Frequently Asked Questions
It's ok, you aren't the only one wondering this.
The information below should answer many of the questions you may have, however it is inevitable that we would forget to list the only question you may really need the answer to. If that is the case, feel free to get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide you with as much information as you may need.
WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU SELL?
Visilift currently manufactures the Visilift® Round, clear acrylic elevator and the Visilift® Octagonal, clear acrylic elevator.
If you would like to see the differences between the models, click here.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS FOR VISILIFT ELEVATORS?
Visilift provides a standard set of drawings which cover 99% of typical installations.
In some instances, local permitting offices require site specific drawings prior to issuing permits for installation. If so required, Visilift will provide these drawings for a nominal charge. Please allow 3-5 business days.
Contact your local Visilift Distributor for pricing and an understanding of the drawing requirements in your area.
CAN I SEE AND RIDE A VISILIFT ELEVATOR IN PERSON?
Visilift has many installations in private residences throughout the United States and the world which are available to visit and ride. Please contact your local Visilift Distributor to view an elevator in your area.
ARE VISILIFT ELEVATORS COMPLIANT WITH GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS?
Θ Visilift elevators comply with ASME A17.1-2007 Section 5.3 for Private Residences and ASME A18.1 for Commercial Applications
Θ All glazing conforms to ANSI Z97.1
Θ All wiring complies with NEC 2008
Θ All electrical components are UL certified
Although the codes are national, enforcement is state by state. Many of the individual 50 states in the USA require separate approval. Visilift has been installed and approved in many states including California, Washington, Minnesota, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Florida as well as many others. Please contact us to find out if your state has approved the Visilift elevator system.
WHAT KEY SAFETY FEATURES ARE IN VISILIFT ELEVATORS?
Θ Visilift elevators have two independent cables that lift and lower the car.
Θ Visilift elevators have four emergency brakes, each of which has the individual capacity to stop the car if one cable were to fail.
Θ Visilift elevators have multiple electronic sensors for over travel, to ensure all doors are closed prior to operation and many other safety switches.
Θ Visilift elevators all come standard with automatic battery lowering. This will allow the car to descend to a lower level in the event of a power outage.
HOW QUIET ARE VISILIFT ELEVATORS?
The Visilift elevator produces on average 58‐65 decibels at any given floor when operating.
Specifically, our field measurements for Visilift show:
Θ 65 dB inside the cab
Θ 62 dB outside the landing at the top floor (approx. 1M from hoistway acrylic)
Θ 58 dB outside landings on floors other than the top floor (approx. 1M from hoistway acrylic)
Decibels are measured logarithmically, which can be confusing. 3 dB is a doubling of sound power, 10
dB is 10 times the sound power, 40 dB is 10,000 times the sound power.
Θ A refrigerator hum is about 40 dB
Θ A sewing machine is about 60 dB
Θ A dishwasher is about 70 dB
Θ A lawn mower is about 100 dB
Θ A chainsaw is about 105 dB
WHAT MAKES VISILIFT ELEVATORS RUN SO SMOOTHLY?
Three key features enable Visilift elevators to have an exceptionally smooth ride. First, the cab runs on a set of 24 guide shoes instead of 4-8 like many traditional elevators. Second, the electric winding drum is controlled by a variable frequency drive unit that gives continuously variable speed control. Third, the controller has continuous cab location feedback from a high accuracy digital rotary encoder to enable smooth digitally controlled acceleration and deceleration when leaving or arriving at a floor.
The Visilift® Round has a standard cab platform of 52" diameter (1 321mm) providing a usable area of 13.41 square feet (1.25 sq. m) and a capacity of 839 lbs. (382 Kg).
The Visilift® Octagonal has a 45" x 45" (1 143mm x 1 143mm) floor with a curved door providing a usable area of 11.72 square feet (1.1 sq. m) and a capacity of 733 lbs. (333 Kg).If you would like to see the differences between the models, click here.
WHAT FLOOR SPACE DO VISILIFT ELEVATORS REQUIRE?
