If you’re thinking of installing a home elevator but are worried about giving up floor space or taking on costly renovations, a pneumatic vacuum elevator (PVE) may be the solution for you. Using patented technology, PVEs are innovative, space-saving, and powered by air.

This article takes a closer look at how pneumatic vacuum elevators work and the benefits of installing one in your home.

What is a Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator?

A pneumatic vacuum elevator (PVE) is a type of elevator that uses air pressure to gently lift and lower an elevator car instead of cables and pistons. Because it doesn’t require heavy equipment like traditional elevators, it takes up considerably less space and is highly energy-efficient.

PVEs consist of three main components:

  • A transparent, external cylinder made of aluminum framing and clear, curved polycarbonate panels.
  • An interior passenger car that runs on rails built into the cylinder. The car also houses the brakes and safety mechanisms.
  • The turbine assembly located at the top of the cylinder that powers the elevator and consists of turbine engines, valves, and a control board.

This self-supporting elevator is ideal for small spaces because it doesn’t require a machine room or pit for installation. It can be installed through a floor hole, placed within a set of wraparound stairs, or mounted to a balcony landing for easy, flexible setup.

How do Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators Work?

A pneumatic vacuum elevator’s movement is controlled by differences in air pressure above and below the interior cabin. The pressure is created by a system of valves and turbines. When air is extracted from the cylinder, the elevator car travels gently upwards, pushed by air pressure below the car. When air is let back into the hoistway, the car descends at a smooth, controlled speed.

Once the cabin reaches the appropriate floor, a mechanical anchoring system activates and locks the car into position while passengers safely load or unload. This energy-efficient elevator is driven by air and uses only a small amount of electricity.

Pneumatic vacuum elevators are fully certified and meet the safety requirements of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. If there’s a power failure, the elevator switches to an automatic slow descent that brings it safely to the lower floor. Backup brakes and locks remain operational and the door opens to allow passengers to disembark.

PVEs also have the capability to meet seismic requirements in regions that are likely to experience earthquakes. Brackets can be used to bolt the elevator to the ground floor to improve stability.

7 Advantages of installing a Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator

1. Space-Saving Design

Many residential elevators have installation requirements that can make it challenging to fit an elevator into a smaller home. Typically, they require a machine room or pit under the lowest floor, construction of an elevator shaft, and clearance above the highest floor.

PVEs have a compact, self-contained design that takes up minimal space. The only floor space required is to accommodate the elevator’s exterior cylinder, which ranges in size between 30″ to 52″ in diameter, depending on the model.

2. Easy Installation

Traditional elevators often require significant renovations to a home to accommodate intricate machinery. Because a PVE is driven by air, it doesn’t require cables, pistons, chains, or counterweights, saving customers from a lengthy and disruptive construction process.

This compact elevator can be retrofitted into an existing home or included in design plans of new construction. The cylinder comes in modular sections that fit together securely for hassle-free assembly. As the PVE installation doesn’t require an elevator shaft or pit, it can be up and running in two to three days.

3. Movable After Installation

You may not think of elevators as portable, but PVEs are completely self-contained. They’re designed to be freestanding and don’t have to be built into the framework of a home. This innovative design means the elevator can be uninstalled and transferred to a different location if you decide to remodel your home or move to another residence.

4. Eco-Friendly

PVEs rely on air pressure, making them a clean, environmentally-friendly way to improve your home’s accessibility. Because they don’t use heavy equipment, there are no oils, lubricants, or gasses required.

This energy-efficient elevator also consumes minimal power. Standard models use only 4.7 kilowatts of energy when the cabin is ascending. The descent relies on gravity and doesn’t use any electricity. PVEs operate on a 220V power supply and can be plugged into a wall, similar to a washer and dryer.

5. Highly Functional

They may be the smallest home elevator on the market, but PVEs provide all the necessary utility to safely and smoothly transport passengers between floors in a multi-level home. They travel up to 50 feet vertically and can be programmed to make up to five stops.

Standard features include push-button controls, automatic interior LED lighting, and a fan to keep the cabin cool and comfortable. Other options include an emergency phone and cabin key lock.

6. Stylish Elegance

Streamlined and elegant, pneumatic vacuum elevators are beautiful enough to be displayed as a showpiece in an entryway, living room, or wraparound stairwell. Their sleek style demonstrates that elevators don’t have to be big and cumbersome.

Its modern, cylindrical design features transparent polycarbonate panels that offer 360-degree panoramic visibility. Natural light can flow through the cabin, creating a pleasant experience for passengers as they travel.

The clean, uncluttered lines also offer contemporary styling. There are no ramps, posts, cables or unsightly components, allowing the PVE to integrate naturally into a room.

PVEs come in attractive finishes including dark gray, light gray, white, black, taupe and silver to coordinate with a variety of interior designs.

7. Minimal Maintenance

Most residential elevators require servicing annually, but PVEs have few moving parts and minimal wear and tear because of their simple architecture. Based on average use, they should be professionally serviced to replace the main seal once every four to five years, or every 15,000 rides.

Why Buy a Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator?

If you need a residential elevator that’s stylish, easy to install, and eco-friendly, look no further than a pneumatic vacuum elevator. Contact us for a free consultation today!