Frequently Asked Questions About Vertical Platform Lifts

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VPL FAQs
  • What is it? It is a machine to lift people - whether or not they are in a wheelchair, power chair or scooter - up or down to overcome a barrier. Vertical Platform Lifts (VPLs) are typically used to bypass stairs, or to provide access to porches and decks.
  • Why not just use a ramp? In order to meet codes and provide optimum safety for someone in a wheelchair, a ramp may be required to be 20 inches long for every 1 inch it rises. To get to a porch 4 feet high, you may need to install a ramp 80 feet in length to meet code. In addition, a 3’ x 3’ landing ‘rest area’ is required for every 3’ a ramp rises vertically. These requirements make ramps expensive, unsightly, and impractical in many applications.
  • How does a VPL work? Platform lifts have a large screw running the full height of the machine tower. In simplest terms, the screw spins, raising or lowering the attached platform.
  • Are VPLs safe? Yes, they are. National Codes have been established for the design of this equipment and require a host of safety devices to assure the safety of both the user and others near the lift. Buyers should find a lift manufacturer that has both FDA and either ETL or UL listings for the equipment. These assure the user that all safety considerations have been implemented.
  • Are VPLs difficult to install? Not really. There is some prep work that must be done on site prior to installing a VPL. A concrete pad (roughly 4’ x 5’) must be poured to support the equipment. Outside of that, most lifts operate off of regular household current (120 volts). The lift should be plugged into its own outlet to assure no drop in power occurs due to other household items being plugged into the same circuit.
  • Are VPLs difficult to operate? Not at all. A control on the platform has an up and down switch. Running the lift is as simple as pressing and holding the switch in until the user reaches their destination. The lift shuts off if the operator takes their finger off the control, enabling the operator to maintain total control of the lift during the entire travel.
  • Is any other equipment required? Each city, county and state has different regulations and codes. Generally speaking, a vertical platform lift requires a top landing gate (42” high door mounted on the porch or deck to prevent someone from stepping off the upper landing), call-sends (controls at the bottom and top landing outside the platform for use by an attendant), and a fascia panel (smooth surface to eliminate any shear points while travelling up to the top landing).
  • Since these are sometimes installed outside, is there any chance of getting shocked if it’s raining? No, you won’t get shocked; these are completely safe to use during or after rainfall. ETL or UL listed equipment has been tested for safety in rain and wet conditions to assure safety. AmeriGlide VPLs all have 24 volt (low voltage) controls to assure complete safety and are designed according to NEC (National Electrical Code) Standards.
  • What are the height and weight restrictions? AmeriGlide VPLs can lift up to 149” in height and accommodate up to 600 lbs.
  • What maintenance is required? The Owner’s Manual details required maintenance. Generally, cleaning and lubricating the unit annually is sufficient.
  • Where do I call for assistance with other questions?– Call today to speak to one of our vertical platform lift experts.
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