Dumbwaiters travel within a hoist-way carrying various objects. The car (the box that carries the load) moves within the hoist-way along a guide rail to keep it in place. A cable and motor are generally used to lift and lower the car.
Many homes have dumbwaiters going from the garage to the kitchen for groceries, from the upper-level rooms to the basement for laundry or even to carry firewood from the basement to the upper floors. In today’s urban centers, homes are being built on smaller pieces of land, one floor stacked on top of another, requiring the residents to carry heavy loads up and down a large number of stairs. A dumbwaiter can add convenience and safety for the homeowner, and add value to the home.
Some things to think about when choosing a dumbwaiter are:
Will it work in your home? – Are there any obstructions such as toilets, bathtubs, plumbing lines, electrical wiring and weight-bearing floor joists? Do you have enough space to build a hoist-way? Generally about 4 square feet is required.
What are you lifting? – How large and heavy will the items be? A typical car is 20”w x 20”d x 30”h. Residential dumbwaiters usually have a weight capacity of 100-200lbs.
Travel – Most travel up to 30’ but some may travel 50’. Also, decide how many stops the dumbwaiter should make. Most allow up to 3-4 stops.
Finishes and Doors – Car finishes are available in many materials/finishes. Powder coated or stainless steel is the most common. The actual car door is generally a center bi-parting style door. Landing doors are not included with the dumbwaiter so that the homeowner can select doors that match the home décor. Safety interlocks are installed on the landing doors.
Tips & Resources
Motors and vital dumbwaiter components are usually installed above or below the car
Select a dumbwaiter that can operate on household current (110-120 volts, 60 Hz, single phase)
Most manufacturer warranties will not cover installations performed by anyone other than an authorized dealer. An experienced local dealer will be able to install a dumbwaiter in your home so it’s safe to use for years to come.