Valuable pieces of equipment such as electric wheelchairs, stair lifts, and rolling walkers make life easier for elderly individuals. Like any other tools, it is important to know how to properly maintain these pieces of equipment in order to get the most out of them.
Although it may seem like a hassle, maintenance and servicing can dramatically increase the lifespan of your product, so it is always worth doing. When it comes to caring for an outdoor stair lift, there are a few things to keep in mind. These are described below. Remember that your stair lift's owner's manual will provide information regarding the maintenance you can perform without voiding the warranty and how often you can expect any stair lift problems to be dealt with.
Check the Movable Parts and Batteries
Often the batteries and movable parts of your stair lift, such as the swivelling areas on the chair, are the places that need the most attention. This is because, it is often the movable parts that receive the most abuse through time and frequent use, but if you commit to keeping them well maintained you can elongate the life of your equipment significantly.
Examine the track for deterioration, fully charge the batteries, and make sure there are no breaks or cracks. Finally, ensure the track remains lubricated (you can use petroleum jelly for outdoor stair lifts). Batteries may need to replaced every one to two years so do keep this in mind when performing maintenance.
One of the main factors that can contribute to outdoor stair lift issues is a lack of proper cleanliness. Just like any other part of the home, even if it is based outside, a stair lift must be cleaned on a regular basis. Because stair lifts that are based outside are exposed to the weather, you may find that they need to be cleaned on a more regular basis, however most should come with a cover that can be used to protect the seat.
If you find the stair lift does need cleaning, simply run a soapy sponge over the seat, followed by a quick wipe over with a clean, damp rag.
Avoid Using Cleaning Solvents
One thing that you should never do when cleaning your outdoor stair lift is to use solvents, abrasive cleaners, or bleach products. This is because these products can short circuit or corrode the important and complex components that allow the machine to work as it should.
Exposure to cleaning solvents can cause the carriage and chair sections of the stair lift to become damaged, and the rollers to gradually lose friction, meaning that they will start to skid. If the rollers do skid, then the stair lift will respond by shutting down completely, so no matter what you might read elsewhere, never use solvents to clean your machine.
Take Care of the Track
Taking care of the track can require a little bit of dexterity and technical know-how, so elderly individuals may benefit from leaving it to a younger member of the family, or more appropriately, an expert in stair lift maintenance.
Just as the elements can have an effect upon the cleanliness of a stair lift, the weather may also impact how well your stair lift works, and you should always lubricate the track every couple of months to prevent potential issues.
Before applying the lubricant, thoroughly clean the length of the track with a damp cloth, as this will help to remove excess dust and residual black carbon that may have begun to build up over the months. Remember to use a very small amount of lubricant, as you do not want the rollers to slip and slide too easily as this can have a negative impact on the way the stair lift performs.
Arranging for an Annual Service
As with any technologically advanced piece of equipment, it is always a good idea to consult the manual before you start fiddling with, or cleaning, various parts of your stair lift. Going too far with vigorous scrubbing could be enough to damage your machine and void your warranty, leaving you with a hefty bill on your hands.
It is highly recommended that you have your stair lift annually serviced by a professional who will have the knowledge required to carry out perfect repairs, cleaning, and lubrication. These professionals should also be able to provide advice about exactly what you can do to reduce the chances of something going wrong with your model between visits.
Studies have shown that physical inactivity in the elderly can lead to disability and disease, so being able to leave the home is a great step in staying active. Keep the above tips in mind and you will be doing everything you can to keep your stair lift in perfect condition.