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Battery Powered Stair Lifts vs AC Powered Stair Lifts

Stair lifts are devices that are attached to the treads of staircases to safely move someone who is elderly or disabled up or down the stairs. They consist of a track, usually made of aluminum, a chair attached to the track, and the electronic controls that make the chair move up or down the track. Stair lifts are powered by alternating current (AC), which is hooked up to the household electrical system, or with direct current (DC), which uses a battery that recharges from the household electrical system, and does not require use of home electricity to work properly.

The biggest danger with AC powered stair lifts is that during a power failure, the stair lift will not function. Early versions of stair lifts were all AC powered. Trailing electrical cables presented tripping hazards, and the lifts moved in a jerky, start-stop manner due to the nature of the AC powered motor. At that time there wasn't much choice because battery technology had not advanced as far as it has today. Today, DC powered stair lifts that only recharge from the household supply of electricity are the most popular lift chair designs. With DC powered stair lifts, if the power goes out, the battery can't charge, but the lift will still be functional until the battery's charge runs out. These models are quieter than AC models, too.

While the maintenance of mobility in the event of a power outage is a huge advantage of a DC stair lift system, that advantage is tempered by the cost of replacing batteries every 12 to 18 months, which can run up to $100 a pop for most stair lift batteries. On the other hand, DC stair lifts make less of a demand on the home electricity system, meaning that electric bills will be somewhat lower for DC powered lifts.

The batteries of a DC powered stair lift charge in one of two methods: station charging or the use of a charge strip. With station charging, permanent charging stations are positioned at each end of the rail. Charge strips allow the lift to charge at any point along the track. Today's rechargeable batteries are reliable and hold a charge better than old models. The typical stair lift battery will stay charged through about 8 trips up and down the track, though it will vary based on how long the staircase is and how heavy the person it is transporting is.

Battery packs come as a sealed unit that is maintenance free. Eventually, however, it will lose its ability to hold a charge and need to be replaced. the battery packs attach to the stair lift or are externally mounted near the charge station. It is a good idea to check the cost of batteries when choosing a stair lift, because they will have to be replaced eventually.

Stair lift technology has moved away from the use of household AC power to use of rechargeable DC battery packs. While the batteries recharge on the household current, the lift does not require the household current in order to work, allowing use of the lift during power outages and resulting in a much smoother and quieter ride.

About Author Randy McIntire :

Randy McIntire is a writer of consumer guides for mobility products such as bath lifts, lift chairs, mobility scooters, and of course, stair lifts. For more information, please visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> .

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Article Added on Friday, September 18, 2009
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