The M2 Vertical Platform Lift

Stairs, decks, porches and elevated platforms often pose a barrier to the elderly and people in wheelchairs, and ramps and/or home stair lifts may not be suitable for all applications. Vertical platform lifts (VPL)  are commercial or residential elevators that allow wheelchair users to move from one level of the building to another without leaving their assistive device.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, our M2 VPL makes accessibility convenient and affordable.  With a capacity of 750 lbs, the M2 lift easily accommodates a wheelchair or other mobility equipment. A complete solution, the M2 lift includes a flush solid gate for the top landing for your safety and code compliance.

Durably built with rust-resistant aluminum components, you can count on this lift to perform and look great for years to come – even in cold and coastal climates.

Ideal for home use as a porch or deck lift, the M2 lift installs quickly and is easy to operate. A reliable chain drive system provides smooth, quiet operation. It is available in 3 lifting heights: 40″, 60″ and 75″.

The M2 lift comes with several standard safety features including emergency stop button, under pan sensors to stop the lift operation (if an obstruction is detected in its path), alarm on car, and slack chain safety switch. A battery-operated unit charged through a standard electrical outlet allows the lift to be operated even during power outages.

We invite you to `contact us for more information about the M2 VPL.


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Going Up? Elevators Invade Suburban Homes

(by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Rhonda Fine’s morning ritual generally goes like this: Get out of bed, throw on sweats and wake up the dog for a walk. Pretty standard stuff except for one more step: She pushes a button in her third-floor bedroom for an elevator to take them to the ground floor.

Some house-hunters insist on gourmet kitchens, others on antique moldings or sprawling backyards. Now comes a new, even more ostentatious status symbol for the condo, townhouse and suburban home: the passenger elevator.  This isn’t just for the very old or the very rich. Nor is it just for those in very big homes: Elevator vendors say even some people in two-story homes are buying them.

Part of the interest results from the introduction of a smaller, less-expensive model that is much more practical for a single-family home. Called a pneumatic vacuum elevator, it was developed two years ago specifically for the residential market. A basic two-story or three-story pneumatic version will cost $20,000 to $28,000, including installation. Standard lilts run from $15,000 to $100,000.

Both the pneumatic variety and their more-expensive counterparts are increasingly enticing a variety of homeowners, from people who are too lazy to lug the laundry or the kids’ sports equipment up the stairs, to those who think the addition is a smart investment that will increase the value of their property. Then there are aging baby boomers whose interests run to both fashion and convenience: Elevators are cool contraptions, and it would be nice not to have to take those stairs when they get a little older. Other buyers are retirees who view them as a practical way to stay in their multistory homes.

When Ms. Fine noticed her 13-year-old dog, Max, was having trouble climbing stairs last year, she decided to purchase a Miami townhouse with an elevator just for him. “My children are 17 and 19-they can climb the stairs,” says Ms. Fine. vice president of a home-design firm. But, “Max is part of my family and he sleeps upstairs with me.”

The increase in sales of residential elevators is outpacing sales for apartment and office buildings at some companies, though sales overall are far smaller. In the past three years, Otis Elevator Co., one of the biggest elevator-makers in the U.S., has seen sales for individual homes or condos jump about 12% to 15% a year, compared with 3% to 5% a year for office and apartment buildings.  “Elevators used to be a very high-end thing,” says David Russo, vice president of Farmingdale, N.Y., elevator retailer Access Elevator Ltd., which has seen residential elevator sales grow 25% a year in the last five years. “But now they’re more of a swimming pool-type of item.”

The pneumatic lifts usually fit only one or two people and can be installed more quickly and inexpensively than regular elevators because they don’t require a shaft or a control room to house hydraulic machinery. They also take up less space.

The contraption basically consists of a tall, see-through tube, an enclosed cab, and an 11-inch pump box at the top. It moves up and down using the force of suction. “We’ve had a lot of yuppie customers who just think it’s cool,” says Dawn O’Connor of Daytona Elevator in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., which has installed about two a month since it began selling pneumatic elevators last year.

