SpaceLift in The Villages

Customer Letter about Their SpaceLift™ Storage Lift Installation in The Villages®, Florida.

We sometimes get such wonderful letters that we want to share them in full with our website visitors and blog readers. (A few excerpts from Bill’s letter are on our Testimonials Page.) Such is the case with this “love letter” from a very happy customer. Our SpaceLift in The Villages story fits the huge retirement community to a tee. If you know of The Villages, it is a very large active adult 55+ retirement community in Central Florida. One of its endearing factors is that you can go everywhere in a golf cart and membership there gets you golf for life on a number of beautiful courses. Bill T. moved there and needed to store some of this stuff . . . oh heck, we’ll let him tell the story:

Bill’s Letter

“We recently moved to ‘The Villages’ in Florida from Texas.  The move was part of a downsizing and also a move to be closer to my wife’s parents.  Even though we eliminated a great amount of household goods, we were still left with seasonal items and tools that needed storage.

Most every resident in The Villages uses their garage attic for storage.  Storage space inside these modest homes is limited.  In our case, the attic already had a plywood floor but approximately only 4-feet of overhead space.

While we are still young enough to move items up the pull-down stairway, we knew there would come a day this would become increasingly dangerous.  In addition, since we are Do-it-Yourselfers, there are the occasional tools that needed storage.  The Spacelift is big enough to move a job-site table saw into the attic.  We also have a preference to a tidy garage.

Large table saw would be very difficult to carry up and down an attic ladder.

After researching the most popular options the choices were clear between Spacelift and Versalift.  We selected Spacelift primarily since it did not require any overhead space Versalift has a cage/frame and Spacelift mounts flush with the attic floor.  However, there were other reasons including easier installation, a clean-look to the ceiling, and the price was less.  Both products could lift 200-pounds which was more than adequate.  With exception to the wall mounted remote, the Spacelift is completely self-contained.

We did choose the 5228-S Model which did require cutting a joist and providing sister joists for extra support.  The 5222-S Model will fit between 24-inch joists and would be easier to install.

The installation was very straightforward and can be done in just a few hours.  We took a little more time to trim and paint the ceiling. The instructions were very detailed.

Finished ceiling trimmed for a neat look.

We could not be happier!  The quality and thought that went into the Spacelift is very impressive!  The microprocessor controls slows the platform before it reaches the top or the bottom.  The controls are simple and the safety features for overloading, jams, slack tension detection are important.  The spring mounted ceiling panel always makes a flush fit when fully raised.  The nylon webbing that lifts the platform rolls flat and cleanly onto the rollers.  We had concerns about the aircraft wire consistently spooling properly on the Versalift.

One additional advantage we discovered over the Versalift is the Spacelift can be stopped short of the top to allow airflow into the attic that helps keep the garage cooler.  This is a more aesthetically pleasing solution than most other home owners we’ve seen that put a block of wood on their pull-down stairs to create the same type of airflow.

Neighbors that have seen the Spacelift are jealous!”

Regards,

Bill T
The Villages, Florida

tidy garage in The Villages, Florida, thanks to SpaceLift attic lift
Bill T and wife’s very tidy garage with their new SpaceLift in The Villages, FL. SpaceLift is in the back of the garage, center, moving containers into their attic for storage.

Attic Elevators: Cost, Safety & Convenience

three bins on a SpaceLift attic lift demonstrate no vertical limitation

Updated April 8, 2021

Attic elevators come in a wide variety of styles and capacities. This article covers the most popular type. These attic elevators are smaller units meant to carry freight only; no people allowed on board. Also called attic lifts or storage lifts, they are motorized platforms that carry storage items and other cargo between floors in homes, garages and businesses. They act like mini freight elevators to carry storage into your attic. They’re dumbwaiters for your stuff. They generally range in capacity from 200 to 500 pounds per trip.

Attic elevators carry storage items from living spaces and garages into,
and out of, attic storage. (Shown is a SpaceLift™ attic lift. Note attic ladder in background.)

1. Cost

Popular attic elevators designed to carry storage items cost from $1,895 to $3,797 (2021 pricing).

On the lower end of the price range, SpaceLift Products offers the SpaceLift™ attic lift Model 5222-SC for $1,895 with free shipping and a two-year warranty. The unit is 22 inches wide by 57.5 inches long and 7 inches high.  Capacity is 200 pounds and 24 cubic feet per trip. It comes with two controls, one mounted on the unit and another for wall mounting. (SpaceLift Products offers a second model 28 inches wide with the same length and height for $100 more.)

VersaLift Systems lifts start at $2,397 for a unit 20 3/4 inches wide by 44 inches long, carrying 15 cubic feet per trip and up to 200 lbs. Its largest model goes for $3,797 for 34 inches wide by 69 inches long and 60 inches high. Capacity is 250 pounds and 35 cubic feet per trip. (The difference between models is whether it has a wireless remote or wall-mounted control.)

Installation costs for these attic elevators or attic lifts start around $500. Some models like the SpaceLift are often installed as do-it-yourself, DIY, projects. It is designed to fit between floor joists in the attic. Installation requires basic carpentry and electrical skills.

Of course there are full-size home elevators that can carry people and freight. But the average cost of this type of home elevator is $10,000 to $40,000 plus $20,000 or more to install it, according to Retirement Living.

2. Safety

There are many good reasons to install an attic elevator. Safety is a big one. Carrying boxes, storage containers, bins, clothing, furniture and more up and down a pull-down attic stairs or ladder is dangerous and difficult. Instead, the attic elevator carries all those items in and out of storage. The only thing going up and down the attic stairs is the homeowner.

As described in a SpaceLift Products blog on Ladder Safety at Home, half a million people fall from ladders annually, about 400 of those accidents are fatal.

