Can I Install My Own Home Elevator, Stair Lift, or Dumbwaiter?
Since the cost of a home elevator or stair lift is quite significant for any budget, it is perfectly understandable that handy homeowners would be tempted to cut corners. Why not "eliminate the middle man" - buy something online and install it yourself? There are plenty of people on the Internet willing to help you go down this road. They'll sell you a cut-rate lift and tell you that it's a breeze to install, that anybody can do it. Sadly, such assurance is misleading at best. There are a number of factors at play here that you won't find properly addressed by purveyors of "do-it-yourself" elevators and lifts.
Safety And Reliability
To paraphrase a certain sports figure, "Safety isn't the main thing, it's the only thing." If your lift isn't safe to use, its purpose is not only defeated but reversed - what was meant to help now itself becomes a hazard.
How can you be sure a lift has all the necessary systems implemented correctly to ensure years of safe, reliable operation? If you're a qualified installer, your training and experience make it easy. If not, you can only follow the instruction sheet as well as possible and hope for the best. There are many sad stories of people who "hoped for the best" and ended up with tragic accidents, resulting in injury or even death.
Service, Parts, And Warranty
Before buying a stair lift online to install yourself, call the dealer and ask the following question: "What will I do if I need parts three years down the road?" You may not find the answer terribly satisfactory. The fact is, your local stair lift installer may not want to work on a self-installed unit, and the manufacturer probably won't even talk to you because you aren't a qualified installer. You may also find that your lift's advertised warranty is no good, for the same reason. All of which leaves you back where you started, hunting on the Internet for what you need - while your lift sits idle, or worse.