The old-fashioned variety can be considerably more expensive. Otis, for example, sells elevators with marble or oak paneling that can cost as much as $100,000.  Installation, including building a shaft, can set you back an additional $20,000 to $30,000. Also, you have to hire an architect to draw up plans for installation. Then, once the elevator is installed, you may have to get a permit for it, depending on where you live, which could cost an additional $200 to $1,000. In municipalities that have elevator inspectors, an inspection is required, too, which could tack on a few hundred dollars more.  Despite the expense, the National Association of Home Builders has noticed a growing interest in elevators in its yearly survey of homeowners, especially those with expensive homes. Last year, 25% of those surveyed who had homes valued at owners in an equivalent category said an elevator was a must or a want, says Gopal Ahluwalia, staff vice president for re­search.

In fact, developers, sensing an expanding market, are starting to put more in newly constructed homes in the first place. Waupaca Elevator Co., of Appleton, WI says 80% to 85% of its growth in single-family home elevator sales are to builders who are putting them in new homes. Some developers are building single-family homes with elevators as a way to maximize square footage on smaller plots of land. KB Home, for example, is currently building a set of four-story townhouses in Playa Vista, Calif., that come with elevators that extend from the garage to the fourth floor. Tom Di Prima, president of KB Home’s greater Los Angeles division, says the idea is to make multistory homes attractive to a wider net of home buyers. “Some people are not going to look at it if they don’t want to climb three sets of stairs every day-even young people,” he says.

Having an elevator in the home can bring hassles as well as convenience, starling of course with those who fear getting stuck in an elevator. If you are in the elevator and no one else is home, who is going to hear the emergency buzzer?  “Cellphones could work but you’d have to have your cell phone with you and you probably wouldn’t be carrying it around at home,” says Dan Quigley, director of marketing and business development for Otis in North and South America. He suggests installing a phone in the elevator, which could cost $50 to $200, and having an emergency contact handy.

Even the smallest versions of regular hydraulic elevators, which fit two to three people, will take up an average of 22 to 25 square feet of space on each floor. Hydraulic elevator mechanisms also require a pit that is at least six-inches deep beneath the elevator and, sometimes, a space about the size of a small closet for machinery.  Pneumatic elevators are 37 inches in diameter and don’t require a pit or a separate machine box. The current versions have doors that are about 20 inches wide, however, making it too small for a wheelchair to pass through. Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators LLC, a Miami maker of these new elevators, is planning to introduce a larger version in October. Because the pneumatic elevators are so new, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which writes safety codes for elevators in single-family homes hasn’t included it in its code yet. The organization says the elevators aren’t illegal- they are currently looking into writing new code that will address them.

Still, some elevator owners say the lifts have some perks that they hadn’t counted on. Ms. Fine finds the lift awfully welcoming at the end of a long day of wea1ing three-inch heels.  Evelyn Thompson recently installed an elevator in her two-story, single-family home in Port Orange, Fla., after her 84- year-old husband began having problems climbing the stairs after a series of back surgeries. Now she uses it regularly to transport laundry and cleaning supplies and to tote luggage upstairs when visitors arrive.  Besides, she adds: “My grandchildren think it’s the next best thing to Disney World.”


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Now is the Time to Make Sure Your Home is Ready for Holiday Visitors

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner! Now is a good time to start thinking about preparing your home for anticipated guests who may need a little help maneuvering the stairs. If you have elderly, disabled or injured friends or family that might need a ‘lift’ while they are visiting, a Liftavator stairlift might be the perfect option for you.

We have two great stairlift options at Liftavator. The K2 stairlift is your best choice for straight stairs in the home. With the smallest folded up size on the market, it is out of the way when not in use, yet ready to carry up to 350 lbs. whenever you need t, so it is a perfect option for the times when you have short-term guests in your home.

In addition, our SL-1000 stairlift works on straight stairs to glide up and down in comfort and safety using the onboard controls or with the help of remote-control operation, providing barrier-free access.  With its extra comfort seat, adjustable width arms and high capacity, this stairlift is feature-packed. The constant-charge battery operation means that your stairlift works even through a power failure giving you peace of mind.  The  SL-1000 installs quickly and easily and its onboard diagnostic display alerts you of any service issues.

Life can be difficult when you can’t get where you need to go. Liftavator can help you ensure that your guests can easily and comfortably get where they need to be in your home while they enjoy their visit with you.