The National Safety Council stresses always maintaining three points of contact with the ladder or stairs at all time: two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot. Carrying anything makes it nearly impossible to have one or both hands free for stability and climbing.

As with any mechanical appliance, safety is a consideration in operation. Some attic elevators like the SpaceLift attic lift have built-in, computer-controlled, safety features. SpaceLift storage lifts detect any obstruction to movement and stop automatically. They also detect if too much weight is placed on the platform and will not operate, thereby protecting the unit and user from overload.

Not all attic elevators stop automatically if something – or worse yet someone – is in the way. One company’s user manual warns of broken bones and amputation danger.

Not all attic elevators detect load weights beyond motor capacity. Overloads can damage or burn out the lift motor.

The essential challenge: moving items in and out of attic storage safely and conveniently. Carrying on those rickety attic stairs is not the safest choice.

3. Convenience

While the function of all attic elevators is similar, their designs vary widely. Some lifts have high loading platforms, which require you to lift storage items up onto, and again out of, the lift. All but the SpaceLift have framing or straps protruding into the attic space. This limits where in the attic your lift can be located depending upon roof pitch and available height above the attic floor.

The largest seller, VersaLift uses a platform topped by a four-post upper frame connected to a center overhead bar.  Two cables on either end of the center bar pull it up into the attic. In the attic is a slightly larger receiving frame protruding into the attic space that houses the motor.

That overhead bar restricts how high a load the user can stack on the lift. Something tall like an artificial Christmas tree or clothes rack will not fit. Load height on the most popular model is limited to 39 inches; however at 29 inches the four sidebars begin to bend toward the center overhead bar. It also uses a chain around three sides of the frame to contain items. Working around the fixed frame restricts loading and unloading the unit with access from one side only.

SpaceLift attic lift offers a concealed elegance design. Its compact housing fits between attic floor joists and below the attic floor. It pulls from all four corners with microprocessor-controlled, poly-web straps rated at 500 pounds. It comes in two sizes, 18 and 22 inches wide, both 57 ½ inches long. The box housing the motor and computer controls is just 7 inches high. Its low profile means there are many placement options in your attic.

The SpaceLift attic lift has no vertical height restriction for loading storage items. You can stack items as high as ceiling clearance allows. Its low profile loading platform can be easily accessed from all four sides.

SpaceLift attic elevator drawing showing entire mechanism. Motor and controller fit between attic floor joists.

Aladdin Storage Lift has a very large raised deck with a metal box frame around the bottom. The attic opening required is 82 by 46 ½ inches. It pulls from all four corners with cables. In the attic space, one must install ceiling support straps and the motor box sits above the attic floor. Its high deck and railing mean loading and unloading items requires extra lifting to move items on and off the lift. Aladdin even sells a loading ramp as an accessory.

The Attic Lift Company makes semi-custom lifts, mostly of larger sizes and capacities. Models use either steel frames or posts that protrude into the attic space. They have only one side open for loading a high deck platform; some come with a built-in loading ramp.

References:

SpaceLift Pricing
https://www.spaceliftproducts.com/shop/

VersaLift Pricing
https://versaliftsystems.com/pages/pricing

Retirement Living Home Elevators Guide:
https://www.retirementliving.com/home-elevators

SpaceLift Blog Ladder Safety
https://www.spaceliftproducts.com/ladder-safety/

Aladdin Storage Lift
https://www.aladdinstoragelift.com/shop/

The Attic Lift Company
https://theatticlift.com

Ladder Safety Inspires SpaceLift™ attic lift

Ladder safety inspired the SpaceLift™ attic lift.  That scary attic ladder or folding stairs is one of the biggest impediments to getting more use of your attic storage space. Rightfully so, carrying items of any size in and out of the attic is a home safety concern. Ladder safety guidelines say you must always maintain three points of contact with the ladder. See photo. That’s impossible when carrying a storage container or box. This blog offers safety tips and warnings. SpaceLift™ Products posted it now because March is ladder safety month, so named by The American Ladder Institute.

Half a million people fall from ladders annually. Most, 97 percent, of those accidents occur at home or on farms. About 400 prove fatal. Worse yet, ladder-related injuries are increasing, as much as 50 percent over the course of a 16-year study. (Statistics are from Liberty Mutual – Research Institute for Safety as quoted in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.)

Attic Ladder Safety Concerns

McGarry and Madsen Home Inspection of Gainesville and The Villages, Florida, offers an excellent blog post, “What are the Warning Signs of a Dangerous Attic Pull-Down Ladder?” They write that, “Even if an attic ladder is correctly installed and maintained it can be dangerous if used improperly. Manufacturers always specify that you face the ladder when on it, which is the way most people go up the stairs. But trying to descend the stairs facing away from it – perhaps because you are carrying a large object – is unsafe and the cause of numerous falls. Have a second person at the base of the ladder to hand larger items down to.

“Also, most ladders are rated for a 250-pound load (total weight of you and anything you are holding). Exceeding the rated load can cause failure, typically of the treads.”

Read all 10 attic ladder safety tips on McGarry and Madsen’s blog here. It has excellent photos of some truly egregious attic ladder examples.

The good news is there are precautions you can take to reduce ladder risk, says the American Ladder Institute. It asserts, “every step matters . . . make sure you’re putting the right foot forward.” (OSHA ladder safety publications are available on the internet for work applications.)

Keep 3 Points of Contact

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers pointers to increase ladder safety at home or work. A key criteria is “Climb with Care.” Frequent use leads to complacency. “Make sure every time you step on a ladder you are mindful of the task at hand,” the NSC advises.

A very important precaution is always keeping three points of contact with the ladder or stairs at all time. Hold with two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Ladder manufacturers, the American Ladder Institute, and others echo this.

