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What Should You Not Put In The Attic?

By December 4th, 2023Attic Renovation, Renovations

When it comes to storing items in your home, the attic is often a go-to space for many people. However, not all items are suitable for storage in the attic. In fact, there are several things that you should avoid putting in your attic to prevent potential damage to your home and belongings.

In this article, we’ll explore what you should not put in the attic to help you make informed decisions about storing your possessions.

What Should You Not Put In The Attic?

While the attic can be a convenient storage space, there are some items that should not be stored there. Here are some examples of things that you should avoid putting in your attic:

  1. Perishable items: Attics are often subject to extreme temperatures, which can cause perishable items such as food, plants, and flowers to spoil quickly. In addition, the heat and humidity in the attic can attract pests and insects that can damage your belongings.
  2. Valuable items: Items that are valuable, irreplaceable, or sentimental should be stored in a secure and climate-controlled area. Attics are typically not well-insulated, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause damage to items such as photographs, artwork, and antique furniture.
  3. Electronics: Electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and stereos can be damaged by the extreme temperatures and humidity in the attic. The heat can cause the internal components to warp, melt, or become otherwise damaged, rendering the device unusable.
  4. Flammable materials: Flammable materials such as gasoline, propane tanks, and paint thinners should never be stored in the attic. The extreme heat in the attic can cause these materials to ignite, posing a serious fire hazard to your home and family.
  5. Heavy items: Attics may not be designed to support the weight of heavy items such as exercise equipment, furniture, and heavy storage boxes. These items can cause damage to the attic floor or even fall through the ceiling, posing a safety hazard.

Overall, it is essential to carefully consider what items you choose to store in your attic. When in doubt, it is best to seek advice from a professional, such as a home inspector or contractor, to ensure that your attic is safe and suitable for storing your belongings.

Items To Avoid Storing In The Attic

Perishable Items (E.G., Food, Plants, Etc.)

Perishable items such as food and plants should never be stored in the attic. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Temperature Fluctuations: Attics are typically not temperature-controlled and are subject to extreme fluctuations in temperature. This can cause perishable items to spoil or become damaged.
  2. Humidity and Moisture: Attics are also prone to humidity and moisture, which can cause mold and mildew growth on perishable items. This not only ruins the item but also creates a health hazard.
  3. Pest Infestation: Perishable items can attract pests such as rodents, insects, and birds. These pests can not only damage the items but also spread disease.
  4. Health Risks: Storing perishable items in the attic can lead to health risks. Spoiled food and moldy plants can release spores and bacteria, which can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.

It’s important to store perishable items in appropriate conditions to prevent spoilage and maintain their quality. Instead of the attic, consider storing perishable items in a temperature-controlled environment such as a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Plants should be kept in a well-lit and ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

In summary, perishable items should not be stored in the attic due to temperature fluctuations, humidity, pest infestation, and health risks. Proper storage is crucial to prevent spoilage and maintain quality. It’s important to consider alternative storage options for perishable items to ensure their longevity and safety.

Hazardous Materials (E.G., Gasoline, Propane, Etc.)

Hazardous materials are substances that pose a risk to human health, safety, or the environment. Examples of hazardous materials that should never be stored in the attic include gasoline, propane, and other flammable liquids.

Gasoline is highly flammable and can ignite at low temperatures. It is also volatile, meaning that it can evaporate quickly and release toxic vapors. Storing gasoline in the attic can pose a serious fire hazard and can also lead to exposure to harmful fumes.

Propane is another highly flammable material that should never be stored in the attic. Propane tanks can leak and release gas into the attic, which can quickly accumulate and pose a serious fire risk.

Other hazardous materials that should never be stored in the attic include paint thinners, pesticides, and other chemicals. These materials can release toxic fumes and pose a risk to human health if they are stored in an unventilated space such as the attic.

If you have hazardous materials in your home, it’s important to store them in a safe and secure location that is properly ventilated and away from sources of heat or ignition. Many hazardous materials require special storage and handling procedures, so it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a professional before storing or handling these materials.

