Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about our elevators and lifts. If you cannot find your answer below, simply reach out to our advisors. We have decades of experience and will be sure to find the answers you need to confidently move forward.

Home Elevators

How much do home elevators cost?

The price of a home elevator depends on its drive, configuration, site preparation, and optional upgrades. You can expect the cost of a home elevator to start at $35,000.

Do you have a showroom where I can see a home elevator installed?

Yes! Schedule a visit to our Lisle, IL showroom and take a ride on our elevators and lifts. Call us to schedule an appointment and one of our advisors will be happy to walk you through your options.

Is there a standard size for an elevator or can I get a custom size?

The standard size for residential elevators include 36”(W) x48”(L) and 40”(W) x 54”(L). However, we generally customize our units to each individual home at no additional cost for units up to 15 square ft. Options available, subject to code, for up to 18 square ft.

What is the weight capacity on a residential elevator?

Residential elevators typically have a capacity of 950 to 1,000 lbs.

What is the height at which the elevator can travel and how many stops can I have?

Residential elevators are allowed up to 50’ of travel as measured from the lowest landing to the uppermost landing finished floor. Our elevators can have upwards of 6 individual stops.

Can I have more than one entrance on my elevator?

Yes, multiple entrances allow for entering and exiting the elevator through separate doors on different landings. You may have two opposing entrances; enter and exit at the front and side for two 90 degree openings; or you can enter/exit on a single side as in a traditional elevator.

What type of machine room area do I need?

There are two styles that can be designed with your installation including a ‘shallow’ style at 24”x48” or a ‘walk-in’ style at 48”x48”.

What type of drive systems does the elevator need to run?

We offer hydraulic systems and mechanical in-line gear drives. Each drive system has unique advantages depending upon the user. Our advisors can help you determine the right one for your home.

What happens if there is power failure?

In a power failure, our elevators have battery-operated safety features to make certain passengers are never stranded between floors. Emergency lighting comes on and the controlled safety descent feature will take the car to the nearest lower floor or in some models to a specific pre-selected floor. Some manufacturers do not equip their elevator with battery-operated descent capabilities, so be sure to inquire as you shop around.

What stops the hall door from opening while the elevator is not there or in operation?

Interlocks at each hall door, also known as hoistway doors, allow the door to open only when the car is at that landing. The door cannot open otherwise.

Can I get automatic door/gate operators on my elevator?

Yes, you can get automatic operators on the car gates and/or the hall doors on each landing, also known as hoistway doors. Automatic gate operators are the most frequent selection among our customers.

Is a cylinder installed under the ground on hydraulic units?

No, hydraulic cylinders are located above ground between the rails.

Is the in-line gear drive unit noisy?

No, in-line gear drives are quiet and also offer smooth gradual starting and stopping.

Can the machine be above the unit to avoid the need for a separate machine room?

Yes, in-line gear drives are specifically designed to place the machine above the elevator in the shaft for maximum space efficiency.

What are the electrical supply requirements?

2 circuits, 1 – 30 amp 220 vac, 1 – 15 amp 110 vac. Amperage varies by drive system and manufacturer.

Can the elevator match my home décor?

We offer a wide range of wood species, finishes, fixtures and more to match your style.

How long does it take to manufacture and install an elevator?

After the order is placed it can take 4 – 5 weeks to manufacture the elevator to specifications. Once the site is fully prepared, our technicians can typically install an elevator in 3 days.

How much service do your units require?

We follow the manufacturer’s recommended planned maintenance schedule which calls for two planned maintenance visits per year.

How can I plan for a future elevator in my new home?

Best option is to work with your architect, builder and elevator company to ensure the home is equipped with an elevator-ready elevator shaft. Until the elevator is eventually needed, the space can be used as closets, each closet aligned vertically.

How long have you been in business?

Operating for over 45 years, DME is long established in the communities we serve.

If I’m considering a home elevator, when should I call you?

As soon as you start thinking about an elevator in the home. DME can provide design information and advise you on the best location. We’re accustomed to working with architects and home builders from inception of drawings to the finished result. We partner with your team throughout the entire process.

Will you come to my home to help locate and design an area best suited for my elevator?

Yes, we would be happy to visit your home with no obligation. Please contact us or send us a request form.

LULA Elevators

What is the difference between a LULA elevator and a Residential Elevator or a Commercial Passenger Elevator?

LULA stands for Limited Use/Limited Application. LULAs, as compared to commercial passenger elevators, are more compact, less costly and have lower capacity. LULAs also meet ADA codes, whereas residential elevators are not required to meet national accessibility standards. LULAs are an excellent option for commercial installations of a certain size and, oftentimes, can fit more easily into existing construction, as compared to traditional passenger elevators.

How high can a LULA Elevator travel?

A LULA (Limited Use Limited Application) elevator can travel up to 25’. LULAs are great for low rise public buildings that have limited space and don’t require the speed and weight capacity of a commercial passenger elevator.

What types of buildings can have a LULA elevator?

LULA elevators are often found in low rise buildings such as houses of worship, schools, park districts, libraries, and small office buildings.