For attic stairs that is a big challenge. Most of us are using our attic ladder or stairs to carry all sorts of items in and out of storage. Carrying anything makes it nearly impossible to have one or both hands free for climbing. Most of us are probably guilty of holding a storage container ahead of us with two hands, using only our feet to balance. Your ladder stability is seriously compromised.

These concerns extend even to those of us with permanent attic stairways, or those who use their basements for storage too. Carrying anything of substance on stairs – or ladders – is inherently risky. It can be hard to see your feet, balance the load, plus hold onto the ladder or stair railing. We’ve all been there, right?

Ladder Safety Inspired SpaceLift™ Attic Lift

Concern about attic ladder accidents inspired inventor Dave Berliner to create his unique attic elevator. It is for cargo, not people. It carries up to 200 pounds and 24+ cubic feet per trip.

A SpaceLift™ attic lift works in conjunction with your attic access ladder, pull-down stairs or permanent stairs. The SpaceLift carries the load so you need worry only about yourself going up and down the attic ladder.

It’s a simple concept elegantly executed. SpaceLift is like a mini freight elevator for your attic (or basement). It’s a computer-controlled, motorized dumbwaiter carrying storage items between your living space and your attic at three-inches-per-second. It is push button easy.

Typically installed next to, or near, your attic access ladder or stairs, the SpaceLift fits neatly between the attic floor joists. Nothing protrudes above the attic floor. The attic elevator bottom is a panel that neatly snugs up to your ceiling. Its exclusive low-profile design allows more flexibility in cargo and where you place the lift. Because it pulls evenly on all four corners, SpaceLift has no vertical height restriction. You can stack your best storage containers high to make fewer trips. You can transport something tall like a Christmas tree box.

When attic storage access is easy, convenient and safe, you naturally use it more often. Claim more living space. Gain more storage space. Reduce clutter. Our customers love their lifts.

It is truly easier to see in action than to explain with words. Visit our homepage for a video of the SpaceLift in action.

Resources:

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News:

https://www.ishn.com/articles/106830-000-falls-from-ladders-annually-97-percent-occur-at-home-or-on-farms

McGarry and Madsen Home Inspection

https://www.howtolookatahouse.com/Blog/Entries/2018/8/what-are-the-warning-signs-of-a-dangerous-attic-pull-down-ladder.html

March National Ladder Safety Month

https://www.laddersafetymonth.com/About/National-Ladder-Safety-Month

Customer Letter

We don’t usually devote a blog post to a customer testimonial. However we were so delighted to receive this letter from Gary Carlson of Massachusetts that we felt it worth sharing the whole letter. On our Testimonials page we’ve included some snippets of what he writes below. Thank you Gary for the very kind words. And thank you to his wife Donna who purchased the lift for him. Here’s their SpaceLift attic lift success story . . .

Gary’s Customer Testimonial

We are extremely happy with our SpaceLift.  From start to finish it has been a great experience.

Ordering the unit was extremely easy. We couldn’t believe how fast it came. We completed our order on a Wednesday evening and we received it on Friday the same week…awesome!!!! All our communications with the staff were quickly responded to, with knowledgeable and very courteous answers.

SpaceLift attic lift installed with 12-foot ceiling

We installed the SpaceLift ourselves. We completed the installation of the SpaceLift in one weekend. The unit came in two well-packed and organized heavy-duty cartons. All parts were well marked. The pre-site documentation was invaluable in selecting an optimum site to install the unit. (Site Guide) The Installation documentation was very clear and concise, leaving no guesswork. (Installation Page)The hardest part of the installation was framing in the opening for the SpaceLift as our garage has 12-foot-high ceilings with 2×12 joists. After that was done, it was a breeze to install and setup the unit. After installing the hardware, the setup of the straps to the platform was easy as well. There were detailed directions about how to first start up the SpaceLift and how to calibrate the upper and lower limits, with key points highlighted to help avoid any issues.

If you look at the top of this photo you can see the 12-foot high garage ceiling. Fortunately, the SpaceLift attic lift has 15 feet of travel.

The SpaceLift has made our life so much easier with getting heavy awkward crates, furniture and other difficult items up to the upper level of our garage. We would otherwise have to carry these items up a set of long steep stairs that have been difficult and even somewhat dangerous at times. We have been using the lift at least three to four times a week, with multiple lifts during each use. The quality of the SpaceLift is exceptional, constructed of heavy gauge steel, quality bearings and pulleys and all other components. We really liked the convenience of the wall mount control unit. Using a CAT-5 cable was ingenuous and simple to install.

We are looking forward to many happy years of use of the SpaceLift!!!

Regards,
Gary Carlson
Massachusetts

(Thank you Gary for the wonderful customer testimonial.)

customer SpaceLift attic storage lift loaded with furniture
SpaceLift installed with furniture aboard ready to move into the attic. A lot easier (and safer) than carrying up a stairs.
customer SpaceLift attic storage lift loaded with storage containers
Carlson SpaceLift attic lift with containers ready for their trip to the attic.

Safe Attic Storage Systems

What are some safety concerns for attic storage? What safe attic storage systems can you install yourself? Attics are wonderful for storage but there are important safety considerations. Properly prepared attics make great storage spaces. Attic storage is great for seasonal items like Halloween and Christmas decorations. It’s perfect for things you use only rarely like a miter saw. It’s a great place to hold things for years you’ll eventually want like baby clothes. Moving items into attic storage lets you claim more living space and reduce clutter. However there are some considerations to ensure your safety and preservation of your stored items.

