FAQ

When it comes to handicap renovations, HomeSafe Mobility is a proven expert with years of experience. Whether you are looking for bathroom renovations for the disabled, stair lifts or other mobility solutions for seniors or veterans, each one of our disabled renovations are completely personalized to your unique situation.

Of course, we get many questions about how our home renovations for the disabled works. Take a look at our FAQ below. If you have further questions, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

General

Why choose HomeSafe Mobility?

HomeSafe Mobility’s certified technicians have over 25 years experience and our consultants have achieved the following credentials: CAPS, ATP, CRTS.

How can I be sure your products will fit my needs?

A HomeSafe Mobility specialist will visit your home to explain and demonstrate how our products will work in YOUR home.

Can I afford HomeSafe Mobility?

Our consultation is free of charge. We will offer recommendations and suggestions how to make the most cost-effective, attractive, and user-friendly solution for your budget. The visit is designed to be friendly and pressure-free.

What areas do you serve?

HomeSafe Mobility is based in Pittsburgh and services all of Western Pennsylvania.

In-home Assessments

What is an in-home mobility assessment?

Through a list of questions that we ask, and a tour of your home, we are able to identify accessibility and safety problems and offer solutions to enhance independent living.

How long does a mobility assessment take?

In order to do a thorough assessment, it may take 1 to 2 hours as this visit may also include taking measurements, photos, writing summaries, and doing room sketches.

Would it be ok if I ask my children to be here for the assessment?

Absolutely! In fact, we not only encourage it, but we request that you have your spouse, your children, a caregiver, your occupational or physical therapist, etc., there with you. We want you to be comfortable and have as much support as you need, but it also helps us to get information and input from all those involved with you and your care to do a complete home assessment.

What are your qualifications?

Certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) and Factory certified installers.

Don’t people usually charge for these assessments?

Yes, they typically charge about $200 for a complete home audit. Our assessment is free of charge as part of our service to you.

What is the next step?

After identifying the problem areas, and making recommendations for solutions, we will put together a quote for work requested. Some of our recommendations may be for immediate changes, while others may be future, especially if you have a progressive condition. Our goal is to offer whatever solutions we can that will allow you to remain in your home for as long as possible (aging in place).

Stair Lifts

What is a stair lift and how does it work?

Stair lifts, also sometimes called “chair lifts” and “stair gliders,” are convenient motorized chairs that travel on a track secured to your stairs. In most cases, no structural modifications are necessary. They are extremely safe to use, moving quietly and at a gentle speed with the push of a button. If there is even the slightest interference with something that was left on the stairs, the stair lift senses the obstruction and stops the motion until the object can be safely moved out of the way. When you reach the top or bottom of the stairs the seat swivels away from the stairs enabling the user to get on or off the lift in a safe and secure manner. With a HomeSafe Mobility Stair Lift you can once again feel confident about using the stairs and regain full and safe access to your home.

What about safety features?

Home Safe Mobility stair lifts feature:

  • Sensors that stop the lift if there are any obstructions in its path
  • Seat belt
  • Dual safety braking
  • Seat rotation only at landing and includes locking feature
  • Continuous motion even in the event of a loss of electrical power

I use a wheelchair. Will a stairlift work for me?

Yes, assuming you are able to transfer on your own or with help and a wheelchair is waiting at the other end of the lift. HomeSafe Mobility Stair Lifts include arms that fold up with almost no effort and the soft padded seat is able to be height adjusted to meet your needs. We can install grab assist bars or custom handrails at the top or bottom of your stairs to aid in transfers.

Will others still be able to use my stairs normally after installing the stairlift?

With no modifications to your stairs, the rail installs to within just 5” from the wall or obstruction, the narrowest in the industry, leaving plenty of room for others to use the stairs. The seat and carriage when folded only occupy 12” of staircase space.

What happens if we experience a power outage while I’m halfway up the stairs?

All Homesafe Mobility stairlifts operate with batteries that are continuously charging. During a power outage you will still be able to take approximately 20 to 30 roundtrips.

I’m concerned about my weight?

HomeSafe Mobility offers only stairlifts of the most robust design in the industry, rated at up to 400 lbs. capacity

How expensive are they and will insurance pay for them?

A good quality stairlift is an investment in your freedom. Cost will vary depending on desired features and staircase design. Curved rail systems for stairways that turn are custom designed and will be more costly, with the final price dependent upon the complexity of the project and desired features. In most cases, unfortunately, insurance will not pay for a stairlift. However, there are charitable organizations which may be able to offer financial assistance. Consulting with a HomeSafe Mobility specialist is your best way to find an affordable solution for all your in-home mobility needs.

