Dumbwaiters were once a very common feature in many homes. Used primarily to transport plates of food from downstairs kitchens to upstairs living areas, these mini-elevators can still be seen in older homes. Early dumbwaiters were operated manually, but modern dumbwaiters are typically electrically powered, making them even more convenient. Though these devices have not been used much in residential construction for many decades, they are now seeing a rise in popularity--particularly in homes being remodeled to meet the needs of seniors.
1.Modern Uses for Classic Technology
Dumbwaiters are now seeing a rise in popularity--particularly in homes being remodeled to meet the needs of seniors.
Today's dumbwaiters transport much more than flatware! Modern models tend to be larger than their predecessors and are designed to transport bulkier loads. In homes where the garage is located a floor below the kitchen, a dumbwaiter can be used to quickly and conveniently send groceries up from the car. Homes that heat with wood or coal may find that one of these devices makes moving fuel from one level to another far more efficient. Some dumbwaiters are employed to make laundry day less of a hassle. And, of course, they can still be used to send prepared food from one floor of the home to the next.
2.Dumbwaiters and Senior Living
People are living longer and a growing number of seniors are seeing the very practical benefits these devices offer in their day to day lives. Instead of risking injury carrying heavy or cumbersome items up one or more flights of stairs, the addition of a dumbwaiter offers many folks a much more convenient alternative. These fixtures can also be of great use to younger people with limited mobility (not to mention those whose mobility is unhindered, but who would simply rather not bear the burden of carrying difficult items up from the ground floor).
3.Dumbwaiter Design and Features
Modern dumbwaiters can be made with any dimensions you desire and can be built to carry extremely heavy loads. Unlike their predecessors, today's models have safety features like child-proofing, thermal sensors, magnetic door switches that prevent the device from moving when a door is left open, and many others. They can be designed to stop on only two levels of the home or to have stops on multiple floors. In a very real sense, the modern dumbwaiter is far more effective, efficient, and safe than its predecessors and can be built to meet many more needs conveniently than ever before.
4.Installing a Dumbwaiter
Though many of these devices are fairly simple in design, they require specialized installation that prohibits many do-it-yourselfers from tackling the task. Additionally, since many calls for dumbwaiter installation will focus on retrofitting the device rather than designing a floor plan that accommodates it, special care must be taken to ensure smooth operation without compromising the effectiveness of other home components. Professional installation is a near necessity for most, and the folks that install dumbwaiters can typically offer homeowners far more options in both form and function than any DIY attempt could.
Dumbwaiters are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to remodeling to meet the needs of seniors. Ramps, railings, lifts, alternate outlet placement, and many other features and services can all be integral parts of making a home more accommodating for independent living. There are a number of contractors who now specialize in senior living remodels, and these professionals can offer improvements and give suggestions that can make just about any residence more senior-friendly. Whether you are thinking of remodeling for yourself or for a loved-one, having a conversation with one of these professionals can definitely uncover solutions that you may have never imagined and--most importantly--can make a senior's living space far more conducive to independence.