Here are some key areas to consider for safe attic storage:

  • Attic access
    • For people
    • For storage items
  • Attic flooring systems
  • Attic roof framing
  • Attic climate

Attic Access Safety

Getting into your attic has two important considerations: access for people and access for storage items. Most attics are built with a hatch of some sort in their floor, that is, the ceiling of the living space below the attic. Many also come with an extendable, pull down ladder or stairs. These are a potential hazard on two levels. First, if they are improperly installed or maintained, they can fail, resulting in a nasty fall. Second, ladders are an okay attic access system for people, but not much good for cargo. Carrying items up and down the attic ladder or stairs is a significant concern.

Good ladder practice dictates keeping three points of contact with the ladder at all times: two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Giving up both hands to carry a storage bin or box of stuff up into the attic, balancing only on your feet, is risky. Risk is even greater if the storage item is bulky, odd shaped or very heavy.

ladder safety showing proper three points of contact

For those lucky few in older homes that have a dedicated attic stairway, these are the safest for conveying people, but still of concern for carrying storage items. You still have to let go of the handrail, if there is one, to go up and down when carrying something.

carrying storage bins in and out of the attic is risky, even with stairs

Unfortunately, few attics come with a dedicated system to move storage items in and out of the attic. SpaceLift Products offers an attic lift you can install. It’s like a dumbwaiter for your attic. Now you can use the attic ladder or stairs only for you. You load up to 200 pounds of attic storage items on one floor, push a button and meet your items on the other floor. Two people can even set up an fast and efficient chain system, one in the attic, the other in your garage or home living space, loading and unloading the lift. A SpaceLift attic lift is an integral part of safe attic storage systems.

Attic Flooring Safety

Do you remember the scene in “Christmas Vacation” where Clark Griswold is stumbling through his attic, stepping on loose boards laid over the floor joists, with the boards flipping up to slap him in the face? Next he takes a chance standing on the ceiling instead of the joists and breaks through to the room below. It’s funny in the movies, but in real life, people have broken legs falling through attic floors. One misstep can cause hundreds of dollars in damage. A proper attic floor is a key part of safe attic storage systems.

First you should know how much load your attic floor is designed to hold. DIY guru and “This Old House” host BobVila.com offers an article “Flooring 101: All You Need to Know about Attic Flooring.” Author Glenda Taylor states, “A common misconception is that it takes little more than the installation of some decking over the attic joists.”

Most attic structures are strong enough for storage of typical items like Christmas decorations and clothes. However some are made to support only the weight of the drywall ceiling hung below and little else.

Taylor says you can get some idea of your attic’s load bearing ability by examining the floor joists. The size of the joists and the spacing between them are key indicators. Joists made of 2x6s or 2x8s should be suitable for most attic storage items. Standard joist spacing is 16 inches on center. Sometimes to save money, builders will place joists 24 inches on center, obviously a weaker configuration.

The only way to be sure is to consult a structural engineer familiar with your local building codes.

A variety of methods to strengthen joists and attic flooring to carry a heavier load are described in the article.

For light storage, usually all that’s required is an attic floor or flooring system installed over the existing joists. At the very least you should create flooring around your attic access space and your SpaceLift attic lift. You can install just catwalks or put in a full floor. Remember to consider weight of flooring materials in your load calculations.

SpaceLift™ attic lift shown installed in the attic floor, surrounded by plywood flooring.
SpaceLift™ attic lift shown installed in the attic floor, surrounded by plywood flooring.

For joists on 16-inch spacing, ½ inch plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) 4 x 8 panels can be screwed into the joists. (Don’t use nails, you may disturb the drywall or plaster ceiling below.) For 24-inch centered joists, consider using sturdier ¾ inch plywood to prevent sagging.

An alternative to plywood, Metro Products offers Attic Dek, a plastic panel system. Lightweight but strong panels can be screwed to the joists in an open or interlocking configuration. They’re lighter to handle than plywood, won’t warp or sag and are premade with holes for screwing into 16 or 24 inch spaced joists. Attic Dek even includes the screws. The product was invented after the owner of a plastics company accidentally put his foot through his kitchen ceiling.

Proper attic flooring is an important component of safe attic storage systems.

Attic Roof Framing

Now that you have the floor resolved, look up . . . carefully.

Traditional house roofs are built with rafters running from a center beam at the peak down to the walls. Sometimes the rafters meet without a center beam. Newer construction methods use truss-framed roofs. Prefabricated trusses are big triangles that typically include the roof rafters and floor joists. Often they have additional bracing triangles built into them for strength. Trusses can limit space for moving about in the attic and storage options. Some modified versions are made with open space in the center for storage. Trusses should not be cut or compromised. Remember they’re holding up your roof and ceiling.

Once you’ve determined your attic framing system, there are several cautions to consider for your safe attic storage system. Of course you don’t want to exceed the attic framing’s load ability. This includes hanging items from the rafters or trusses. It might make for handy storage, but a heavy snow could compromise the structure.

Headspace is a consideration in many attics. They are often built lower than a standard ceiling height to save expense. You’ll want to site your attic access hatch and SpaceLift attic lift where you have maximum headspace. SpaceLift offers a site guide to help you determine the best place to install one in your attic.

Attic trusses are often manufactured with flat metal plates joining the wood. These are typically not finished and can have sharp edges. In high traffic areas you can pad the plates with duct tape or even insulation foam. Also, it is not unusual for roofing nails to be sticking down through the ceiling.

Attic Climate

Often attics are spaces are outside of the home’s thermal envelope, the insulated space keeping your living space comfy. Most attics do not have climate control, heat and air conditioning. To manage the attic space climate – and protect the living space climate – there are a wide variety of attic insulation and ventilation schemes. You should know and understand yours.

If you’re using your attic for storage only, generally you simply want to make sure you do not interfere with your existing insulation and air movement system. Don’t block vents with storage containers and don’t move or add insulation. Knowing what temperature extremes to expect in your attic in your part of the country helps inform the items suitable for storage there. Safe attic storage systems consider both the people using them and the items being stored.

