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Simple fixes for common stairlift problems

2015-04-20

By Jason Tate

If your stairlift has stopped working or is malfunctioning, there may be a simple solution which doesn’t need an engineer to come out to fix it. The first thing to check is that the key is turned on or is that it is in the correct position. It sounds obvious but this is the most common reason for a stairlift not operating.

If the key is turned and in the right position, you should check the on and off buttons on the chair arm and on the separate control units. Secondly, if the stairlift is wired through a spur, there should be a red light showing to indicate that the power supply is working. If the red light is off, then a circuit breaker may have tripped and you will need to check your consumer unit to see if it can be reset.

Where this is not the problem, the most common reason is that the fuse has blown. Remember to ensure that you change the fuse for one that is the same ampage and the same size. Although a simple fix, if you aren’t confident with changing fuses, then you should call an electrical engineer to do it for you. Most stairlifts fitted in the last decade are equipped with a residual circuit device (RCD). This should reset if the power has tripped out but if it won’t reset, then an electrician will need to look at it.

If none of these are the reason for the fault, the next areas to look at are all of the safety edge switches which stop the stairlift if there is a problem. You will find these switches on the top and bottom of the carriage, the footplate and on the front cover of the footplate.

Stairlifts with swivel seats have springs which return the seat to an upright position when you get off them. If yours doesn’t automatically return to the upright position, it’s possible that the springs have broken in which case you will need to call an engineer.

The next most common problem involves the rack hinge rail. New flooring or carpeting can interfere with this and cause an obstruction stopping the stairlift operating. Even the smallest obstruction can cause a fault so you should check carefully to see if there is one. Again, if this is not behind the problem then an engineer should be called.

Sometimes the stairlift joystick may be faulty. Should the stairlift still operate when you use either the remote control or the call switch on the wall but not the joystick, then you will need to call an engineer. The stairlift can still be used in the meantime by operating it with the remote control.

Many of the latest stairlifts have a warning panel which indicates when a component might be about to fail or if there is another problem which is likely to affect its operation. A series of noises or beeps might be sounded indicating an electrical problem including issues with the circuit or a loose connection. You should also be aware of changes to the operating sound of the stairlift. Listen particularly for grinding noises which might indicate that the rollers have become worn. Should your stairlift be running slowly then this may also be a problem with the rollers indicating imminent failure. In all of these cases ,you should call an engineer.

You can prevent a lot or problems by getting your stairlift serviced regularly. As well as maintaining any outstanding warranty, servicing by an approved engineer will extend a stairlift’s life and reduce the likelihood of having to have a costly repair.


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