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Elevator Installation Farmington NM

It usually starts with the groceries. Though some people need an elevator in their house to access the multiple levels of living space, most homeowners purchasing elevators today simply want one for the convenience. "From a 2,000-square-foot house to a 14,000-square-foot house, people are installing elevators," says Eugene Aubrey, an architect who is planning an elevator in a luxury home.

Accurate Construction and Development Inc.
(505) 326-0593
Farmington, NM
Site-Built Homes

Babcock & Wilcox Construction Company
(505) 326-4823
1909 E 20th St
Farmington, NM
Equipment Maintenance Services
(505) 327-6055
1025 Troy King Rd
Farmington, NM
Liessmann Construction
(505) 327-5502
421 Canyonview Dr
Farmington, NM
Childers Builders
(505) 325-4203
940 Valentine Rd
Farmington, NM
High Desert Homes
(970) 858-9030
Farmington, NM
Site-Built Homes

Magic Roofing & Construction Co Inc
(505) 324-1094
920 E Murray Dr
Farmington, NM
Industrial Mechanical Inc
(505) 325-5005
3030 La Plata Hwy
Farmington, NM
Farmington Construction Inc
(505) 325-1853
1030 Walnut Dr
Farmington, NM
Key Energy Pressure Pumping Services
(505) 334-3818
26 Road 3720
Farmington, NM

Elevator Purchasing Tips

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t usually starts with the groceries. Though some people need an elevator in their house to access the multiple levels of living space, most homeowners purchasing elevators today simply want one for the convenience. "From a 2,000-square-foot house to a 14,000-square-foot house, people are installing elevators," says Eugene Aubrey, an architect who is planning an elevator in a luxury home in Northeast Harbor, Maine. "It usually starts with food. You have to move materials. If you have 16 bags of groceries, it's wonderful to take them out of the car, into the elevator and into the kitchen. It's a hell of a convenience." It's also a reason not to move to a new home if your lifestyle or needs change. "Your home is generally the largest investment you make in your lifetime, and (with an elevator), you won't have to move because of a staircase," says Steve Hawley, vice president of Residential Elevators of Tallahassee, Fla. Lifts range in price from $15,000 to $35,000, depending on the features, size and number of stops. But compared with the price of a new home, it's an affordable element. According to Access Industries, based in Grandview, Mo., more than 10,000 residential elevators are installed each year in this country, and the trend toward larger homes with more amenities is driving that figure higher. Tom Hall, president of Renaissance Homes in Littleton, Colo., is building a custom home for a couple in their 50s. He says that while they can manage stairs just fine now, the couple is looking at this home as their last and designed it with the future in mind. An elevator also accommodates the needs of multiple generations living under one roof. A baby boomer, Aubrey's client in Maine purchased a $39,000 elevator for his three-story, 14,000 square-foot home so his elderly father, who uses a wheelchair, can access the rooftop and enjoy views of Somes Sound.

Homeowners interested in buying an elevator should consider many factors. From drive systems to hoistway construction, and from safety features to design, this primer on residential elevators will help shed light on what some are calling the appliance of the future. Two main types of elevators dominate the marketplace: hydraulic and winding cable drum. What type of drive system you choose is usually a matter of preference. "Both have assets and liabilities," says Stephen Nock, president and chief executive officer of elevator manufacturer Inclinator Company of America, Harrisburg, Pa. In general, hydraulic lifts offer a smoother, quieter ride and are more expensive. However, these elevators could leak hydraulic fluid, and the drive system and electrical control box must be housed in a separate machine room. A winding-drum elevator employs a motor to wind cable around a drum to raise and lower occupants. Advantages include lower maintenance and the possibility of no machine room. "Cable drums will never leak because there's no oil," Nock says. Sales at Inclinator are split 50-50 between hydraulics and winding drum, according to Nock. The newest drive system in the residential elevator market is a third type, called the counterbalance-weight system. However, only one manufacturer, Access Industries, offers this type of technology. The counterbalance system works like a seesaw: A motor triggers a stack of heavy weights to sink as the cab goes up. Called the Lev, this elevator is more affordable than its hydraulic counterparts and is the company's best-selling lift. All components are contained within the hoistway, eliminating the need for a machine room. After you've decided on a drive system, finding the proper space for an elevator and possibly a machine room is critical.