I have a short term need. Can I rent a stairlift?

Yes, in many cases Homesafe Mobility can arrange to install a straight run stairlift at a very affordable monthly/ weekly rental payment. When you no longer have need for it, we will promptly remove it from your home. Call us for a free evaluation and quote.

If I decide to order a stair lift, how long before I’ll be using it?

We understand the urgency many people have when they need to solve a stair mobility issue and therefore, for standard straight stairs, Homesafe Mobility can often deliver from stock, sometimes installing the same day as your order is placed. If you desire some particular options not in our local stock, you may have to wait one week. For curved stairs, a custom order must be entered and delivery can usually be accomplished within 2-3 weeks.

How can I be sure the installation will be done right?

Homesafe Mobility’s installers are factory trained and certified.

I may want to replace my stair carpet someday. Will I be prevented from doing so?

Upon request, HomeSafe Mobility will be happy to offer removal and reinstallation services. If you decide to move, we can relocate it to your new home and provide any track changes that might be necessary due to difference in staircase design.

How many brands of stairlifts do you offer?

Our team has decided to carry Bruno Independent Living products exclusively. As the market leader in the accessibility category, Bruno has been producing high quality products for over 25 years. They are a family-owned company, passionately committed to enhancing the lives of those challenged by limited mobility. The only American-made stair lift manufacturer with ISO 9001 certification, Bruno has also earned the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the State of Wisconsin.

What kind of warranty can I expect on a stairlift?

It depends on the manufacturer. HomeSafe Mobility carries Bruno Assisted Living stairlifts which carry a five year warranty on the motor, rail and gear – the drivetrain. Two years on everything else including the batteries. You can also expect periodic courtesy calls and visits from HomeSafe Mobility to check on your unit’s performance and if ever you need emergency help, we provide you with a 24-hour call line.

Why choose HomeSafe Mobility for my stairlift?

HomeSafe Mobility’s mission is to provide a comprehensive solution to your in-home mobility concerns. We will help you achieve full and safe access to your entire home wherever feasible. The solution may encompass a stairlift, a porch lift, removal of barriers and trip hazards, installation of grab bars and balance aids, improved lighting to avoid falls, portable shower solutions, and soon we will be providing complete bathroom modifications including step-in tubs. Call us for a free in-home consultation.

Vertical Platform Lifts

What is a vertical Platform Lift and how does it work?

Vertical Platform Lifts, sometimes called Wheelchair Elevators or Wheelchair Lifts, provide simple, rugged and reliable access to elevated landings, garage and motor home entryways, even inside your house. HomeSafe Mobility’s Vertical Platform Lift (VPL) is the perfect solution to your accessibility needs — an economical solution to barriers such as staircases, porches, walls and decks. Vertical Platform Lifts are extremely safe to use, moving quietly and at a gentle speed with the push of a button. For users who have trouble pushing a button VPL’s also come with optional controls.

What about safety features?

Home Safe Mobility Vertical Platform lifts features:

  • Solid non-skid platform
  • Automatic self-lowering folding ramp
  • Spring-sensitive bottom plate that shuts the unit down when an obstruction is encountered
  • 36” high sides with built-in handrail when called for
  • Safety gates that can be locked automatically when the VPL is not parked

I use a wheelchair. Will a Vertical Platform Lift work for me?

Yes, VPL’s are designed to be used with power or manual wheelchairs and scooters.

Will others still be able to access my home normally after installing a Vertical Platform Lift?

A Home Safe Mobility accessibility specialist will first perform an assessment of your individual accessibility situation. Our goal at Home Safe Mobility is to provide you with safe, functional access to your home while maintaining the original look of your home and minimizing the modifications. We will do our best to preserve the normal access points to your home, and have your new device look as if it belongs there.

What happens if we experience a power outage while I’m halfway up or down?

All Homesafe’s Mobility Vertical Platform Lifts come with emergency lowering capabilities. There is an optional battery-powered unit as well.

I’m concerned about my weight?

Homesafe Mobility Vertical Platform Lifts have a 750 lb./340 kg lifting capacity

How expensive are they and will insurance pay for them?

A good quality Vertical Platform Lift is an investment in your freedom and peace of mind. Costs will vary depending on desired features, existing barriers, height requirements and overall project complexity. In most cases, unfortunately, insurance will not pay for a Vertical Platform Lift’s. There are charitable organizations, however, which may be able to offer financial assistance. Consulting with a Homesafe Mobility specialist is your best way to find an affordable solution for all your home accessibility and mobility needs.