The Visilift® Round elevator fits comfortably in a round floor-space that is 66 in. (1676mm) in diameter, plus extra clearance for the hoistway doors to swing at each landing and clearance for a ramp on the lowest level if installed without a pit. The floor rings are 62 in. (1 574mm) in diameter; the header support rings are 58 in. (1473mm) in diameter; and the hoistway acrylic is 54 in. (1 422mm) diameter. A 66 in. (1 676mm) diameter hoistway space allows only 4 in. (102mm) for installation clearance and gives 6 in. (152mm) all around the acrylic for cleaning.
The Visilift® Octagonal elevator fits comfortably in a square floor-space that is 60 in. (1523mm) on a side, plus extra clearance for the hoistway doors to swing at each landing and clearance for a ramp on the lowest level if installed without a pit. The floor rings are 55.375 in. (1 406mm) square; the header support rings are 51.375 in. (1304mm) square; and the hoistway acrylic is 47.375 in. (1 203mm) square inside. A 60 in. (1 523mm) square hoistway space allows only 4 in. (102mm) for installation and gives 6 in. (152mm) all around the acrylic for cleaning.
HOW TALL IS THE VISILIFT ELEVATOR CAR ON THE INSIDE?
The standard car height is 84 in. (2 133mm) measured from floor to ceiling. This standard height requires a floor to ceiling clearance in the uppermost level of your home to be 106 in. (2 691mm). Note that the hoistway does not go through the ceiling on the top floor.
If your home does not have 106 in. (2 691mm) clearance from floor to ceiling on the uppermost level of your home, the car height can be reduced to 74 in. (1 879mm) which allows for a 96 in. (2 437mm) clearance from floor to ceiling on the uppermost level of the home.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM TRAVEL FOR A VISILIFT ELEVATOR?
Visilift product's standard travel is up to 44 feet (13.41M) and optionally up to 50 feet (15.25 M). Travel is measured by the distance the car moves, and is the distance from the lowest floor to the uppermost floor. Visilift elevators can be configured with a maximum of 6 stops. A standard configuration allows for up to 12 feet (3.66 m) floor to floor between any two floors, and this can be optionally extended to 14 feet (4.26 m) floor to floor. Longer distances are available on a custom basis.
CAN I GET MY VISILIFT ELEVATOR IN DIFFERENT COLORS?
Visilift Elevators have a semi-gloss black frame standard. Custom colors are optionally available at additional charge, and may increase delivery time.
DOES THE INSTALLATION OF A VISILIFT ELEVATOR REQUIRE ANY STRUCTURAL MODIFICATIONS TO MY HOME?
Probably not. Visilift elevators include a hoistway that is largely self-supporting. Most of the weight is transmitted through the Visilift steel frame structure to the lowest floor level, which must be checked to confirm it can hold the load. The loads on the intermediate floors are a side load of 200 lbs (91 Kg), plus a downward load of 182 lbs (83 Kg), both of which are typically considered small for standard home construction.
For our Engineering Load Calculations, please click here.
In a majority of applications, the only modifications required to install a Visilift product in your home are:
Θ Dedicated power must be installed to the location of the unit, and
Θ A round hole needs to be cut in the proper location.
DO I NEED TO CUT A "PIT" IN MY BOTTOM FLOOR TO INSTALL A VISILIFT ELEVATOR?
Standard Visilift Elevators include a small 3 in. (76mm) tall ramp for access from the lower floor without a pit. Optionally, you can cut a 4 in. (102mm) or deeper pit if you prefer to avoid the ramp. The choice is yours.
DO VISILIFT ELEVATORS REQUIRE A MACHINE ROOM?
The standard controller mounts inside the head assembly on the round unit and is accessed via an access panel and an articulating mount assembly. For maintenance, the integrated controller assembly rotates out and flips down for access by trained technicians. Optionally, the controller may be mounted outside the hoistway at additional cost.
Most states allow Visilift’s controller to be installed integrated in the head assembly. Some states, however, require the controller to be mounted remotely to meet local building codes. Often, the codes allow the controller to be mounted in a nearby hallway, but sometimes they require a specially locked closet called a “machine room”. Please contact your local Visilift Distributor to see what the requirements are in your area.
