Now people’s life has become increasingly dependent on elevators. Before you start to install an elevator first you should understand it. You might be considering investing a home elevator, but have little idea about elevator cost or which drive system, gate type, cab area and door configuration is right for you.
Before calling an elevator contractor, it is wise to learn a little about components of a home elevator, which can save you money and ensure a home elevator to serve your needs well for years to come.
If you have the impression that putting an elevator shaft in your home is as simple as cutting a hole in the floor, think again. A typical home elevator hoistway consists of two or more fairly large closets, stacked one per level, with the floor/ceiling layer between them removed. Some elevator design also requires a machine room (see below) about the same size as one of the closets. Most home structures need little to no additional reinforcement to support an elevator, apart from two vertical columns running top to bottom on one side of the shaft interior. For most residential elevator design, a “pit” of 6 to 14 inches is also required below the lowest level, and additional headroom (extending into the attic) may be required above the top for the shaft.
How much floor space is needed for a residential elevator? According to American building codes, no home elevator cab can be larger than 18 square feet on its interior. Generally, a shaft 5 feet square is sufficient to hold this largest permitted size of elevator cab. In very small homes where not even 25 square feet per floor can be spared, a smaller cab is used sometimes.
A machine room may or may not be needed for your home elevator depending on the drive type you select. Hydraulic systems do require an elevator machine room, usually about 5 feet square (same size as the shaft itself) in the general vicinity of the elevator installation. Cable winding drum elevators require a similarly sized machine room, positioned adjacent to the topmost section of the hoistway.
Chain drive and inline gear drive elevators do not require a separate elevator machine room, making use of attic space instead. This is one of the chief benefits of chain drive: It takes up less usable space in your home.
An elevator system has both gates and doors. Gates are the accordion-fold barriers which are built into the cab and prevent the occupants from falling out while the elevator is in motion. The hoistway doors are built into the side of the shaft, as well as designed to keep people from falling into the shaft from outside, or sticking anything in the way of the elevator.