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Winterization Tips for Outdoor Wheelchair Lifts

Posted on by Eric Rubel

wheelchair porch lift installed in winter snow in Chicago, IL

Outdoor wheelchair lifts, which are also commonly known as vertical platform lifts or porch lifts, provide a safe, accessible way to enter/exit a home, school, church, or other building.

During the winter months, these types of lifts can be difficult to access after a snow or ice storm. However, there are ways to ensure a wheelchair lift is still accessible throughout the winter season, and we share those tips to help you winterize a wheelchair lift in this blog post.

town in Boston, MA covered in fresh snowAll the outdoor wheelchair lifts that Lifeway Mobility offers are built with weather-resistant controls and a specialized coating to withstand the outdoor elements. However, significant snow accumulation can limit access to the lift and icy conditions can make the deck or concrete near the lift very slippery.

The winter season is here, which means snow, ice, and cold temperatures, especially for regions with colder winter climates, such as Southern New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain Region.

5 Tips to Help Winterize & Operate Your Wheelchair Lift in the Winter

To ensure safe use of your wheelchair platform lift in the winter months, and to keep it running smoothly, we recommend the following.

  1. Remove snow, sleet & ice from the platform and away from the entry ramp as much as possible. While a shovel would do the job, we recommend using a wire broom if possible, to prevent scratching the paint.
  2. Clear pathways and areas around the lift of snow at the upper and lower landing levels to ensure that you can get in and out of the home safely after snow accumulation.man-shoveling-snow-to-clear-path-for-access-to-driveway-and-porch
  3. Keep a stock of ice melt in your house and use it when necessary to improve traction on lift's platform and porches, decks, and pathways that provide access to the wheelchair lift.
  4. Set up an annual planned maintenance visit. Some Lifeway locations offers a planned maintenance program for the wheelchair lifts we install to ensure it is functioning as it should be, and is operating safely and smoothly. A recommendation is to to schedule your planned maintenance program right before the winter season. This will reduce the potential risk of an operational issue during the winter months.
  5. Consider optional weather package - If you have not yet purchased a wheelchair lift, consider the optional cold weather package to keep the functioning properly during sub-zero temperatures (as low as -20 Fahrenheit).

If you are unable to do any of items listed below on your own, kindly ask a relative, friend, or neighbor for assistance.

Other Wheelchair Lift Options

If you do not have a wheelchair lift, and are in need of a safe and accessible way to get in and out of you home without having to worry about the winter elements, consider the following alternative solutions in place of an outdoor installation of a wheelchair lift:

  1. Installation of a Platform Lift in the Garagewheelchair lift installed in garage of home in Chicago suburb If there’s enough space, a garage is a great spot for a wheelchair lift to be installed. You won’t need to worry about having to clear snow build-up or melting ice during the winter season. You’ll also be much warmer while using it (or cooler on hot summer days), assuming your garage has insulation.
  2. Build a Hoistway for the Lift – While this is more of an expensive option because of the added construction costs, a hoistway would also prevent having to clear the platform of winter precipitation. This is an alternative to having the lift installed in a garage if space is limited, but you still prefer to not have to worry about clearing your lift of snow and ice in the winter.

Contact us to learn more about winterizing your outdoor wheelchair lift this winter season or to schedule a free consultation with one of our local experts.

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