Conclusion

A properly configured attic storage space adds value to your home. Convenient attic access is key to reducing clutter, claiming more living space and getting more enjoyment from your home and garage. Creating safe attic storage systems ensures these benefits for years to come. Often the best, and least expensive, home storage solution is right above your head.

SpaceLift attic storage lift shown from inside attic with plywood flooring surrounding the lift
SpaceLift™ attic storage lift being installed. View is in the attic. Note plywood flooring. Part of a safe attic storage system, an attic lift moves cargo in and out of your home or garage attic, instead of carrying on the attic ladder or stairs.

Resources:

Attic flooring safety:
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/attic-flooring/

The Spruce attic storage:
https://www.thespruce.com/attic-storage-1398040

Metro Products Attic Dek
http://metro-products.com

Home Storage Solutions 101, attic safety
https://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/attic-storage.html

DIY Stack Exchange
https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/9246/what-should-i-keep-in-mind-for-attic-storage-solutions-for-a-small-home-with-14

Attic Water Heater Perfect for SpaceLift™ Attic Lift

We learned about how a SpaceLift™ attic lift can help with your attic water heater from a satisfied customer, Tom Runge of Louisana. He wrote, “I am particularly excited about the fact that due to the size and allowed weight of the lift, I will be able to easily replace my 50 gallon water heaters when the time comes.  They are both up in the attic, and it is not an easy task to swap them out with the use of a nine foot fold down attic stair, which I have already done once.”

Locating hot water heaters, air conditioners, heaters and other HVAC utilities in the attic is a popular building method. It is especially popular where slab construction means a home with no basement. Locating home utilities in the attic saves valuable living space. In southern states it is also popular because there is little chance of waterlines freezing. Plus, solar heating of the attic space means the water heater works less. In this case a hot attic results in substantial savings on gas or electric bills. However the attic water heater can create some challenges, especially when it’s time to replace a unit.

Attic water heater a bonus application for our attic lifts

Not that Tom installed his SpaceLift™ attic lift just to replace his water heaters when they wear out.

As he says on our testimonials page: “Wanted to tell you again how proud I am of my attic lift. I use it about 4 or 5 times a month. The lift travels up and down in a total of 25 seconds. Due to age and arthritis it had become dangerous for me go up and down the attic stairs. SpaceLift provides the means for us to safely and quickly transfer items to and from the attic. My wife and I work as a team, with one in the attic and one down below. It is fast and efficient. I highly recommend the SpaceLift to anyone who desires a safe, fast and efficient means of utilizing their attic storage space. Hope your sales are reflecting the quality of the product. Wish I could do more to promote it for you”

SpaceLift attic lift customer Tom Runge told us about how is attic lift made it so much easier to replace the hot water heater in his attic.
SpaceLift™ customer Tom Runge from Louisiana with his SpaceLift™ attic storage lift wall mounted control.

SpaceLift design perfect for attic water heater replacement

Because a SpaceLift attic lift uses computer controls to pull from all four corners, there is no vertical height restriction. The lifts are rated for 200 pounds. This makes them ideal for carrying a hot water heater, or heater, or air conditioning unit.

Tom added, “FYI – a 50 gallon water heater (empty) weighs about 150 lbs, and are almost always tall and narrow, allowing them to fit on the lift.  This might be worth mentioning on your website, as a LOT of new homes have the heaters in the attic. “

On the web forum for the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, InterNACHI, James H. Bushart, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), answered an attic water heater inquiry,  “There are some legitimate reasons for locating a water heater in the attic since it is usually warmer than a basement, crawlspace or garage (depending upon your location). The pull-down-stairs to the attic allows access . . . but is unlikely to hold the weight of anyone trying to remove a bad water heater. There should always be a catwalk built to the water heater for replacement and service with plenty of room for access to all sides of it for inspection and maintenance. Being in the attic makes it easy for venting through the roof and, in most cases, it gives you much faster hot water distribution to your plumbing fixtures.”

Bushart also describes cautions for proper installation of a catch pan and drain to handle any water overflow. And he suggests that if the water heater is already located in the attic, it is best to ensure proper precautions but leave it there.

His concern about removing a spent water heater and carrying its replacement into the attic on the attic stairs is well founded. If you have the pull-down type attic stairs or ladder, they are generally rated at about 200 pounds’ capacity. That’s not enough strength to support the water heater and the man or men lugging it into and out of the attic.

Attic water heater tips from pros

An article by Family Handyman describes how to install a hot water heater. It states that water heaters weigh about 150 pounds and last seven to 15 years.

Building trades website Houzz describes the importance of having access to change out an attic water heater and summarizes some of the code requirements.

(Of course every attic is different. You can consult our installation manual on our website. Many SpaceLift attic lifts are installed as DIY, do it yourself, projects.)

The Houzz article says, in part, “Down in the sunbelt where there is little to no chance of a waterline freezing in the attic space it has become a common practice to put the water heater in the attic to conserve livable space, especially in contractor turnkey construction, but due to the physical problems and additional code requirements it is generally not considered economical for a retrofit.

In addition to all the regular code requirements for a water heater, when the water heater is installed in an attic you must first have an attic access hatch that is a minimum of 24″x36″, and even more for larger water heaters. Remember, the water heater must fit through the hatch to permit future change outs. The final location for the water heater may not be more than 20′ from the access hatch.”

Real estate site Trulia offers some maintenance tips to help your attic water heater, or any hot water heater, last longer:

  1. Clean/flush your tank annually or bi-annually. This will remove and reduce sediment. While increasing both the life of the unit and it’s efficiency (saving you money both ways). This can double the life of your unit.
  2. I would make sure you have a drain pan and a properly functioning Min. 3/4″ drain line to outside.
  3. If it’s a gas unit, have the gas company check out the burner/vent stack function annually.
  4. Replace the anode rod as needed and the unit will continue to “self-clean.”