Liftavator stairlifts are affordable and quick to install. We are always ready to help our clients realize their accessibility goals!


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Custom Elevator on Board a Personal Yacht

In 2002, Liftavator was approached by a client in his nineties who tasked us to engineer, build and install an elevator on his yacht in Manitowoc, WI. His one caveat was that the new elevator could not diminish his view from the yacht’s deck. Our engineers went to work with Burger Yacht and designed an interior luxury elevator that utilizes a two-stage hydraulic cylinder, negating the need for a deep pit, and services the upper deck.  Consistent with our commitment to top notch customer service, we service this elevator annually in various parts of the country depending on where is moored.  Additionally, the entire yacht was made accessible with many features such as wide doorways and accessible restrooms.


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A Smart Elevator!

A fascinating article from about what the future holds for “smart” elevators:

Many years ago I read the sci-fi-classic “the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I was intrigued by the scene of the elevator that could see in the future. The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Happy Vertical People Transporter has the capacity to see dimly into the immediate future, which enables the elevator to be on the right floor to pick you up even before you knew you wanted it. This way when you walk towards the elevator it just appears and already knows what floor to bring you to, so the waiting time is eliminated.

Back then it sounded totally impossible to me. How could an elevator know about the future? Only a human elevator-operator could add intelligence to an elevator, at least that was my experience back then.

But things have changed.

The first change I noticed some ten years ago, was that you had to enter the desired floor-number while calling the elevator. That way the elevator-system could plan the optimal route through the building and the group of elevators together works as optimal as possible. But although it was more efficient, that elevator wasn’t waiting for you when you walked towards it.

Nowadays, with RFID sensors omnipresent and all sorts of systems connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s quite easy to connect the access-gate of a building to the elevator-system. As soon as you enter the building the elevator knows you’re coming. So it can actually be waiting for you. But then it only knows you have arrived, it doesn’t know where you want to go. Or does it?

Most people have a desk at a certain floor. (Even most people that work in a flexible office still go to the same part of the building every day). So  the elevator-system can remember the floor you normally go to in the morning. This still can’t be called intelligence, it’s just remembering.

So what about the rest of the day, how does the elevator know where you’re going when you’re already in the building? Here comes machine learning.

The elevator can store all of your movements and from that, learns to predict where you want to go, based on your normal pattern. A coffee-machine-service-lady for example always goes up one floor every time and when she has reached the top-floor she goes all the way down again. Unfortunately most people are not as predictable as this.

Luckily again the Internet of Things will help us. Your smartphone holds your diary. Your diary says you have a meeting at the seventh floor, connect your smartphone to the elevator-system using IoT and  the elevator knows where you want to go.

But still this is not enough, because do you put “go home” in your diary every day? (I don’t 😉 Here big data comes in. The elevator remembers your behaviour and after some time knows that if you approach the elevator around 17:00 hrs and you don’t have an appointment you are obviously going home. Combine this big data solution with an IoT application that notifies the elevator that you have logged off your computer and the elevator is sure you are going home and thus want to go to the ground floor.

Real machine intelligence arises when the elevator system uses all data from sensors and systems, through IoT solutions, combines it with historical data on which it performs big data analytics and learns from previous experiences, to finally make intelligent decisions that will surprise people because your elevator really appears just before you realise you need it.

So the  combination of all modern technologies, machine learning, IoT, Big data analytics and machine intelligence makes the elevator a state of the art type of robot that uses all kinds of input to be at your service. Although it cannot actually see in the future, it comes really close.

But although it all sounds nice, as you know people sometimes (want to) do unexpected things, so you will still want some sort of possibility to override the choice of the elevator, just like Zaphod and Marvin needed to convince the elevator to go to the 15th floor  in the scene from the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

Because the intelligence of the elevator is very helpful but does it totally replace human intelligence?

(source:, by Rik Marselis)


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Will Your Senior Loved Ones Feel Safe in Your Home this Holiday Season?

The holidays are a time of fun and celebration, but some elements of the season may be hazardous to elderly family members.

