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Can Electric Wheelchairs Get Wet ?

Yes and no. As a regular electric wheelchair user, you’ll occasionally get trapped in the snow or rain and be left with no other option but to go through large puddles. The exposure to such environment cannot be controlled since weather change rapidly in most states around the world. In the actual world, water is an essential part of life. Weather can not be predicted or controlled. You can be outdoors with your electric chair and all of a sudden, a snow or rain shower hits! And, even after the rain stops, there may be many large piles of snow or puddles on the sidewalks or the roads. It is crucial to know how water affects an electric wheelchair. By taking quick action after direct contact with water, you can prolong the performance and life of an electric wheelchair.

When faced with unexpected inclement weather, there are some things you can do. Based on the heaviness and severity of the snow or rain, we recommend looking for shelter until the snow or rainfall stops. Try to avoid those large puddles. Your electric chair is well-equipped with electronics, and prolonged or direct exposure to dampness or water may cause an electric wheelchair to malfunction mechanically or electronically. Water can make the electrical parts to corrode and the metal frame of your wheelchair to rust.

What To Do If Your Electric Wheelchair Gets In Contact With Water

Dry out your electric wheelchair with a dry towel as soon as you can. Wipe down every surface of the chair. Allow your electric chair to rest in a warm, dry space for half a day to let unseen liquids to evaporate. Check the activeness of the breaks and joystick before using your motorized wheelchair again. If you find any malfunctions, take your electric wheelchair to your provider as soon as possible.

You should examine your motorized wheelchair from time to time for signs of damages caused as a result of water exposure, incontinence, or bodily fluid exposure. Any damaged parts should be treated or replaced immediately, so reach out to your authorized wheelchair provider for proper servicing.

There are few other steps you can take as a wheelchair owner to further preserve your motorized wheelchair. Some wheelchair owners pack plastic bags with them; when an unexpected rain falls, they quickly cover their joystick or controller with these plastic bags to shield it from snow or rain. Also, it is equally a great idea to examine the weather before leaving the house. If the weather forecast says there will be rain, consider staying home or changing your plans.

By knowing the effect of rain and taking the right steps to help reduce exposure, you will help in ensuring that your electric wheelchair remains in its best condition for best performance. It is important to know how moisture affects an electric chair and what to do afterward. Below are some things you can do to:

Seek Shelter

Seek shelter at once if you get stuck in a snowstorm or rain. Try to find an indoor shelter if you can. If you are caught outdoors try to locate a covered roof close to shopping centers or other nearby areas that you can get shelter from quickly. However, ensure that you find a place with hard flooring to prevent your wheelchair from getting caught in the mud.

Dry The Surface Of Your Electric Wheelchair

Chances are your motorized device will get wet now and then. Nevertheless, you can take action at once afterward by drying the outer parts of your electric chair by using a soft cloth (dry cloth) to absorb the liquid. Carefully dab external electronic parts to help deter the water from causing any damage.

Allow The Water To Evaporate

If you can, leave your mobility device to stay unused for half a day to allow the leftover water to evaporate naturally. You can do this during your resting hours to help deter serious damages from happening to the electronic components.

Check The Activeness Of Your Power Wheelchair

Once you have gotten rid of the water from your wheelchair’s surface and allowed all the electronic parts to dry, you will need to check the activeness of your electric wheelchair. Charge the batteries and start using your motorized device as you normally do. Nevertheless, before you get too far, check the controller by using it in all directions to ensure that it is working well. Lack of response or signs of hesitation after the controller has been utilized could mean that the parts need to dry for a longer period, or there have been some serious damages that need repairs.

Prevent Damages

Keep a close eye on your state’s weather report and be ready ahead of time as this will help you stop your electric wheelchair from being damaged by water. If you have a busy schedule and still have to go out even if it’s raining, try using a raincoat or other related products to shield the electronic component in your power wheelchair. Some motorized device users make use of a poncho-style raincoat that covers them and the external parts of their wheelchair.

Carefully navigating around or avoiding water puddles works too. Sometimes you cannot predict the depth of a puddle so it will be best to completely avoid all puddles even if it means changing track. 

All damages done to your power wheelchair that has to do with water should only be fixed by a well-trained technician. Avoid trying to fix your wheelchair damages by yourself as it could end up leading to more damages. The moment you notice your motorized device has been affected by water call a wheelchair repair team at once. 

You depend on your electric chair every single day, so examining it regularly will help keep it running well for many years to come. Follow this maintenance tip for your motorized device to lower service expenses and the stress that comes with waiting for your wheelchair repairs to be done.

