Ideas for Making your Home Elevator Safer
- First and MOST IMPORTANTLY - Do not allow children to use any elevator unattended
- Never assume that your child does not know how to use your elevator - just because he has never used it before - there is a first time for everything
- Just because your elevator meets the letter of the code does not guarantee that it is safe
- Know your elevator, how it works and what to do in case of an emergency
- With a few basic checks of your home elevator, you can use it safely and stay in your home for as long as you please
- Periodically verify the basic safety devices are working
- Make sure the phone will dial out. An older couple on the coast of Georgia tragically died in their elevator in 2010 because they were unable to call for help after becoming stuck between floors.
- Make sure you cannot open the hoistway door if the elevator car is not there. As your house settles, doors can sag and the interlock can come out of alignment creating a hazard.
- Make sure the elevator will not run if the hoistway landing door is open
- Make sure the elevator will not run if the car gate is open
- Make sure the joints in the elevator car gate have not split
- Check the distance of the gap between the back of the landing door and the gate - 5 inches is code - but a small child can still fit between that space because the accordian gate has flex in it- consider other safety devices even if your elevator meets code
- A door lock can be added to the hoistway door - as long it is not set up where someone could be locked inside the elevator shaft
- A door lock with a keypad eliminates the need to keep track of a key. Ensure that access is always unlocked from inside the hoistway so nobody becomes trapped in the elevator.
- An elevator company can add a keyed shut off that will prevent anyone from using the elevator until the system is turned on with the key
- an elevator company can add a key lock on the call stations and on the car operating panel to prevent unauthorized use
- An elevator company can add a photo eye or a light curtain - which is like a stack of photo eyes - to the front of the elevator cab to eliminate the gate flex issue
- An elevator company can add a photo eye or light curtain to each hoistway door space to stop the car from running if a child or obstacle is in the doorway
- The hoistway doors can be set further into the hoistway if you get special door interlocks
- Never remove your hoistway door or the keeper on the door as this can mess up the alignment of your interlock
- Know how to get out of the elevator if you are stuck between floors
- A child may think the elevator is the perfect place to hide during a game of hide and seek - do not let an innocent game become a tragedy - make sure your elevator is child proof
- Many home elevator accidents occur when children are playing on elevators
- It is important to balance usability with safe guards. Do not make the elevator so hard to use that an older person chooses the stairs instead ofthe elevator and then falls down the stairs. With so many options available, we can help you find a good solution for everybody.
- If you sell your home, make sure that the new owner is aware of the reason your safeguards are in place, otherwise they may remove them.
- If you own a rental property with a home elevator in it, consider adding one or more safety devices and signs to help keep your guests safe
- Most elevators have battery lowering systems, so do NOT shut off your elevator thinking you are making it safer. The batteries the lowering system will die requiring a service call to replace them.
- Preventative maintenance is recommended once per year.
How to Check the Gap between your Hoistway Landing Door and Accordian Gate
- Check the distance of the gap between the back of the landing door and the gate - a maximum dimension of 5 inches is code - but a small child can still fit between that space especially because the accordian gate has flex in it
Consider adding other safety devices such as keylocks or light curtains even if your elevator gap does meet the code
- How to measure the gap - With the elevator car at the landing, open the hoistway landing door, measure from the back of the landing door - which is typically also the back of the door stop - to the face of the accordian gate
For your own understanding, gently push on the accordian gate so you can see how much it flexes
- You may wish to consider adding a space guard to your door - A space guard is a wooden box that is built and mounted to the hoistway side of the door that eliminates the space where a child may hide between the hoistway door and the gate.
- A space guard should be at least 40 inches high and have a 70 degree slanted top on it.
- Note that a space guard may intrude on the clear opening space of the door, so if adding a space guard will prevent someone who uses a wheelchair from using the elevator, another solution may be better for your home.
Sponsored by Blue Moose Elevators in honor of the Helvey family
Please call us if we can help you make your elevator safer 1-866-797-5438