The Visilift® Octagonal requires the remote controller.
WHAT ARE THE POWER AND WIRING REQUIREMENTS FOR A VISILIFT ELEVATOR?
Power is single phase and the standard unit requires one 230V dedicated circuit and one 110V circuit. Optionally, the unit can be powered with two 230V circuits for international applications. The computer controller is sensitive to electrical fluctuations which can cause safety trips and manual reset. In many countries and some rural US locations, Visilift requires the local installer add voltage stabilization units. You will need a voltage line conditioner unless the power is exceptionally stable. The power circuits must be provided to the controller location at the top of the unit or in the machine room for the optional remote controller.
In addition to the electrical requirements, all of our products require a phone line to be installed to the controller location.
HOW DO THE INSTALLERS GET THAT BIG ELEVATOR INTO MY HOME?
Visilift elevators are modular in their design. All components can be carried in through standard doorways and no component weighs more than 100 lbs.
WHAT CONSTRUCTION MUST BE COMPLETE TO INSTALL A VISILIFT ELEVATOR IN MY HOME?
Visilift requires all final floor finishes and painting be completed prior to installation of the elevator. The elevator should be one of the last trim items installed in the home. In a newly constructed home, the elevator should be installed during the "punch list" stage of construction. A site completion checklist must be signed before the Visilift installation technician will arrive for installation.
Click here for a copy of the Pre-Installation Site Preparation Checklist.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO INSTALL MY VISILIFT ELEVATOR?
The base 2 floor product typically requires 4 days installation time with a crew of 3 and 10 hour work days assuming the site preparation is completed properly. Additional site modifications take extra time. Each additional floor requires 1 day. Note that this is somewhat longer than a typical closet-style residential elevator installation when they do not include the hoistway construction.
WHAT IS THE LEAD-TIME FOR A VISILIFT ELEVATOR?
Typically Visilift has elevators available with standard configurations to ship immediately. Delivery time is approximately 2-3 weeks. For non-standard installations, delivery time may be up to 10 weeks. Please contact your local Visilift Distributor for job specific information.
CAN I BUY A VISILIFT ELEVATOR INTERNATIONALLY?
Visilift does sell elevators internationally and requires a local elevator installation and maintenance company to support your installation. Please contact the Visilift Factory directly to see if your region already has trained installers or to identify regional companies qualified to coordinate your installation.
WHAT LEVEL OF FIRE PROTECTION DO VISILIFT ELEVATORS PROVIDE?
The ASME 17.1 requires that fire ratings be controlled by local building codes. The hoistway is made of 4.5mm molded acrylic plastic, with cab doors that are 9.5mm thick. Many US municipalities have accepted this level of fire protection as safe. Local codes need to be checked to determine if this acrylic wall is acceptable.
HOW MUCH MAINTENANCE DOES A VISILIFT ELEVATOR REQUIRE?
The product is very low maintenance. We recommend checking the shoes and cables for wear once per year and changing the oil in the gearbox each 10 years. If the battery backup emergency lowering option is selected, the battery must be tested each year.
DO VISILIFT ELEVATORS COME WITH A WARRANTY?
Visilift offers a minimum 1 year warranty on parts throughout the entire world. Because of local laws and regulations, warranty details and duration vary by region. Please contact your local Visilift Distributor for warranty information specific to your region.
SO... HOW MUCH IS A VISILIFT ELEVATOR GOING TO COST ME?
The elevator itself also has a few configuration options that affect the price. For example, how many floors are you considering? Will it travel through floors or attach to a balcony? Will the lowest floor use the standard 3 inch high ramp on a flat floor, or will you construct a 4 inch deep pit to recess the cab at lowest level? To estimate installation costs, we need to know the city of installation and some description of the project including floor configurations, approximate floor to floor measurements and (if you have access to them) drawings of the building. Contact your local Visilift Distributor to obtain a quote in your area.