Establish a weekly and daily routine using these tips to keep your electric wheelchair running normally, and ask your family members or caregivers for help, especially if you find it hard to stand steady on both feet while examining and cleaning the wheelchair.

Your Power Wheelchair Toolkit

Create a special toolkit to make caring for your electric wheelchair much easier. As soon as you gather every tool and cleaner you think you might need, keep them all together in a little bag that zips or has an easy-open closure. You may see some certain tools recommended in the wheelchair’s manual, however, add some things like a towel, some small soft cloths, a little bucket to hold water, a flat-head screwdriver, Allen wrench, Phillips screwdriver, and a small cleaning brush or toothbrush.

A cheap, effective, and gentle soap is also recommended; these soaps can be found in most hardware stores. Follow the instructions on your preferred gentle soap to dilute effectiveness. If you have more hard cleaning, like crusted-on food, then you can utilize a stronger soap to clean it. Another great option is the ammonia-free glass cleaner.

Always remember not to use oily cleaners on your power wheelchair, especially not on the seat and tires

Daily Electric Wheelchair Cleaning

Every part of your wheelchair must be washed each day with a reasonable amount of warm soapy water or with a spray cleaner when you are done using your motorized device each day. Food deposits and built-up dirt can cause your electric wheelchair mechanisms to fail even faster. This cleaning will not take much of your time when done once a day. Once you wash your wheelchair, get it wiped with a soft cloth dipped in clean water, then dry it all off with a clean, dry towel. Check every small space for a trace of moisture. You use the joystick so much every day that a daily cleaning keeps oil and dirt from getting to the crevices.

Battery Maintenance

Dry out your battery immediately after your electric wheelchair is exposed to water. Do not stop charging your power wheelchair battery, even if you have not used the wheelchair for a whole day. You won’t only love it knowing that your battery is well charged and ready for use, but proper care will prolong the life of your wheelchair battery. 

Along with overnight battery charges, these recommendations have been made by many different physicians as a way of maintaining your battery. Always charge the battery of a brand new electric wheelchair to the fullest. Never allow the charge level to drop below 70% during the first ten days of its use. Try not to use batteries for too long without charging. And use only the designated charger to charge the battery.

Always Keep Your Electric Wheelchair Dried

Corrosion can happen whenever your electric wheelchair is exposed to the weather, so always make sure that your electric chair is dry after every outing. Take extra care by drying all electrical parts like the joystick and wire as well.

While it is best not to use an electric wheelchair in the snow or rain, sometimes you might have no other choice. If you must use your wheelchair in the snow or rain, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services advise wrapping a nice plastic bag over the external power components to protect them from the elements.

Electric Wheelchair Tire Maintenance

Check your wheelchair tires after they have been exposed to water. Keep both tires inflated at the required pressure level recommended in the chair’s operating manual or stamped on the tire. Underinflated tires can cause your mobility device to veer off or wobble to one end when trying to drive straight. Underinflated or overinflated tires can wear greatly and are likely not to last as long as they suppose to.

Tubeless tires are often used in most electric wheelchair models. Instead of using an inner tube, a sealant that protects the inner tire wall is used. This helps in preventing flats. If you use tubeless tires on your power wheelchair, then ensure that you maintain the right air pressure. When the tires pressure is too low, it may cause pinch flats; a situation where both tire walls pinch against the rims of the wheels.

Always Read Your Wheelchair Manual

Remember to read your electric wheelchair’s operating manual to learn more about protecting it from water and know more about other maintenance information or features that are specific to its model and make. You will also find maintenance information and safety suggestions on your wheelchair manual. The manual should have essential phone numbers to call whenever you need help with finding a repair technician or solving a problem. When you are done reading the manual, keep it safe with your cleaning toolkit or keep it away in a place you can easily find.

Conclusion 

Electric wheelchairs are by far the most popular type because they provide all those who use them with greater mobility freedom. A wheelchair user in this type of chair does not have to depend on a caregiver or any form of an assistant, except for getting in and out of the chair. 

Once in position, even those with serious mobility problems can go from one place to another with ease. These wheelchairs are among the best types of chairs for people suffering from cerebral palsy, and those with similar mobility-restricting issues. They are significantly more costly than the manual wheelchairs and they are worth every extra penny!  

It is very important to take good care of your electric wheelchair and its accessories. It is a great investment and it also gives you mobile freedom, getting you to your desired places at your desired time. 

Keep your electric wheelchair dry and far away from water. You do not want the joystick, gears, battery, or other electrical and mechanical parts to get destroyed by liquids. If water spills on your wheelchair, clean it up at once. 

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