This is the time of year when families and friends come together to reconnect, to enjoy each other’s company, and to celebrate traditions. These holiday events often include beloved elderly family members and friends. Whether these senior guests will be staying overnight with you, or just attending a gathering for a few hours, it’s important to make your home as safe as possible for their visit.

Before your senior guests arrive, ask about specific preparations you can make to ensure their safety. It’s better to inquire in advance, not only so you can be prepared, but to also avoid putting your guest on the spot during the gathering.

Safety Issues to Consider

If you’re anticipating elderly relatives to visit for the holidays, do all you can to set your home up with them in mind. Remember: What might not be a hazard for you may be a big one for them! Make sure your home is safe enough for them to move around freely without risk of falling.

Tripping hazards should be a top concern. Look at your rugs or carpets: Would it be easy for an older person to trip on the edges or to slip and lose traction? Ensure your elderly loved ones can get around in your home with ease by removing or rearranging furniture as needed. Is there enough room for her walker or wheelchair? If they are staying overnight, it’s best to offer a guest room on the first floor so that use of stairs is taken out of the equation.

Holiday lights are festive and candles are romantic, but neither provide adequate light for people with decreased night vision. Overnight guests unfamiliar with your home will appreciate night lights to illuminate the path from the bedroom, down the hallway to the bathroom. Night lights in the kitchen area may also be helpful for those in need of a late-night beverage or snack. (If you choose festive holiday nightlights, be sure they are adequately bright.)

Here are a few more easy, thoughtful preparations to make:

Remove obstacles and clutter that could cause a fall. Falls are a serious issue for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of all people aged 65 or older will fall each year, and many of these seniors are seriously injured. Try and remove clutter quickly—have other family members help pick up wrapping paper, boxes, and bows and make sure new toys for the little ones are not left out as a tripping hazard.

Deck the halls—safely! Position the Christmas tree or other decorations out of the main footpath of the home. And remember, wrapping greenery or strands of holiday lights around bannisters and handrails creates a hazard for guests who might need extra support and stability on the stairs.

Be aware of winter weather hazards. Clear snow and ice from the driveway, walkways, stairs, and sidewalks. If walks are slippery or outdoor lighting is inadequate, accompany senior guests from the car and into the home.

Remember mealtime safety. If you will be serving a meal or refreshments, learn ahead of time whether your guest has dietary concerns or problems with eating, chewing, or swallowing so you can offer foods that your guest can easily and safely eat.

Even for a short visit, consider simple home modifications. Ask your elderly guest or a family caregiver if you should purchase or rent further modifications, such as a raised toilet seat or grab bars for the shower.

Making a Safety Assessment

Maybe your elderly parents or guests are not coming to your home for the holidays. If you’re heading home for Christmas it’s a great opportunity to observe your parents’ physical and mental health to determine if they’re thriving or require greater assistance.

“You’re looking for any obvious signs of change,” says Roger Baumgart, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. For example, it’s clearly a red flag if your typically well-groomed mother has stains on her dress and disheveled hair, and she’s not self-conscious about this. Watching your parent cross the room can be revealing as well, says Baumgart. “Are they as mobile? Are they struggling more to get out of a chair? Can they still climb the stairs?”

Look around your loved ones’ house or apartment to see if it still meets their needs as they age. Sometimes simple fixes can make homes more age friendly, like changing out door and cabinet hardware to levers, installing grab bars in bathrooms, or even a ramp and railing at the front entrance.

Old age or certain medical conditions, such as diabetic nerve pain, arthritis, degradation of joints and ligaments, or loss of bone or muscle mass, can cause aches and pains in the lower extremities. No matter the cause, this kind of pain can make going up and down stairs a near-impossible process. If your loved one is experiencing discomfort or simple balance issues when climbing stairs to the point it’s limiting their independence, it may be time to consider a chairlift. No one should suffer to move around their home.

When Modifications are Needed

As our parents and grandparents age, it’s natural for them to find it a bit harder to get around on their own. Often, they find that getting from point A to point B can become challenging as each year passes. But less mobility does not automatically mean less independence. Many seniors maintain a safe and independent lifestyle with various home health aids for many years.