I have a short term need. Can I rent a Vertical Platform Lift?

Yes, in many cases Homesafe Mobility can arrange to install a Vertical Platform Lift at a very affordable monthly rental payment. When you no longer have need for it, we will promptly remove it from your home. Call us for a free evaluation and quote.

If I decide to order a Vertical Platform Lift how long before I’ll be using it?

We understand the urgency many people have when they need to solve a mobility issue. As there are many variables involved in installing Vertical Platform Lifts, however, timing to completion will depend on existing conditions. For example: installing a lift in a garage with an existing cement floor can often be completed in one week or less. If a cement pad must be poured, time will increase.

With Vertical Platform Lift’s there are many variables involved, if say we are installing a Vertical Platform Lift in a garage or carport with a cement floor already, we can usually do in one week or less, depending on stock availability. On the other hand if we have to pour a cement pad or walkway, or build a shaft the project would take much longer.

After one of our Homesafe Mobility specialists has assessed your specific needs, we can give you an accurate timeline for your project.

What about the weather?

Homesafe Mobility Vertical Platform Lifts are designed to function outdoors, year-round, in all types of weather.

How can I be sure the installation will be done right?

Homesafe Mobility’s installers are factory trained and certified.

Can a Vertical Platform Lift’s be put anywhere in or around our home?

In most cases a Vertical Platform Lift can be put anywhere in or outside of your home, a Homesafe Mobility accessibility specialist will determine the best location options and will go over the planning process with you to be assured the project will be done according to your needs. In some cases a Vertical Platform Lift needs a specially prepared site, especially if it is going on bare ground, the Homesafe Mobility accessibility specialist will determine the specifications needed for a safe and functional outcome. Sometimes a cement pad and walkway will be necessary.

How many brands of Vertical Platform Lift’s do you offer?

Our team has decided to carry Bruno Independent Living products exclusively. As the market leader in the accessibility category, Bruno has been producing high quality products for over 25 years. They are a family-owned company, passionately committed to enhancing the lives of those challenged by limited mobility. The only American-made VPL manufacturer with ISO 9001 certification, Bruno has also earned the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the State of Wisconsin.

What kind of warranty can I expect on a Vertical Platform Lift?

A. HomeSafe Mobility carries Bruno Assisted Living vertical platform lifts which carry a five year warranty on the motor, rail and gear – the drivetrain. Two year warranties apply to everything else — including the batteries. You can also expect periodic courtesy calls and home visits from HomeSafe Mobility to check on your unit’s performance. And, if ever you need emergency help with equipment we have installed , simply call our 24-hour emergency contact line.

Why choose HomeSafe Mobility for my vertical platform lift?

Homesafe Mobility’s mission is to provide a comprehensive solution to your in-home mobility concerns. We will help you achieve full and safe access to your entire home wherever feasible. The solution may encompass a Stairlift, a porch lift, overhead lift, removal of barriers and trip hazards, installation of grab bars and balance aids, improved lighting to avoid falls and portable shower solutions. Soon we will also offer complete bathroom modifications including step-in tubs. We hope you’ll call us soon for a free in-home, no obligation consultation.

Ramps

Does my ramp meet ADA guidelines?

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Guidelines were designed by the US Government to insure safe and accessible design. HomeSafe Mobility ramps meet or exceed all these requirements to give you the safest systems available. Feel free to call us with any questions or visit www.ada.gov for more information.

To meet ADA codes you must have 1 foot of ramp run for every 1 inch of rise. There are exceptions to this rule only if there are space restrictions. So if a porch and steps have a total rise of 24 inches, 24 feet of ramping would be required. This does not include any platforms that may be necessary for the ramp system.

To meet most codes, a level area must be located at the top and the bottom of a ramp. If a porch is not present at the top, a platform should be placed over the steps in front of the door.
No run of over 30 feet is allowed without an intermediate resting platform. This platform may be a straight or turn platform. The resting platform must be at least 60 inches in length and as wide as the ramp that is leading up to it. Any platform that changes direction must be at least 60 inches by 60 inches.

Why do I want an aluminum ramp?

Our modular ramps are the most versatile of all the ramp styles. The welded aluminum construction offers a lightweight design, that is stronger and more durable than wood. These ramps can be disassembled and reused at different locations, and they can be set up in most any configuration. The aluminum surface is virtually maintenance free. Installation is quick and does not require a building permit since it can be considered a temporary structure.

