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While residential elevator modernization is a subject most people might prefer to avoid talking about.  However, there are some serious reasons why an elevator overhaul may be an optimum investment. In many cases, Rise Above Elevator can assist with modernization. This will provide the opportunity for improved safety, better performance, energy savings, and premium aesthetics.

Elevators typically have a service life of over 20 years, unfortunately, over time their performance can begin to decline. When this happens, it might be time to consider modernization to help keep your elevator running smoothly.

Here are a few reasons to modernize your home elevators

  • You are experiencing higher elevator repair costs related to controls
  • Inefficient, poor reliability and operation
  • Personal safety considerations
  • Increased shutdowns and entrapments
  • Landing and leveling problems
  • Poor ride quality
  • Decrease energy costs
  • Serviceability/Proprietary Controls
  • Obsolescence
  • Increasing elevator car space

Safety Compliance

When thinking about modernizing your residential elevator system, the first and most important aspect to consider is the safety of your equipment. When new safety regulations are put in place, they often only apply to new installations of elevators, while, older equipment is generally exempt.

Improve safety is one of the most important things to consider when you decide to modernize an elevator. Elevators that are not equipped with today’s technologies can be dangerous, with unexpected shutdowns, uneven floor landings, unreliable emergency phones, and doors that are unresponsive to passenger movement. Rise Above Elevator has modernization solutions can address all of these problems.

A great example of safety regulation is better with newer or modernized elevators.  Older elevators still rely on a mechanical safety edge to detect obstacles or passengers in the doorway. However, the bumper guards may require up to 30 pounds of pressure to reverse the direction when the doors open. Modernized elevators have an infrared light curtain, this is replacing the mechanical edge and provides for a “no-touch” method of monitoring the entry space.

There are many more safety upgrades that have been done to elevators in the past several years.  Having a more modernized elevator would relieve some of the worries for personal safety.

Pneumatic vacuum elevators, which are great for saving space, need to be checked and upgraded just like other elevators do as well.  Even though this is one of the more affordable elevators, it does need to be modernized especially for safety on older units.

Performance Upgrade

Not only does a full elevator modernization go beyond a basic code compliance upgrade, but it also offers increased energy savings, convenience, and reliability. The convenient aspect of doing elevator upgrades is that, if you prefer the aesthetics of your elevator, you do not have to trade that in order to get the best technology on the market. When it comes to elevator modernization, in most cases, you don’t have to choose. You can keep what you like about architectural aspects, and elements of style.

Upgrade for performance when you update an older controller. Ensuring you will greatly increase efficiency and convenience for passengers. Newer state-of-the-art controllers utilize “smart” systems. The solid-state systems are less susceptible to corrosion and overuse than the mechanical relays they have replaced. A modern controller may feature a hibernation mode which turns off fans and lights when the elevator is not in use. The smart system will help with the energy cost of having a home elevator.

If your residential elevator is a hydraulic elevator, replacing the power unit could result in a significant improvement. The power unit includes the pump, motor, and valve assembly. Newer designs have fewer moving parts, are easier to adjust, and require less maintenance.

Having a traction elevators installation, the hoist motor should be replaced at the same time as the controller. Unfortunately, older units may be prone to high energy consumption and excessive brush wear in the elevator shaft. The accumulation of carbon dust in the machine room may wreak havoc with other more sensitive equipment especially the drive system. Generally, a newer hoisting motor will require far less maintenance in the long run.


When modernizing your elevator cab, you should look at replacing door equipment and fixtures, such as the car panel, hall buttons, and position indicators will certainly improve the performance of these wear items. Changing these smaller details is important especially if they have been abused or if routine maintenance has been neglected.

Additionally, since passengers interact with the elevator through the use of these components, upgrading them will change the elevator modernization more tangible. You can have worn-out cab interiors and lighting fixtures replaced, making for a more comfortable ride. Notably, LED lighting is eliminating the use of incandescent light bulbs. LEDs last up to five times longer and typically use less energy.


Elevator modernization is no small undertaking, just like when you first installed your home elevator. It is important to properly plan ahead for the project. Unfortunately, when older elevator equipment suddenly becomes unusable, your elevator could be inoperable for months before the modernization can be completed.

Every modernization project should start with an extensive survey of existing equipment in order to minimize complications, which is done through an elevator company. Time will be needed to acquire the necessary building permits, and for new equipment to be ordered and delivered. Allow several months of planning before the actual work begins. You will also want to consider the time frame that will be the least inconvenient to those who regularly use the elevator.

Think carefully about future modernization when you are first installing your new elevator, and how much the modernization elevators cost. As new technology becomes available, you will want to have the option of installing those components without replacing the entire elevator. Sadly, many elevator manufacturers do not allow for their systems to be upgraded on isolated parts.

Lighter duty designs, smaller machines, and non-serviceable parts will seriously reduce the life-span of your elevator equipment. Be sure that the investment you make now, will continue to yield returns for many years to come. Speak with the experts at Rise Above Elevators, so you can have the most information about your home elevator including future modernization.

Pros and Cons of Elevator Modernization

As with anything, there are always pros and cons. While a major elevator upgrade is a significant investment, a well-done project will undoubtedly increase property value. There will certainly be a short-term inconvenience while the work is being completed, however, in the long term, less elevator maintenance will be required. If you are replacing costly proprietary equipment with more accessible, non-proprietary versions, you should expect lower maintenance costs well into the future.

If you are looking to modernize your residential elevator, contact Rise Above Elevators to set a consultation today to discuss your elevator options.