For homeowners in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georia and Florida, and any other places with an attic water heater or other home utilities your attic, a SpaceLift attic lift can offer you a very nice benefit when it comes time to service or change the units.

Of course, the SpaceLift attic lift was invented for some of the same motivations that cause builders to place water heaters in the attic. Using your attic for storage helps you claim more living space, reduce clutter and better organize your home or garage. As you can read in our other blog postings, attic storage is perfect for seasonal items, holiday decorations, storage of items you want to keep but use infrequently and much, much more. Replacing an attic water heater that will someday need replacing is a bonus benefit.

Sources:

Testimonial, Tom Runge, Louisana

https://www.spaceliftproducts.com/products/testimonials/

Forum on International Association of Certified Home Inspectors InterNACHI:

https://www.nachi.org/forum/f22/water-heater-attic-58761/

Family Handyman How to Install a Hot Water Heater

https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/water-heater/replacing-a-water-heater/view-all/

On Houzz:

https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2533019/pros-cons-waterheater-in-attic

Clone Your Closet for More Closet Space

Everybody wants more closet space. Some want it more badly than others. “House Beautiful” says 1 in 2 people would give up sex to have more closet space – for six months no less, six months celibate that is; you get to keep the extra closet space for as long as you own the home. “USA Today” cites more closet space as the number 3 feature for which home buyers are willing to pay extra, ranking behind new appliances and central air. “Hollywood Reporter” reports, “$100k wardrobe rooms with multiple stories, putting greens and coffee machines.” SpaceLift Products offers this simple solution: clone your closet.

Most of us are probably not knocking out a wall or converting an extra bedroom to create more closet space. But as we like to say at SpaceLift Products, “Convenient home storage is looking up.” In most homes the answer is right above your head. With an attic, a SpaceLift™ attic lift, and a portable wardrobe, you can quickly and conveniently open up a lot more closet space.

Our secret, “more closet space hack” is rotating seasonal clothing from closet to attic. Even if you live in southern climates, we’ll bet you still have a collection of short sleeve shirts, tank tops, shorts, summer dresses and more – and a corresponding set of long sleeve shirts and blouses, light jackets, long pants, sweater dresses and such. Why keep all these in your closet all year long?

Secret to success is making the seasonal clothing transfer easy and convenient. Here’s how.

First, get a SpaceLift attic lift. This patented invention is like a dumbwaiter to move storage between the living space of your home and your attic or basement. It’s like having a mini freight elevator that fits between the floor joists in your home or garage. It can carry up to 200 pounds per trip with up to 24 cubic feet capacity with no height restriction. It is microprocessor controlled, easy to operate, with built-in safety features like obstacle detection. It can be installed in a day; many are installed as D-I-Y, do-it-yourself, projects.

Next clone your closet with one or more portable clothing racks. Portable wardrobes are available from places like Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Amazon, etc. You can get a plain rack, or fancier versions with wheels and zip-over covers. Purchase a size that fits on the SpaceLift attic lift’s low profile platform, either 18 or 24 inches wide by 41 inches long, depending on which model you purchase. With no vertical height restriction on the SpaceLift, you can wheel the whole wardrobe onto your lift for quick trips to and from the attic or basement.

Then each year as the seasons change move all your out-of-season clothes out of the closet and into the attic to open more closet space for the current season’s wear. End result is more closet space you can use for a larger seasonal clothing collection if you wish, or to add more year-round couture.

Once you have a system in place, you can purchase a portable wardrobe for each closet in the house, perhaps his and hers versions for your walk-in closet. Portable wardrobes start at under $20. SpaceLift attic lifts are $1,895 or $1,995 depending upon size, come with a 2-year warranty and are built to last a lifetime of closet rotations.

Of course, once you have your SpaceLift attic lift you can use it for lots of other storage solutions, including more closet space by moving other items. For example you can rotate storage containers of seasonal shoes from sandals, flip-flops and mules to boots, high tops and closed toes.

Most people give their beds seasonal makeovers as well. With your SpaceLift and some storage bins, you can easily rotate between quilts and summer blankets into and out of convenient attic storage.

shows portable wardrobe with winter clothing being carried in and out of the attic on a SpaceLift attic storage lift.
Portable wardrobe lets you “clone your closet” but using attic storage for seasonal clothes, blankets and more.

There’s also the concept of making more room in your garage by moving seasonal items in and out of storage there too. But this blog is about creating more closet space. Review the other blogs on our website for ideas relating to garage storage, storing holiday items, defeating clutter, claiming more living space and more.

Resources:

House Beautiful: 1 in 2 People Would Give Up Sex to Have More Closet Space

https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/organizing-tips/a21240308/makespace-survey-people-choose-closet-space-over-sex/

USA Today: 11 home features buyers will pay extra for

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/28/24-7-home-features/2106203/

Hollywood Reporter: The Psychology of an Organized Closet

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/psychology-an-organized-closet-952267

Bed Bath & Beyond: Portable Easy View Wardrobe

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/portable-easy-view-wardrobe/1011192114

We don’t make plastic storage bins, but we love them! Properly managed, plastic bins help you claim more living space by moving items to attic or basement storage. You can reduce clutter, organize your home and reduce stress with a storage bin system. Plastic bins last better than boxes, are generally stackable, come with handles and sometimes even wheels. Pairing a good storage bin system with a SpaceLift™ attic lift makes storage so convenient, you’ll wonder how you did without one. Just ask some of our customers. We’ve gathered six of the best ideas for storage containers to help make your life easier.

