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.


Industrial Safety & Hygiene News:

McGarry and Madsen Home Inspection

March National Ladder Safety Month

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.


Testimonial, Tom Runge, Louisana

Forum on International Association of Certified Home Inspectors InterNACHI:

Family Handyman How to Install a Hot Water Heater

On Houzz:

Bust clutter. Getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home. It can reduce asthma and allergy triggers, according to The American Cleaning Institute. “For many people the conundrum is: do they have too much stuff or not enough space?” said Dave Berliner, inventor of the SpaceLift attic lift. His invention solves the problem of using your attic for storage by creating easier and safer access. Even the famed clutter buster Marie Kondo says, “The aim of storage is to give every item a home – a designated spot for it to rest and recharge when not in use.”

“Many organization gurus tell you to purge, get rid of your stuff. I disagree. It’s your stuff. There’s likely a good reason you kept it in the first place. Busting clutter may simply be a matter of moving some of your stuff out of your living space and into a convenient storage space,” Berliner said, “This is especially true for seasonal items like decorations, patio furniture, tools and toys. These items ‘spark joy’ in their season. Meanwhile, you protect your investment by keeping them safely stored. Storing them in the attic, not your living space, makes more room for you. It helps you get, and stay, organized.”

Place for Stuff

WebMD suggests 8 common clutter “hot spots” you should address.

  • 1 = There’s the entry hall dump. (Here in New England we have mud porches.)
  • 2 = Next is the overstuffed pantry. Better organization helps. Install a back-of-the-door rack.
  • 3 = Then there’s that mail pile. Usually in a public place. You plan to handle that paper. But don’t. And the paper pile seems to grow all on its own. A basket helps keep mail neat. Maybe try paperless bill pay?
  • 4 = Refrigerator door clutter? Not sure we agree with this one WebMD. It’s is your personal choice. One person’s cluttered refrigerator door is another’s treasured collection.
  • 5 = Certainly on the list is the bathroom counter. All those potions and lotions tend to spread. The Container Store has a variety of clever solutions. Organizers help you go from “sloppy to serene,” the article says.
  • 6 = Garage clutter. Did you know one-in-four homeowners say they can’t fit their car in their own garage? If you have an attic, SpaceLift attic storage lifts offer an elegant solution. A beautiful garage starts with a good storage system.
  • 7 = Junk drawer. Admittedly, some of us love our junk drawers. But it can take forever to find an AAA battery that you just know is in there! There are many excellent drawer organizers. The Spruce rates the 9 best ones.
  • 8 = Kid clutter can be a challenge. Toy boxes help. But only if you use them. This is a great opportunity to teach your children clutter busting.

Bust Clutter with Storage

“Lack of space” was cited as the biggest challenge to improving organization by 32.9 percent of consumers surveyed by NPD Group for HomeWorld Forecast Consumer Survey. “Yet most homes have lots of available storage space in attics above the house and garage. Access is generally the limiting factor,” Berliner said. “Attic ladders or pull-down stairs can be tough to negotiate. They are downright dangerous when carrying storage bins, boxes or other items. There is a risk of falling, or hurting your back, or damaging your items,” he added, “Easy attic access is the key to attic storage solutions.” (Read our blog about Ladder Safety at Home.)

Control Clutter with a SpaceLift Attic Storage Lift

Berliner’s answer was to invent an attic lift. “It is like having your own mini freight elevator to carry storage into your attic in just minutes. It’s a dumbwaiter for your stuff,” he explained.

Designed to fit between attic floor joists, installation is easy requiring basic carpentry and electrical skills. Many are installed as do-it-yourself projects, Berliner said, or the company can help with local installers. It sells directly on its website, A short video on the website shows how the lift works. Prices start at $1,895 with free shipping and a two-year factory warranty. SpaceLift™ Products are assembled in the USA, in Stratford, Conn., by Redco Home, a division of Redco Audio, a family-owned company.