A pneumatic, or vacuum, elevator moves the cab using changes in air pressure. It does not require construction of a pit, shaft, or machine room. A pneumatic elevator can be attached to a balcony or travel through a hole in the floor.
Since it is not enclosed behind a wall, a pneumatic elevator is visible to visitors. It can allow you to have a panoramic view of your home while riding. Vacuum elevators are smaller than hydraulic models and have smaller weight capacities. Some are wheelchair-accessible, while others are not. Since they operate using air pressure and use gravity to lower the cab, pneumatic elevators use less energy than other models, which contributes to a lower monthly cost of operation.
A hydraulic elevator lifts the cab using a hydraulic ram, a piston inside a cylinder that is driven by a hydraulic fluid, typically oil. A pump forces fluid from a tank into a pipe that leads to the cylinder. If the valve is closed, the fluid is forced into the cylinder, which pushes a piston up and raises the elevator cab. When the valve is opened, the hydraulic fluid flows back into the reservoir and the cab descends.
Hydraulic elevators consume oil and need more frequent maintenance than other types of elevators. While they are more expensive than other types, hydraulic elevators offer quieter and smoother operation. Some hydraulic elevators require a pit and machine room.
Both pneumatic and hydraulic elevators are constructed with standard safety features. The type of elevator you choose for your house will depend on several factors, including the layout of your home, the amount of space available, and the costs of installation, operation, and maintenance. Home elevators can be customized with an array of styles and features to suit your tastes and your home’s décor.