  1. Clear Clutter Before Company Arrives

Whether it’s a party or a casual drop-in, you want your home to look neat when company comes calling. Most of us go about cleaning the wrong way. We run around stuffing our everyday clutter into hiding places. The problem is that like a squirrel and its acorn stash, we tend to forget what got hidden where.

One of our best ideas for storage containers is to create a dedicated “company clutter” storage bin. Put all the last minute clutter stuff in just one or two containers, especially designated for the purpose. Then hide those containers. (If your house is like mine, you’ll want a separate container just for the dining room table clutter.)

If you have a SpaceLift™ attic lift this is extra easy. Drop the lift down, stack on the containers and push a button. After company leaves you push the button again to reclaim your stash of daily essential clutter.

An adjunct idea is to create a dedicated “donation items” storage bin. You can easily tuck it away in the attic. Then instead of doing a clutter-elimination sweep, you can just add items to the bin as they come to mind. When the bin is full, drop it down on your attic lift and take it to the donation center or call for pickup. Many organizations will gladly come to you for quantity donations of clothing and household goods.

  1. Organize Your Bins with Bins

Use containers inside containers. Fewer large containers are easier to organize and store in your attic than lots of little boxes and bags. Give some thought to creating storage bins of “collections” of things you want to tuck away. Rather than a jumble, use smaller, stackable containers inside a large bin. Another of our best ideas for storage containers is to be sure to place an inventory sheet under the top or affixed to the side of the container. A simple sheet of notebook paper inside a zip closure plastic bag and secured with a bit of duct tape does the job.

  1. Use Purpose-Built Storage Boxes Inside Bins

To safely store specialty items like china plates and stemware, Christmas ornaments and such like, there are a variety of specialized boxes and bags meant to properly hold and protect them. Then, following our suggestion in number 2, use larger storage bins to consolidate the collection to make it easier to move the whole set into storage and retrieve it later. Just be cognizant of our number 4 suggestion.

  1. Don’t Overload

Our SpaceLift attic lifts have a 200 pound per trip carrying capacity, so that’s not the issue in safely moving your valuables in and out of attic storage. But most plastic storage containers are not rated for a lot of weight. They can crack or break through the bottom, especially the versions with built in wheels. A broken bin defeats the whole purpose. Plus, it is much easier to move two 50-pound containers than one 100-pound container.

  1. Consider Canvas Where Appropriate

Okay, not technically an attic storage bin, but there are some great, heavy-duty, canvas bags to store special items like artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and such. These can also be used for things like Halloween decorations, seasonal sports equipment, outdoor décor, etc. Some come with handles and built-in wheels for convenience. A distinct advantage of the SpaceLift attic lift is no vertical limit on the platform and a low profile design platform. So you can wheel a nine-foot Christmas tree upright, in its bag, right onto your SpaceLift and whisk it to the attic with the push of a button. Extra tip: throw a couple of dryer sheets inside the bag to deter insects.

  1. Create a System and Label Everything

You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. It is far easier to start out with a storage system and refine it, than to hunt for missing items among the attic storage bins. Start with a simple inventory list, and maybe even an attic storage placement map. This can be secured in a zip closure plastic bag and hung on a hook from a roof rafter right above the attic stairs or ladder. Color coordinate storage containers and your inventory list. Clear bins are great to see what’s inside; with these use colored permanent markers on duct tape labels to keep your organization system clear.

We hope you can use our best ideas for storage containers. Please write us to share yours and follow along on our Facebook page as we add more useful tips and tricks.

best ideas for storage containers shows clear plastic storage bins with Christmas decorations. Storage bins combined with an attic storage lift creates a powerful storage system.
Storage bins come in all shapes and sizes to suit most every need. Combined with a SpaceLift™ attic storage lift, you have a powerful and convenient storage system. SpaceLift is unique in that there is NO vertical stacking limit.

Benefits of Parking Your Car Inside Your Garage

If you’re like most people, your garage has become a glorified closet. One in four Americans say their garage is so disorganized they can’t fit even one car inside, according to a homeowner survey by Gladiator GarageWorks. Yet, there are many and important benefits to park your car inside.

With the average cost of a new car pegged at $36,700, according to Kelly Blue Book, the inability to house and protect your automobile investment can be detrimental. The value of a car or truck kept in a garage versus one parked outdoors is significant. Garage kept cars have higher resale value. Parking your car or truck inside a garage extends its life and maximizes your investment.

Having your car outside exposes it to the elements. Acid rain, bird droppings, dust, dirt, pollen, debris and paint oxidation damage your vehicle’s exterior. Ultraviolet rays and temperature extremes damage the interior. Most mechanics can tell if a car is kept in a garage or outdoors. And it’s not just the exterior and interior finishes that are protected by a garage. Garaged car fluids stay closer to operating temperatures, warmer in winter and cooler in summer. That reduces wear on your engine and moving parts. Oil and grease stay less viscous, doing a much better job of lubricating your engine and moving parts at start up. You can prevent a lot of long-term wear that way.

If your car spends every night – arguably half its life – protected inside a garage it will look better longer. Would it surprise you that today’s cars are driven only five-percent of the time, according Fortune magazine? Thinking about your own car or truck, how much time does it spend just sitting at home in your driveway, or worse yet along the curb?

Another of the benefits of parking your car inside your garage is that garaged cars are more secure from theft of the car and contents. Some insurance companies offer discounted rates for autos kept in locked garages.

There’s also the convenience factor, not having to scrape frost or clear snow in winter and not climbing into a boiling-hot interior in summer. Entering and exiting the car indoors protected from the elements and secure is another convenience. Think of the last time you unloaded groceries in a rainstorm or arrived to an empty house late at night.

