If you're taking care of a disabled or elderly bed-bound relative, you'll know just how much work is involved. It's a rewarding job to care for somebody you love, but it's also intensely demanding — you might find yourself going up and down stairs with food, drinks and heavy items many times a day. You may now have decided that you need to quite literally lighten your load by investing in a dumbwaiter, a small service elevator that can transport food, laundry and more from one floor to another. So, now you've made that decision, you need to ask the all important questions. Read on to find out more.
Do You Have Room for a Dumbwaiter?
Before you choose a dumbwaiter, you need to make sure that it's possible to fit one in your home. You will need to know whether there is enough room in the areas of your home you want to connect. For example, the kitchen to the upstairs hallway. You'll need to check for obstructions such as electrical wiring, plumbing lines, weight-bearing joists, bathtubs or toilets. You'll need to be sure that you have enough space for the dumbwaiter itself as well as the guide ropes, cables and overhead. As a guide, around 4 square feet of space will be needed.
What Do You Need Your Dumbwaiter to Do?
Once you know you can fit one into your home, you need to work out what your dumbwaiter will be lifting. A dumbwaiter that's only required for transporting food and drinks to other floors will not need to be as big as one used for transferring laundry or larger heavier items. The typical car size is usually 20 inches wide and deep by 30 inches high. Most residential dumbwaiters have a weight capacity of 100 to 200 lb.
How Far Does Your Dumbwaiter Need to Travel?
So, you know what you will be using your dumbwaiter for; now you need to work out how high you need it to travel. You'll determine this by measuring where the bottom of the dumbwaiter will be on the ground floor (they're usually installed 36 inches from the floor) up to where it will be on the upper floor. If you have more than one upper floor in your home, you need to choose the highest floor you want it to travel to for the measurement. Most residential dumbwaiters can travel up to 30 feet. However, it is possible to get ones that travel up to 50 feet.
Once you've worked out the details of fitting a residential dumbwaiter, you can choose a company and start looking at designs, sizes and door finishes. Be sure to ask about operation noise and maintenance to help you narrow down your choice.