There are many myths and misconceptions about stairlifts, one of the most common being that you could be left stranded on the stairs if there is a power cut or something triggers a safety cut-out ‘trip switch’ in your electrical fusebox.
There’s a well-known scene in the popular Peter Kay comedy “Phoenix Nights” in which his character, Brian Potter, is left stranded on his stairlift and bursting for the loo when the power goes off in his home. Like much of the best comedy, it doesn’t bear too close scrutiny, as it shouldn’t happen with most modern stairlifts, and certainly not an Acorn Stairlift.
Early stairlifts did draw their power directly from your home’s mains supply and, as such, were at risk of shutting down unexpectedly during a power outage. This could leave you stranded on the stairs if you were using the stairlift at the time, and if no-one was around to help you, you could be there for some time, just like Brian Potter!
It was an obvious and potentially dangerous design flaw, and it was Acorn Stairlifts which eliminated it. As an industry-leading innovator, Acorn continually invests in improving the design and function of its award-winning models. It was the first company to introduce robust and rechargeable DC batteries to power its stairlifts, eliminating the danger of being stranded in a power cut. Here’s how it works:
The powerful batteries are located in the base of the stairlift carriage (the chair assembly which travels up and down the stairlift rail). Whenever the carriage is ‘parked’ at the top or bottom of the stairs, it is docked at a charging station. The stairlift rail is still plugged into the nearest convenient domestic plug socket, but the mains power doesn’t drive the stairlift directly. Instead it charges the batteries when the carriage is ‘parked’ and not being used.
Even if the power supply goes off, the high-capacity batteries will continue to operate the stairlift, so you can complete your journey in safety and comfort. In fact, a set of fully charged batteries in optimum condition hold enough power for more than 10 return journeys up and down an average straight staircase and more than eight on an average curved staircase. So if you make four or five return journeys per day, you should be able to keep using it for around two days in a power cut – and it is very unlikely that you would be left without mains power for so long.
The exact number of return journeys possible without recharging will vary depending on the length of the staircase and how much weight the stairlift is carrying. But even when the batteries do run down, all Acorn stairlifts have a built-in safety feature which allow them to ‘coast’ in a controlled way to the foot of the stairs, so that you can get off safely.
Major advances in battery technology over the past few years mean our rechargeable batteries are now smaller, lighter and more powerful than ever before. The fact that the stairlift only draws mains power to ‘top up’ the batteries as and when needed also means it is very economical to run.
The digital display featured as standard on all Acorn Stairlifts will alert you to any potential issues, for example, if the stairlift carriage isn’t fully docked in its recharging position, or if the plug socket supplying power to the stairlift rail has been accidentally switched off. By using the digital display in conjunction with your clear and easy-to-understand Acorn Stairlift user manual, you will be able to diagnose and fix most basic issues.
Even if something happens which you can’t understand, help from Acorn is only ever a phone call away, 365 days-a-year. Any machinery with moving parts will also benefit from regular care and maintenance. We recommend an annual service by one of our own skilled engineers to keep your Acorn Stairlift in tip-top condition. The first service is included in your stairlift’s comprehensive 12-month warranty, and beyond that we offer a full range of service plans and extended warranty packages to ensure your Acorn Stairlift is there whenever you need it, now and for many years to come.