A popular and practical aid for many seniors is a chairlift, a collapsible chair attached to a mechanical device that lifts a person up and down a set of stairs. Some are worried that installing a chairlift will block the landing, or take up too much room, or prevent other family members or guests from using the stairs. But, in truth, installation is quite discreet—with no damage or changes to the structure of the home—and systems are designed with folding seats and foot rests to ensure a minimal amount of space is used.

For seniors who can no longer live alone, children or other family often open their own homes as a better living situation. For many, it only takes a few easy modifications to drastically improve safety. A chairlift is one of the quickest and easiest solutions for an elderly loved one’s mobility and can provide peace of mind for everyone—no more worry about leaving Mom or Dad home alone!

The holidays are here, and it’s going to be a festive and busy time until the end of the year. The season may already be demanding enough as it is, but we must look out for our senior loved ones even more during this time. Let’s make sure to make life as safe as possible, whether in their home or ours.

For more information on residential and commercial elevators, stairlifts, vertilifts, ramps, and more, visit or call (252) 634-1717 today.

(Sources: AARP; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;; Advance Ohio; Avila Home Care; North Star Senior Advisors; Home Hero, Inc.; and Right at Home, Inc.)


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Is Your Home Elevator Safe Enough?

Is Your Home Elevator Up to Code?

Home elevators are becoming an increasingly common sight in homes across the country. Quality of life is greatly improved with the installation of a home elevator: Older Americans can stay in their homes much longer while maintaining independence and the mobility challenges of countless disabled individuals are eased significantly.

The Doors are the Difference

While the home elevator performs the same job as a commercial elevator, it features one key difference: Instead of a single set of doors that open on the platform and close once you are inside, the home elevator uses an exterior hoistway door and a gate for the elevator car.

With home elevators, the exterior door locks automatically when closed; this action also clears all safety locks—allowing the operation of the elevator. If a child happens to become trapped in the gap between the two doors, serious injury can occur if someone on another floor presses the call button.

Mind the Gap

But why have a gap at all? The simplest answer is cost and (if you can believe it) safety. Several types of home elevator gates are available, but the accordion-fold type of door (right) is the most common choice when the elevator is installed. As you might expect, this door folds like an accordion and requires enough space between it and the exterior door to work properly. Unfortunately, this space, if too large, is what can lead to injury.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), created what is most often called the 3” x 5” rule several years ago to address this safety issue. The rule implied that there should be no more than five inches between the exterior door and the gate to prevent a child from becoming trapped. While this change dramatically improved safety, sporadic accidents still occurred.

Mere Inches Make a Difference

Last year the ASME recognized the need for further improvements to the code and made several additional safety revisions. The focus of these updates is to decrease the gap between the hoistway door and the outside elevator car door—further reducing the possibility of an accident. The ASME now requires that:

  • The space between the hoistway door and the car door is no more than four inches and will reject a four-inch diameter ball at all points along the gate.
  • The distance from the inside face of the hoistway/exterior door to the inside edge of the doorsill can be no more than ¾” to minimize the possible “give” of the accordion-fold door and reduce the chance that a child can become trapped. 
  • Any car door must be able to withstand a force of 75 pounds without warping or displacing the car door from its guide tracks. This rule will ensure small children are not able to wedge themselves between the two doors.

Make the Call

Liftavator, always focused on safety, is adopting these new code changes in all new installations. If your home elevator was installed prior to 2017, we encourage you to call and speak with a representative to learn if your system is in compliance. If not, we would be happy to schedule a quick inspection. Thankfully, several options are available to update a non-compliant elevator and we can discuss each option and determine what will best work for you and your family. 

It is recommended that if your home elevator has more space than the new safety rule allows it should be shut down and disabled as soon as possible. When it comes to the safety of your children, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

About Liftavator

Liftavator, the number-one source for residential, limited use/limited application (LU/LA) in North Carolina, designs, builds, and installs only the highest quality elevators and platform lifts. In addition to the company’s revolutionary designs and ideas, it offers a 90-day guarantee on all labor and materials. Liftavator doesn’t consider a job complete until the customer is 100% satisfied.

For more information on residential and commercial elevators, stairlifts, vertilifts, ramps, and more, visit or call (252) 634-1717 today.

(Sources: Liftavator Inc.; Savaria Corporation; National Elevator Industry, Inc.; The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME); N.C. Department of Labor; and


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