Plain and Simple – No One! If you should come across an advertisement or have a sales representative claim to have a stair lift with a “battery back-up” you can scratch them off your list of Honest Dealers and look elsewhere. In the recent past, several stair lift companies used printed advertising (both in magazine ads and internet ads) until they were threatened with a law suit for false advertising. Still today, the representatives of those companies will verbally talk about the “battery back-up” in their presentations and sales pitches. This is a major RED FLAG and you should avoid these dealers entirely. If they are attempting to deceive you from the start … what do you think happens when you need service or have warranty issues.
The fact is – you have two choices of power. You either get a straight A/C model that simply plugs into a standard wall outlet and takes about 6 amps to run (less energy than a vacuum cleaner) or you get a D/C model which has two 12 volt/7 amp batteries in it. What you must understand is this – when the power goes out … an A/C system will NOT work. With that said, you must also understand when the batteries fail (and they will) the system will NOT work. No one makes a system that will work in all power situations! You will have to make a choice. If you live in an area where the power rarely goes out, you might consider an A/C system. An A/C system is less expensive and has less maintenance and no circuit board to fail. However, if you live in an area that may be prone to power outages, a D/C system may be the better choice.
The best way to insure you have a working stair lift if you have an A/C unit – get a back-up generator (either stand alone or whole house). The best way to insure you have a working stair lift if you have a D/C unit – change your batteries every three years. Do not wait for them to fail. Simply mark your calendar and replace. The batteries are fairly common these days, especially if you have a large battery store nearby. These are the same batteries used in computer back-up systems. There are two batteries in each D/C powered stair lift system and they cost about $25-30 each. If you get in a panic and they have to be shipped – be aware they are rather heavy and ever since 9/11 – they can only be shipped by ground. If you do not plan ahead, you could be without your stair lift for several days.
Another thing to take note of – look at the warranty provided by the distributor/manufacturer, if they only warranty the battery for a year and yet they tell you the batteries are good for five to six years … you simply have to wonder. Yes, another RED FLAG! Work with a company that has a minimum warranty of two years on their batteries – lifetime warranty on everything else … including the circuit board. We also strongly suggest you get a high quality surge protector to protect your circuit board during a lightning strike.