What are the standard dimensions on a LULA elevator cab?

The standard sizes for a LULA elevator are 42”x54” and 48”x54”. However, we customize our units to fit virtually any shaft dimension, using additional sizes of 42”x60” or 51”x51”.

What is the weight capacity on a LULA elevator?

1400 lbs.

Can I get a wood cab in a LULA elevator?

Yes, various wood interiors are available to match the commercial building’s décor. Many are similar in luxury and appeal to those found in custom homes.

Can I have more than one entrance on a LULA?

Yes, multiple entrances allow for entering and exiting the elevator through separate doors on different landings. You may have two opposing entrances; enter and exit at the front and side for two 90 degree openings; or you can enter/exit on a single side as in a traditional elevator.

How big of a machine area do I need?

Typically a 48”x54” machine room adjacent to the elevator shaft is desired.

What happens if there is power failure?

In a power failure, a battery-operated safety feature makes sure passengers are never stranded between floors. Emergency lighting comes on and the controlled safety descent feature automatically takes the car to the next lowest floor.

Is a cylinder installed under the ground on hydraulic units?

No, hydraulic cylinders are located above ground, sitting on the pit floor between the rails.

What are the electrical supply requirements?

2 circuits, 1 – 30 amp 220 vac single or three phase, 1 – 15 amp 110 vac. Amperage varies by drive system and manufacturer.

How long does it take to manufacture a LULA elevator?

Approximately 6 – 8 weeks after the drawings are approved.

How long does it take to install a LULA elevator?

Most are installed within 2 week’s time.

How much service do your units require?

We align our maintenance schedule with the manufacturer’s recommendation, typically we see the equipment 2-4 times a year. This can vary depending on usage. Our visits include lubrication and examination of all critical moving parts. You are also required by your local government agency to perform annual safety testing to ensure the elevator is operating according to set safety standards.

Will you come to my building to help locate and design an area best suited for a LULA elevator?

Yes, we would be glad to walk through the site and discuss your options. There is no obligation. Please contact us or send us a request form.

Wheelchair Lifts

When is a vertical platform lift a better choice than an incline platform lift?

The space available often dictates whether a vertical or incline platform is best suited. Where space is available, a vertical lift offers substantially more lifting capacity and versatility. The decision may also be driven by the shape and width of the stairway.

What’s the difference between a vertical wheelchair lift and an incline wheelchair lift?

A vertical wheelchair lift travels in a straight line up and down. Incline wheelchair lifts travel at an angle usually along a set of stairs.

What are the custom options for wheelchair lifts?

Wheelchair lifts are powder-coated and come with optional add-ons for a customized look and feel. Customized door and gate options, along with telephones and emergency lighting, are also available.

Are wheelchair lifts difficult to operate?

Not at all! Our wheelchair lifts are designed with your comfort in mind. Try one out for a spin at our Lisle, IL showroom by simply calling us to set us an appointment.

How high can a commercial vertical wheelchair lift travel?

Commercial vertical wheelchair lifts (VPLs) can travel 14’ from the lower finished floor to the upper finished floor.

How high can a residential vertical wheelchair lift travel?

For outdoor low-rise applications, typically utilizing an unenclosed vertical wheelchair lift model and used in conjunction with porches and garage stairs, the maximum travel distance is 72” (6 ft). Taller applications utilizing a vertical platform lift are typically enclosed and can travel up to 14’.

What is the weight capacity of a vertical wheelchair lift?

Weight capacity is limited by code with most vertical wheelchair lift models rated for 750 lbs.

How big of a platform size can I get?

Code limits the maximum size at 18 sq ft. Standard model sizes start out at approximately 36” wide x 54” long, although many other optional sizes are available to best fit your application’s needs.

How much room does a commercial vertical wheelchair platform take?

It can vary depending upon a certain design criteria, yet on average about 4 1/2’ x 5’.

Do commercial installations typically require some sort of enclosure and/or hoistway around the lift?

Most applications require the lift to be inside a runway enclosure, either provided by the lift manufacturer in metal, Plexi-glass or glass panels, or provided by the general contractor built from stud/drywalls, concrete blocks or other suitable materials.

Is a pit/recess required for vertical wheelchair lifts?

A shallow 3” recess is preferred as it allows level entry at the lower landing. If a pit recess is not feasible, a ramp may be possible, depending on the adjacent floorplan. A pit/recess is not recommended on outdoor applications.

Can vertical platform lifts be operated independently?

Yes, all products are designed and configured for independent operation. All the vertical platform lifts can be operated by an attendant from any of the control panel locations if the user is unable to operate the push buttons or prefers that the lift be operated by others.

Why install a vertical platform lift instead of building a ramp?

In architectural applications the maximum slope for a ramp is 1:12. For every inch of vertical rise you must have 12 inches of horizontal ramp. A 36” vertical rise will require a total of 41’ including a 5’ long horizontal rest. The vertical platform lift will take much less floor space and, in many applications, can be incorporated into the architectural features of the building.

How do I know which wheelchair lift is best for me?