“People take great pride in their homes – organizing, decorating and showing off various rooms of their house, especially on social media,” said Karl Champley, master builder and home improvement TV/radio personality. “But the garage is the forgotten room of the home and those same people who are proud of their home are embarrassed by how the garage looks.”

People are sometimes embarrassed to the point where they keep their garage doors shut so neighbors won’t see their mess. The GarageWorks survey also found that one of out every five homeowners have been involved with an argument with their spouse about the condition of the garage.

Another benefit of parking your car inside your garage is that with the popularity of automatic door openers garages are now the most-used entryway into the home for many people. Why wend your way through clutter everyday?  Keeping your car in the garage also maintains your home’s curb appeal.

All this mess and stress can be eliminated by the push of a button.

Fortunately, there are solutions to garage clutter. Some pundits, organizing coaches and experts would have you get rid of your stuff to clear clutter. And certainly any unused items should perhaps be donated or sent to the dump. But it’s your stuff. For most of us it’s in the garage for one important reason: we want to keep it. For another solution, there is a whole industry offering racks and pegboards and garage organizing systems. But have you first looked up?

In many garages the easiest clutter buster is right above your head. Often there is lots of storage space in the garage or home attic. Attic storage solutions open up a whole new space for your stuff often equal to or greater than the space below. Infrequently used but useful items can be kept in the attic instead of the garage. Plus, you can significantly increase your attic storage space by cycling seasonal items out of your garage and into the attic. Examples include holiday decorations, seasonal dishes and special occasion china, winter coats and summer clothes, sports equipment, gardening tools, toys, snow sleds and tires, the list goes on.

Easy access to garage attic storage is one solution for parking your car inside the garage where it belongs.

Storing items in the attic can be a hassle, even dangerous though, if you’re trying to carry items up and down attic access ladders or stairs. Because easy and convenient access is the key to reducing clutter, a SpaceLift™ attic lift is the answer. Acting as a mini freight elevator, this electrically powered, computer controlled dumbwaiter can carry up to 200 pounds and 24 cubic feet of storage items. The attic lift has no vertical limit so you can stack boxes, storage bins, containers and other garage storage items as high as you want. Now, you will be using your attic to its fullest capacity, reducing clutter and freeing up space in your home, and enjoying the many benefits of parking your car inside your garage.

Install a SpaceLift then take a picture of your beautiful and organized garage now with your car safely protected inside, then share that picture on your social media for all your friends to see. Oh, and if you think of it, please also share it on our Facebook page: @SpaceLiftProducts. We love to hear from our satisfied customers!

Your dream garage starts in the attic, showing SpaceLift attic lift with beautiful garage. Park your car inside. A SpaceLift helps make space.

References:

Garage Space Survey

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/almost-1-in-4-americans-say-their-garage-is-too-cluttered-to-fit-their-car-300096246.html

Average New Car Price

https://mediaroom.kbb.com/2021-04-15-Average-New-Vehicle-Prices-Remain-Above-40-000-Threshold-Increase-More-Than-4-Year-Over-Year-According-to-Kelley-Blue-Book

Today’s Cars are Parked 95% of the Time

http://fortune.com/2016/03/13/cars-parked-95-percent-of-time/

Garage Car Insurance

https://www.carinsurancecomparison.com/garage-car-insurance/

Renting a self-storage unit is certainly an option for keeping your stuff, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau an option rapidly becoming more popular (see chart). In recent years, self-storage has mushroomed into a $38 billion industry in the U.S.A., renting 2.3 billion square feet of space. More than 9 percent of U.S. households rent a self-storage unit.

U.S. Census chart of self-storage construction spending

Nationally, the average cost to rent a self-storage unit is $91.14 per month, $1,093.68 per year, according to SpareFoot data (2017) comparing costs in more than 200 U.S. cities and towns. You can expect those rental fees to increase year, after year, after year (see chart).

average self-storage unit cost

Frankly, those of us who work at SpaceLift Products are baffled.

A one-time investment in a SpaceLift™ attic lift offers easy storage access virtually forever. Plus it raises the resale value of your home. We think it makes more sense to invest in your own storage and your own home, instead of paying rent for someone else’s profit and equity.

Our attic lifts cost $1,895 for the smaller size unit and $1,995 for the larger one, with free shipping and a two-year warranty. At the average cost to rent a self-storage unit, you can have a permanent solution for less than two-years of rental fees. That includes some room for installation costs, although many of our units are installed by do-it-yourselfers. You may pay for your lift even sooner, depending upon the size of unit you rent and where in the country you call home.

If you have an attic or basement that’s not full, why are you schlepping your stuff to a storage-unit and paying month after month, year after year? We can only figure it’s because you haven’t heard about our elegant storage access solution.

We are big fans of keeping your stuff. It’s yours, you bought it and clearly you see a future use and value for it. That’s what storage is all about. We believe easy access to storage spaces is the key to successful management and seasonal rotation of your valued items. Your storage items are safe and secure in your own home. You can reduce clutter and claim more living space.

Listen, we get the inconvenience of those pull-down attic ladder contraptions. That’s why we invented the SpaceLift attic lift. Install one of our computer-controlled units and enjoy instant, convenient, easy access to storage space right in your own home. No need to load up the car or SUV and drive to a self-storage facility where you then have to unload. Then when you want something from your rental unit, it’s back over to the storage unit to load up again. We change all that to the simple push of a button with our storage lift.

It’s like having your own mini freight elevator or dumbwaiter for your stuff, right in your own home. Customers tell us that once they install a SpaceLift attic lift, they find more uses for it. Some report using it several times per week.

SpaceLift attic lift allows seniors to age in place, makes spring cleaning easy

References: SpareFoot self-storeindustry statistics: https://www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/news/1432-self-storage-industry-statistics/