Written by Stannah at 25-07-2022
How does a stairlift work? Does it run on batteries? How long do stairlift batteries last, and what’s involved in a stairlift battery replacement?
These are all important questions for anyone who owns a stairlift, and we answer them all in our new article about stairlift batteries.
1. How does a stairlift work?
Traditionally, stairlifts use a battery-powered rack and pinion drive system. For this system to work correctly, when you press the stairlift’s control to go to the floor you want, the stairlift’s motor must turn the gear that is meshed into the geared strip on the rail
If you wish to return to the floor where you were, you just need to press the control, and the motor turns the gear again, reversing its direction so that the stairlift moves in the opposite direction.
2. Do stairlifts have batteries?
Yes, they do. When travelling up and down the stairs, Stannah stairlifts always rely on batteries, which use very little power and allow you to keep using the stairlift even if there is a power failure.
When fully charged, Stannah stairlift batteries can handle between 15 and 20 trips, depending on the length of the stairs.
It’s one of the reasons why the stairlift should always be connected to a power source, such as a standard electrical socket, to ensure that it is working correctly and that the batteries incorporated in the stairlift are fully charged.
This way, you can rest assured that even if there is a power outage, you will never be stuck in the middle of the stairs or on one of the house’s floors.
What type of batteries does a Stannah stairlift use?
Stannah stairlifts have two 12V 7 Ah rechargeable batteries connected in a series to power a 24V DC motor. This motor has enough power to ensure that the stairlift can travel up to 12 metres or more.
Stannah stairlift batteries are VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries). Because they are designed to keep the electrolyte captive, they are protected against spillage, even if the battery is punctured.
These batteries are considered one of the safest on the market today, so they’re quite popular and frequently used by different manufacturers.
3. Where are the stairlift batteries located?
The batteries in Stannah stairlifts are stored in a compartment inside the stairlift itself. This location has been chosen to ensure the safety of anyone using the stairlift.
It’s also for safety reasons that this compartment is closed and bolted down, so there is no risk of it opening during travel.
4. How can I charge my stairlift batteries?
The batteries for Stannah stairlifts can be charged automatically at different points:
- When the stairlift is parked correctly at the charging point, either at the top or bottom of the stairs
- Or when moving along the rail, as in the case of Stannah straight stairlifts.
You just have to ensure power flows from the socket the stairlift is connected to, usually located next to the stairs.
Will my stairlift work if there is a power outage?
Yes. All the different models of Stannah stairlifts will work even during a power outage.
As we said earlier, if there is a sudden power cut and the stairlift batteries are fully charged, you can make between 15 and 20 trips.
The number of trips you can make while your power doesn’t come back will depend on the length of the stairs, i.e. the distance the stairlift travels between one floor and the next.
If you think the power outage may go on for a while, you can turn off your stairlift to save battery power by setting the isolator switch to “OFF”. In this situation, switch the lift on only when you really need to move to another floor.
However, if you keep your stairlift turned off for long, it will not be able to charge its batteries, and eventually, the stairlift will stop working.
5. How can I increase the lifespan of my stairlift batteries?
Whenever you are not using the stairlift, make sure it is parked at the charging point with the isolator switch in the “ON” position.
You should also use the stairlift regularly to keep the batteries active and in good working order.
If you have to be away from home for several days or even months, it’s worth asking someone that you absolutely trust to come by the house and use the stairlift once in a while.
The maintenance visit is also an excellent way to ensure that the stairlift keeps working as it should be. During this visit, we can check the condition of the batteries and if there is anything that can be done to make them last longer.
Should I switch off my stairlift to save the battery?
No. If the stairlift is turned off for a long time, the batteries won’t charge and may even become fully discharged.
We strongly advise against switching off the stairlift unless it’s an emergency. When we talk about an emergency situation, we mean:
- During prolonged power outages, you may have to use the stairlift several times before the power returns, and the batteries can be recharged properly.
- If the stairlift is outside its charging point and it malfunctions, you should turn off the stairlift.
6. How long do stairlift batteries last?
Under normal conditions, Stannah stairlift batteries generally last around 3 to 5 years, depending on how you use the equipment and if the stairlift is often left off its charging point.
We can’t stress this enough – if you often leave the stairlift parked outside its charging point, the batteries will not last very long and may even get damaged. So never leave your stairlift too long off its charging point!
7. How do I know if it’s time to replace the batteries in my stairlift?
During maintenance visits, Stannah technicians carry out tests on your stairlift batteries. With these tests, our technicians will know how long the batteries are still good for or whether it’s time to replace them.
Regardless of the maintenance visit, there are some signs you can look out for that may indicate that the batteries need to be replaced. For example:
- The stairlift starts moving slower than usual;
- The stairlift stops while travelling upstairs and starts again after a few seconds;
- The batteries don’t charge, even when the stairlift is parked at the charging point.
8. How can I know if my stairlift batteries are working correctly?
If your stairlift is working as it did on the day it was installed, you should have nothing to worry about. But if you have any doubts about the condition of your stairlift’s batteries, it’s best to get in touch with us.
Our technician will perform diagnostic tests, such as using a battery metre to check whether the batteries are charging normally.
Other diagnostic tests can also be performed to ensure that no additional problems may compromise the stairlift.
How can I test my stairlift batteries?
If you don’t have any technical knowledge about stairlift batteries, it’s best not to do any testing on your own and leave it to a professional technician.
Even without wanting to, you may damage your stairlift batteries or other essential stairlift components.
If you want to check the condition of your stairlift’s batteries, you can contact the Stannah support team, and we will be happy to help you.
Why is my stairlift moving slower?
The unusual slowness of your stairlift may be a sign that the batteries are reaching their end.
If your stairlift is no longer moving at the same speed, contact us and ask for a technician to come to your house and check if your stairlift batteries need replacing.
9. How can I change the batteries in my stairlift?
Do I have to hire a professional technician or can I change the batteries myself?
Replacing stairlift batteries may not seem very complicated. Still, it can become a real headache if you have no training or technical experience in dealing with this equipment.
When replacing the batteries of a stairlift, the technician has to dismantle some parts of the stairlift, remove the old batteries and install a new battery pack.
The technician must know all the components of the stairlift inside out. And it’s equally important that they install the new batteries with the correct voltage so that the stairlift’s functioning is not compromised in any way.
The technician must also know how to put all the stairlift parts back in place, ensuring that the equipment can be used again safely.
Where are old stairlift batteries stored?
When the old stairlift batteries are removed by Stannah technicians, they are taken back to our warehouse.
Then they are collected by companies that specialise in recycling these products.
Never throw stairlift batteries in the bin. Old batteries must be separated out and should never be mixed with your dry mixed recyclables.
Batteries that are not recycled properly can contaminate the other waste and be extremely harmful to humans and the environment.
10. How much do stairlift batteries cost?
The best way to find out the exact price of replacement batteries for your stairlift is to get in touch with our team at Stannah.
Your batteries may be covered by the initial stairlift’s warranty or included in an extended service plan.
Can Stannah help me replace the batteries in my stairlift?
Yes, of course we can! Our expert technicians are ready to help you and answer any questions about the maintenance of Stannah stairlift batteries and other stairlift components.
You can also contact us to find out whether the batteries of your stairlift are covered by the Stannah warranty and under which conditions.
Our distributor’s technical support team has nationwide coverage and is available by phone. If you prefer, you can fill in our support form online, and one of our customer care advisors will get back to you as soon as possible.
After all, who better to help you than Stannah, a stairlift manufacturer with over 150 years of mobility experience?
Our goal is to help you enjoy the freedom and independence that only a Stannah stairlift can offer you. So don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you!