With no obligation, our qualified Accessibility Specialist will perform a FREE site evaluation to suggest the best options for your needs and location.

Stair Lifts

How much does a stair lift cost?

A straight stair lift will typically cost anywhere between $3,500 and $5,500. You can expect to pay anywhere from $8,500 to $15,000 for a curved stair lift as they are custom-made.

Are stair lifts difficult to operate?

Not at all! Our stair lifts are designed with your comfort in mind. Try one out for a spin at our Lisle, IL showroom by simply calling us to set us an appointment.

Does Medicare or health insurance help pay for stair lifts?

Unfortunately, stair lifts are not typically covered by health insurance. Talk to one of our advisors to learn more about financing options. We are here to help!

Can stairlifts be installed on curved steps or steps with a landing?

Stairlifts today are designed to fit almost any stairway from straight stairs, both short and long stairwells, and many different shapes of curved stairs.

Should I buy a new, used or rent a stair lift?

Your choice depends on your budget, needs and your staircase. We offer all 3 options to help you find the right lift for you.

Do I need to renovate my home to have a stair lift installed?

Our stair lifts are installed to fit directly into your home without disrupting your surroundings.

Can a stairlift be installed on either side of my stairway?

Yes, stairlifts can operate on either side of your stairway. The best side depends upon the layout of your home, including doors and walkways. Our advisors can walk you through your options during our free in-home assessment.

What is the weight capacity of a stair lift?

We carry models with up to 400 lbs capacity.

How wide do my stairs need to be for a stairlift?

Stairlifts are generally installed in 36” wide stairwells, although we have models and applications that can accommodate narrower stairways.

Is a stairlift bulky?

No. Your stairlift has a seat cushion that may be flipped up when not in use. This allows for easy access to the stairway for others.

Is the stairlift mounted to the wall?

No, the stairlift is not mounted to the wall. It is designed to move vertically on a rail system that discreetly attaches to the treads of your stairway.

What happens if there is power failure?

All our stairlift models operate on battery power and recharge automatically. If the electricity shuts off, the chair will continue to operate on the existing charge, oftentimes for up to 15 trips up and down the stairs.

Can you install a stairlift outside?

Yes. We carry models specifically designed for outdoor conditions. An outdoor unit is weatherized to protect against the elements and comes with a chair cover. These chairs also come with a key to prevent unauthorized use.

Is a stairlift the same as a stair glide or chair lift?

Stairlifts are called many different names, including stair glide, stair chair, chair lift, battery-powered chair, stairway lift, stairway elevator, staircase chair and stair climber. They’re also thought of as home medical equipment and durable medical equipment.

How long does it take to have a stairlift installed once purchased?

Straight stairlifts oftentimes can be installed within 2 days of purchase. Curve stairlifts require a custom rail to fit your home, taking on average 4-5 weeks from measurement to installation.

How long have you been in business?

Operating for over 45 years, DME is long established in the communities we serve.

If I’m considering a stairlift, when should I call you?

As soon as you or a loved one needs a stairlift. DME can provide design information and advise you on the best model and location.

Will you come to my home to help locate and design an area best suited for my stairlift?

Yes, we would be happy to visit your home with no obligation. Please contact us or send us a request form.

Dumbwaiters

What is the weight capacity on a dumbwaiter?

Between 50 – 500 lbs depending on the size of the car and whether a commercial or residential model.

How far can a dumbwaiter travel?

Approximately 50 ft.

Can a dumbwaiter carry a person?

No! dumbwaiters are solely meant to move goods from one level to another. We have many other products to help you with your people-moving needs.

Will the doors open if the dumbwaiter is not at the landing?

No, interlocks are installed at each landing which will only allow the door to open when the dumbwaiter is at that landing.

What car finishes are available?

Commercial models typically are chosen in either baked/powder coated metal panel finishes or a brushed steel interior. Residential models can also be provided with the same choices as a commercial application, but also can be done with a wood interior.

How many openings can I have on my dumbwaiter?

Up to three sides can have an opening.

If I’m considering a dumbwaiter, when should I call you?

As soon as you start thinking about a dumbwaiter in the home. DME can provide design information and advise you on the best location. We’re accustomed to working with architects and builders from inception of drawings to the finished result. We partner with your team throughout the entire process.

Will you come to my home or commercial building to help locate and design an area best suited for my dumbwaiter?

Yes, we would be happy to visit your location with no obligation. Please contact us or send us a request form.

Material Lifts

What is the difference between a material lift and a service elevator?

Material lifts, also known as Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (VRCs), are used for transporting materials between floors. These lifts are not for passenger transport. Material lifts are fully operated from the outside of the lift.

How do I know if I need a dumbwaiter or a material lift?

Our advisors are here to help. Much of the decision will come down to the goods you want to carry and the placement of the lift. Material lifts are designed to carry heavy, bulky items and have a weight capacity of +6,000 lbs.

Are enclosures required on a material lift?

Safety gates and enclosures are required according to national safety standards. Where the lift is loaded, a safety gate with an interlock is required. Interlocks are also used to ensure that the lift will not run if the doors are not closed fully.