that is fastened to every second or third stair tread of the staircase using special track mounts that are screwed to the stairs. The screws are normally about 3/16" in diameter and there could be 2 or 4 screws per mount. On carpeted stairs the holes are not normally evident if the stair lift is removed although the carpet may be a slightly different colour under the mounts. On wooden, tile or concrete stairs the hole will be evident if the stair lift is removed but the holes are small and can usually be filled so as to be almost unnoticeable.
The stair lift track/rail will begin near the floor of the lower level and extend up the staircase to about the nose of the upper landing. Depending on the model of stair lift, the rail will have to be mounted a certain distance from the wall to allow the chair to travel along it without touching the wall. If there are any window sills, railing or other obstructions protruding into the stairway on side the rail is being installed the distance from the wall will have to be increased to accommodate the obstruction.
Once the stair lift rail is installed the electrical wiring needs to be hooked up. Again there will be variations between models but basically there will be a battery charger that is wired to terminals in the rail that will allow the the stair lift battery to automatically charge when not in use. The charger is plugged into a convenient electrical outlet somewhere near the lower or upper end of the rail and is usually placed under the end of the rail out of the way.
On models that are not battery powered, the lift will have to have a dedicated electrical circuit in the location of the lift. A cable known a a travelling cable is plugged into the wall outlet and runs to the chair of the lift to power it. Because the chair moves the travelling cable has to travel with the lift as it moves along the track/rail. The chair will have a retractable spool in the base of it to take up the slack in the cable and let out more cable as needed. These traveling cables tended to wear out over time and the retractable spool would often break down causing the lift to not work. This is one of the reasons most manufacturers have switched to battery operated stair lift designs.
Once the chair is mounted on the rail and the electrical connections are hooked up the chair is run up and down the staircase using the operator's switch mounted on the arm of the chair to make sure it clears the wall and any obstructions all along the length of the staircase. If the chair touches the wall or any obstruction the track/rail will have to be removed and re-mounted a little further out from the wall. It is very important that all measurements are accurate prior to installation to avoid any such mistakes.
If the stair lift is ordered with, or comes standard with, call/send switches they are now tested to make sure they operate properly. Today's call/send switches are normally wireless and don't require any installation but the user may want them mounted at each end of the rail in a convenient location.
Finally, once installation is complete the safety switches (foot rest, arm, seat swivel lock etc.) all need to be tested to ensure proper operation. All the wiring will have to be checked to make sure it is properly routed to prevent damage to it and to make sure it doesn't create a tripping hazard.
Stair lifts are normally installed by qualified installers employed by the vendor who sold the lift. Some vendors will sell stair lifts without installation. It is strongly recommended that the buyer finds a qualified installer to install their lift if the vendor is not doing the installation.
Manufacturers and vendors will not honour warranties on improperly installed stair lifts and will not assume any responsibility if their is an accident caused by an improper installation.