Dumb waiters are enormously versatile pieces of equipment that can be useful additions to practically any building or business. They are particularly useful when installed in aged care homes, allowing quick and easy transportation of hot meals, medications and other items between floors not easily traversed by elderly and infirm residents.
However, there are as many types and configurations of dumb waiter available for sale as there are potential uses for them, and choosing a model capable of handling the needs of an old care home is vital for maximising the efficiency and working lifespan of your dumb waiter. As such, you should ask yourself the following questions when shopping around for dumb waiter models, to ensure you get the waiter most suited to the needs of both your staff and your residents.
How large should the dumb waiter be?
Bigger is not always better when it comes to dumb waiters, as larger models are more expensive to purchase, install and run. Conversely, a dumb waiter that lacks sufficient space for your carrying needs can be more of a hindrance than a help, so you should match the capacity of your new dumb waiter to the size of the loads it would ordinarily be expected to handle.
Generally speaking, a dumb waiter will need to be larger the more residents you have in your care home, and a larger dumb waiter will allow simultaneous delivery of large numbers o meals, medications and other necessary items. However, you should bear in mind that large dumb waiters will require extensive modifications of your existing building in order to accommodate their shafts. This can be difficult to deal with in high-capacity homes where every square foot of space is important.
Does the dumb waiter have sufficient load-bearing strength?
Dumb waiters generally have a very generous maximum lifting capacity, and even modestly-sized models should have no problems dealing with the weights of everyday objects. However, dumb waiters can also be useful for transferring heavier objects, such as oxygen tanks, dialysis machines and other bulky pieces of medical apparatus, between floors. If your dumb waiter will be used for these purposes, opting for a higher lifting capacity is recommended.
What materials should the dumb waiter be made from?
Most dumb waiter models are made from pressed steel, which is covered in various durable coatings to prevent rust and corrosion. However, aged care homes are necessarily quite warm and humid environments for the sake of the comfort of the residents, and this environment can promote rusting of essential dumb waiter components as they age and their protective coatings wear off. This problem can be exacerbated when the dumb waiter serves particularly humid rooms, such as conservatories, spas and kitchens.
If rust is a concern for you, you can opt for a dumb waiter model made from non-ferrous materials, such as stainless steel or metal. However, these models will generally be considerably more expensive to purchase, and may not be worth the extra price in a well-ventilated building.