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What Do You Do If Your Stairlift Breaks Down? Stairlifts are an essential part of the home for many. Those who are elderly and/or disabled rely on them every day in order to get from one floor of the house to another. This means that when your stairlift breaks down, you’re going to be stuck with a nightmare of a situation.

Without a fully functioning stairlift, you will likely be unable to carry out your day-to-day routine. You’ll either by stuck upstairs, unable to get down, or stuck downstairs, unable to get up! Thus, knowing what to do when it breaks down is imperative.

Many people will immediately start to panic. Not only because it’s inconvenienced them, but also because things that break down typically lead to hassle and expenditure. This doesn’t have to be the case. If you follow the guidance below, you may find a more practical solution to the problem.

Is it Completely Broke, Or Can You Fix it?

As mentioned above, the first thing people tend to do is panic and assume their stairlift has completely broken down. But, this isn’t always the case. 9 times out of 10 the problem is fixable and can be checked by either yourself or a loved one. There’s no need to spend money and time getting a professional round when you could fix it in a matter of minutes.

So, what should you check?

Is it switched on?

No matter how obvious it sounds, this should always be the first thing to check. A plug could easily have come lose or a switch could have been turned off by a passerby (person or pet!) without you noticing. Different stairlifts will work in different ways. Start by checking the plug socket and then look for the on switch. If yours functions differently, e.g. if it needs a key, check this too.

If you can’t locate the main power supply, get some assistance. You could either ring up the supplier and ask over the phone, ask a friend to come over or retrieve the instructions manual.

Does it have any power?

Some stairlifts will operate on a battery or power pack. If yours does, check to see if it’s fully charged. There will usually be an LED indicator that flashes red if it’s flat. In the event that something has gone wrong and it’s lost charge, all you’ll need to do is re-charge it!

Is it the chair?

The most integral part of any stairlift is the seat you sit on. Occasionally, the stairlift may be in working order and it’s simply the seat that is causing the issue. Ensure the chair is upright and isn’t facing the wall. Swivel seats should be in the travelling position. Something could also be trapped (e.g. the seatbelt) which is causing an obstruction.

Are there any obstructions?

Following on from the previous point, there may be an obstruction somewhere that is stopping the stairlift from moving. If you’ve already checked the chair itself, take a look at the rail and see if you notice something that shouldn’t be there. If you notice an obstruction, get rid of it and test the stairlift again.

Is it the remote?

You may think that the entire stairlift has broken down, when it’s actually just the remote. Just like when you think the TV has broken but the remote has just run out of batteries! So first of all, check to see if the remote needs new batteries. If it doesn’t, check to see that none of the buttons have got stuck and simply can’t be pressed down. If it looks like this may be the case, you can get a new remote sent to you by the stairlift provider.

Does your stairlift also operate using a joystick? You may find that the stairlift works when you use a secondary operating system (such as the remote) as opposed to this one. The joystick can easily be fixed by a proffesional.

Have you checked the safety switches?

Your stairlift should have built-in safety switches in the event that any major problems arise. These switches could have been turned on or put into lock mode, preventing it from moving at all. You can usually find these:

  • On the top of the carriage
  • On the bottom of the carriage
  • Up and down the footplate
  • On the front cover of the footplate

Is their a warning signal?

Just like if you were driving a faulty car, a warning signal should appear if there is a serious problem with your stairlift. You may see a flashing light, or most commonly you will hear a very annoying beeping sound. A series of beeps that you don’t usually hear may indicate that your stairlift has broken down. If you’ve noticed this, you will need to call a professional.

As well as listening out for warning beeps, you should also try to pay attention to the general sound of the stairlift. Does it sound a lot clunkier than usual? Is there a grinding noise as it tries to move up and down? These are also signs that it may be breaking down and needs to be taken care of by an expert.

To Summarise

As you can see, there are a lot of minor issues which can easily checked and fixed without an engineer. Although it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that your stairlift has broken down and needs fixing or replacing, it’s much easier to take a look at it yourself.

If you’ve gone through the above checklist and are still facing problems, it’s time to call for help. Depending on how long you’ve had the stairlift for, and the terms at which you purchased it, you may be able to get it fixed under warranty. In the event that your stairlift has completely broken down and will need a serious fix, ask for a quote.

Ultimately, caring for your stairlift is the most vital step you can take. Regularly maintaining it will make problems more avoidable and will save you the headache of it breaking down.