Homeowners need a continuous hoistway that will accommodate the elevator shaft through all levels of the home. Even if you don't want to install an elevator in a new home from the get-go, it's wise to frame out the appropriate space in advance so you don't have to rip apart the house later (see sidebar). Also, an area for the machine room should be reserved on the same side of the hoistway as the elevator rails, though it can be in the basement or attic. Brian Nichols, president of dealer Abbey Home Elevator, Fresno, Calif., says including an elevator in your home is a simple process - not much different from planning a whirlpool bath, sprinkler system or other home appliance. Structurally, a hoistway requires plumb walls and 2x4 or 2x6 stud wall framing. In addition, hoistway construction must allow for a pit of about 6 inches for the elevator sling - although some elevators may need up to 12 inches and others none at all - and overhead clearance of about 7 1/2 feet for elevator components. He adds that the hoistway must be built according to state and federal code and the elevator installed by a licensed contractor. Having adequate power - a 110-volt line and a 220-volt line - to operate an elevator is not an issue in most homes. "If you can turn on a light and run a dryer in your home, you have the electrical basics to run an elevator," Nichols says. Generally placed near stairways, a typical residential elevator is 5 feet by 5 feet - about the size of a closet. Mary Jo Peterson, a designer in Connecticut who has worked with builders and homeowners to plan elevators in private residences, says to choose location wisely. "You don't want to give up space where you don't have to, like the front hall closet." An elevator can be designed to be the focal point of a room with automatic doors drawing attention, or it can rest unobtrusively tucked behind a closet door.

Depending on the budget, homeowners can style the car - or interior cab - with raised wood panels, marble floors, handrails, recessed lighting, brass fixtures and even mirrors to fight claustrophobia. "If you have creative juices, the sky is the limit," Nock says, adding that one client in New Orleans requested Honduran hand-carved mahogany for his car. In addition to car options, the number of door configurations and number of stops allowed will affect cost. Residential elevators are limited to a maximum number of five or six stops, with a maximum travel distance of 50 feet. While having more than one door from which passengers can enter and exit the elevator increases cost, it also gives the architect more flexibility in designing. "You don't want the architect designing the home around the elevator. You want the elevator to work with the home," says Stephanie Miracle, marketing manager at Access Industries. Though no one questions the convenience of residential elevators, some homeowners raise eyebrows about safety. Numerous features and backup systems, however, ensure a sound and reliable mode of transportation. For example, an interlock device on standard swing doors for the hoistway prevents doors from opening unless the elevator is at the landing. The interior car gate provides additional security while the elevator is traveling. Telephones can be added inside cars - just be certain to run a phone line to the elevator. In case of a power failure, a manual emergency device lowers passengers to the nearest landing. Electric generators and battery backups provide further protection.

Also, elevators come equipped with emergency stop buttons, emergency lights and alarms, and optional key-operated controls. "They're extremely safe and reliable," Aubrey says. In addition, machine rooms must have a self-locking keyed door. To assure dependable operation, a little maintenance can go a long way. According to Nichols, homeowners should select a licensed contractor who periodically inspects the elevator and lubricates equipment. This will reduce premature wear on parts and prevent costly repairs in the future. Some companies also offer remote diagnostics, which allow them to troubleshoot problems off-site. This can be a valuable service to homeowners, saving them the cost of having a technician visit their home to inspect problems. "If you want to make a homeowner angry, charge him $200 an hour to close his door," Hawley says. Builders, designers and manufacturers predict more elevators will be installed in homes. Nichols says he has seen a significant increase in his business in the past three years. "Elevators are becoming more mainstream. Five years ago, only people with disabilities wanted elevators," Peterson says. Indeed, at CemcoLift in Hatfield, Pa., 80 percent of elevators are sold as luxury items. Less common than home theaters or whirlpools, elevators add appeal to your home and distinguish it from other houses on the block. Additionally, Hawley says, an elevator increases a home's value. Aubrey agrees. "It adds tremendously to the marketability of a house," he says. Peterson, who specializes in universal design, says elevators are coming into their own as an element. "In the past, they have been planned as a solution to a problem. Today, an elevator is a solid choice for a new feature for the home. It's a wonderful convenience." One you'll rely on continuously to help get those groceries from the car into the kitchen. Zlata Kozul-Naumovski is a freelance writer based in Chicago, Ill.

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