I live on the 21st floor of a building and I ride an elevator everyday.

I was wondering if I got stuck in the elevator for an extended length of time, could I use up all of the air in the elevator car and suffocate?

  • 1
    Well, Nicholas White survived 41 hours trapped in an elevator.
    – Andres
    May 31, 2011 at 14:48
  • Elevators are ventilated at both the top and bottom. Even when the electrical ventilators (fans) are off, air flow occurs simply because you're in a tall shaft, and your body heat is creating a draft. Can't find any easy to reference elevator design docs right now, though.
    – Adam Davis
    May 31, 2011 at 15:41
  • @Adam, I didn't think it was sealed tightly enough for it to be a problem. I figured this site would help me put my fears 100% to rest though.
    – jjnguy
    May 31, 2011 at 15:46
  • Most areas have specific codes on elevator hoistway ventillation. This one, for instance, requires that the entire hoistway air be exchanged 12 times per hour: nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/cc_chapter30.pdf . Still haven't found anything specific enough for my taste though.
    – Adam Davis
    May 31, 2011 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


No for Normal / slow speed elevators, they usually have a ventilator to run a fan.

High speed elevators are some times are pressurized , those I guess may block out air ventilation.

  • 2
    Hi Ravi. You need to add some references to support your claims.
    – Oddthinking
    May 31, 2011 at 13:05
  • and if you are trapped due to a power outage, the ventilator fan won't be running.
    – fred
    May 31, 2011 at 14:26
  • Ah , Well this is my first answer here , Not sure I can get claims for these, should I go ahead and delete the answer? @Fred : but the ventilators allow air to flow through , the fan is just for the extra speed :)
    – Ravi Vyas
    May 31, 2011 at 15:41
  • popsci.com/content/world%E2%80%99s-fastest-elevator "Pressurized" elevators are pressurized due to their speed and the compressing air in front of them. They use fans to maintain pressure at a comfortable level, but they are not sealed - primarily due to regulations and laws on elevator ventilation systems. So whether moving or still, high speed or slow, all elevators are actively vented when there's power, and passively vented (convection) when there's no power. None are sealed.
    – Adam Davis
    Jul 25, 2014 at 17:11

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