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Preparing Lifts for Floods and Repairing Flood Damage

Photo credit: Homes in NJ devastated by Hurricane Sandy from

Along with roofs, basements, heat and electricity, many lifts and elevators were disrupted and damaged by Hurricane Sandy last year. The storm inflicted a lot of damage on buildings in the tri-state area and much of this damage is still being repaired.

A lift on Sand Lane in Staten Island was submerged in 7 feet of saltwater. All of the electrical components had to be replaced as well as some internal mechanical parts. The platform and outer enclosure will be retained after a good cleaning. Seven townhouses on the west side of Manhattan all had private residence elevators and the lowest two floors were filled with water — up to 16 feet. Because of the depth of the flooding these homeowners who did not have the elevator parked at the top floor will be getting almost an entirely new elevator. Even some of our customers on the New Jersey shore whose homes were built behind a sea wall and designed to survive a 100 year flood” need major repairs to their elevators. 

New building codes require homeowners to prepare their homes for future storms and flooding. We can also prepare elevators and lifts for the effects of hurricanes and floods.

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, we can recommend certain precautions when having a lift or home elevator installed. Installing the elevator’s motor and controller, and any electrical backup system above the ground floor, even in the attic, can prevent flood damage to the elevator equipment. Providing a sump pump system in the elevator pit can reduce any effects of minor flooding.

Preparation for a Storm
If a storm or flood is approaching, there are a few things you can do to have your lift or elevator ready for the storm. Sending the elevator to the upper most floor is the best way to keep the cab from being affected by any flooding. If you have a vertical platform lift and it is outdoors, high winds and rains can cause service issues with your lift. Keeping the lift platform away from the landings will keep all of the doors latched and locked.

The Aftermath
After the event if anything has gotten wet leave the power off until a trained service technician can assess what may be saved or if the elevator is safe to put back into service. As with Hurricane Sandy, make sure to wait until there is power back on in your street before calling out your service company, with out power damage can not fully be assessed.

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Photo of James Boydston

James Boydston

James is the President of Handi-Lift Service, Inc. and Doug Boydston’s son. James has been with Handi-Lift for 10 years.

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