Wood ramps require the most maintenance and labor of all ramp systems. Yearly maintenance is typically required such as replacing old boards and applying wood preservative. In most cases a contractor and building permit is required. Wood ramps can only be used once and cannot be relocated.

How do I maintain my ramp?

IMPORTANT: Regularly check your ramp system for any worn, loose or damaged parts. In addition, if your ramp is made from wood check for warped, split, or splintering boards. If you find a problem, DO NOT USE THE RAMP! Contact the builder or manufacturer of the ramp for repairs to be made. Failure to act may cause severe injury.

The surface of the ramp may become slippery under certain conditions, such as icy or wet. Caution should be used at all times during use of a ramp. On aluminum ramp surfaces we recommend using a salt substitute to help remove ice and snow. The use of regular salt will cause deterioration of the aluminum surface and should not be used.

Keep the surface of the ramp free and clear of any dirt or debris that may accumulate on the ramping surface.

Aluminum surfaces can be cleaned with water and any mild detergent.

No one should play on or around a ramp. The ramp should not be used for anything other than building access for which it was designed. Any other use may cause injury to the user, damage to the ramp, and void warranties.

DO NOT add to or modify any part of the ramp system without first contacting the supplier or manufacturer of the ramp. Any modifications may void any warranties as well as affect the structural integrity of the ramp.

Shower Bay

Where does the water come from?

Shower Bay’s unique quick-connect system easily snaps on to 90% of home faucets. The water travels from the faucet through an in-hose to the Shower Bay unit.

Where does the water go?

Shower Bay’s base is slightly angled like a normal shower. The water travels to a drain where the water is then pumped through the out-hose to a nearby sink or shower drain.

Is Shower Bay supposed to fit in my bathroom?

Shower Bay may be used in a bathroom, but it was designed to also work in any room of the house. We understand that most bathrooms are not large enough for adequate wheelchair mobility, not to mention an additional shower. In most cases Shower Bay is set up in the corner of a bedroom or spare area of the home.

Do I need a contractor, plumber or permits?

Since there is no installation, there is no need for a contractor, plumber or building permit.

Financial Assistance

Does insurance pay for a stairlift or any of the other equipment or modifications I need?

Some long-term care insurance policies cover special equipment such as ramps and grab bars that assist in the performance of activities of daily living at home. Fees for durable medical equipment and supplies may be covered by Medicare/Medicaid, provided that the products are ordered by a physician and are medically necessary to treat an illness or injury. Private Insurance may pay for ramps and home modifications.

What if insurance won’t cover it?

There are low interest loans available, including the FHA 203K Rehab Loan and PA Assistive Technology Foundation. If you are a veteran, there are grants available through the VA. You may be able to get funding through various local organizations and foundations. Many senior citizens apply for a reverse mortgage, which takes the equity in your house and pays you, either in a lump sum, monthly, or both.

I am a Veteran. Where can I get help?

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has three main grant programs to assist disabled veterans with necessary home modifications. Your HomeSafe Mobility consultant can give you further information about all of these programs.

FAQ for Real Estate Professionals

How can HomeSafe Mobility help me with my customer, the buyer?

Your customer is looking for a handicapped accessible house, but one is not to be found. Rather than losing a sale because you can’t find the perfect house, you can suggest that they find a house they like then work with HomeSafe Mobility to make the necessary modifications. We will help to determine their needs, through a free in-home evaluation, and will make suggestions as to the most cost effective way to make the house more accessible for them.

What products does HomeSafe Mobility offer to those buyers?

We supply and professionally install products such as Bruno stairlifts & porch lifts (also called wheelchair lifts or vertical platform lifts), aluminum ramps, Best Bath walk-in tubs & showers, grab bars, and even Shower Bay, a portable wheelchair shower for those with a temporary need. Our technicians are also remodeling experts.

My new client has a handicapped accessible home. How can HomeSafe Mobility help them prepare this home for listing?

Your goal, as a realtor, is to have the seller prepare their home for sale so that it appeals to the masses, rather than just a select few buyers and we understand that. HomeSafe Mobility’s technicians can remove handicapped accessible features and products, such as ramps, lifting devices from stairlifts to patient lifts, and make any amendments deemed necessary by the Realtor. In effect, we can restore the home to its original function AND we can arrange for payment at the time of closing.

What can be done if there is a Best Bath or similar barrier-free shower (wheelchair accessible)?

Our technicians are experts in bathroom remodeling. They can transform the barrier-free shower into a regular shower with glass doors, or can install a tub/shower combination.