Overall, it’s essential to carefully consider what materials you store in your attic to ensure that they do not pose a risk to your health, safety, or the environment. If you’re unsure about whether a material is hazardous, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional or consult the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for more information.

Flammable Materials (E.G., Fireworks, Gasoline, Etc.)

Flammable materials such as fireworks and gasoline should never be stored in the attic. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Fire Hazard: Flammable materials can easily ignite in high temperatures, which can cause a fire. The attic is a common place where fires start due to electrical malfunctions, heat buildup, and other factors.
  2. Explosion Risk: Flammable materials such as gasoline and propane can explode if exposed to high temperatures or pressure. This not only damages the item but also poses a serious risk to the occupants of the home.
  3. Toxic Fumes: Flammable materials can release toxic fumes that can be harmful to humans and pets. These fumes can cause respiratory problems, dizziness, and other health issues.
  4. Illegal: Storing fireworks or other explosives in the attic is illegal in many places. These items can cause serious harm and damage to property if not handled properly.

It’s important to store flammable materials in a safe and appropriate location. Instead of the attic, consider storing these items in a garage or shed that is well-ventilated and away from any heat sources. Always store these items in their original containers and follow all safety instructions.

In summary, flammable materials should never be stored in the attic due to the fire hazard, explosion risk, toxic fumes, and legal concerns. Proper storage is crucial to prevent harm to occupants and damage to property. It’s important to follow all safety instructions when storing flammable materials to ensure everyone’s safety.

Electronics And Appliances (E.G., Tvs, Refrigerators, Etc.)

Electronics and appliances are another category of items that should not be stored in the attic. These items can be sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity levels, which can cause damage or malfunctions. Additionally, attic spaces are often not properly insulated or ventilated, which can exacerbate the potential for damage.

Televisions, for example, can be damaged by exposure to extreme heat or cold. The circuits and internal components can warp or become dislodged, leading to permanent damage or failure. Refrigerators and other appliances can also be affected by changes in temperature and humidity, which can cause the seals to warp or the motors to fail.

Furthermore, electronic devices can be affected by electromagnetic radiation, which can be present in the attic due to wiring and other electrical systems. This can cause interference and other issues with electronic devices.

If you need to store electronics or appliances, it is recommended to store them in a climate-controlled area of your home, such as a basement or a spare room. These areas typically have more stable temperatures and humidity levels, which can help protect your electronics and appliances from damage. Additionally, it is important to properly wrap and secure these items to prevent damage during transport and storage.

In summary, it’s important to avoid storing electronics and appliances in the attic. These items are sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity, and electromagnetic radiation, which can cause damage or malfunctions. Instead, consider storing these items in a climate-controlled area of your home to ensure they are protected and preserved.

Valuables And Sentimental Items (E.G., Family Photos, Jewelry, Etc.)

Valuables and sentimental items such as family photos and jewelry should not be stored in the attic. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Temperature Fluctuations: Attics are subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, which can damage or degrade valuable and sentimental items over time. Heat, humidity, and cold can cause warping, discoloration, and other forms of damage.
  2. Pest Infestation: Attics are also prone to pest infestations, which can damage or destroy valuable and sentimental items. Rodents, insects, and birds can chew through fabrics, papers, and other materials.
  3. Security Risks: Storing valuable and sentimental items in the attic can also pose a security risk. Attics are often easy to access and may not have proper security measures in place.
  4. Accessibility: Attics can also be difficult to access, making it challenging to retrieve items when needed. This can lead to damage or loss of valuable and sentimental items.

It’s important to store valuables and sentimental items in a safe and accessible location. Consider storing these items in a secure location such as a safe, lockbox, or off-site storage facility. When storing these items at home, choose a cool, dry, and secure location that is easily accessible.

In summary, valuables and sentimental items should not be stored in the attic due to temperature fluctuations, pest infestation, security risks, and accessibility concerns. Proper storage is crucial to prevent damage, loss, and theft of these items. It’s important to choose a secure and accessible location when storing valuable and sentimental items to ensure their longevity and safety.

Reasons For Avoiding Attic Storage

Temperature Fluctuations And Extreme Heat/Cold

Temperature fluctuations and extreme heat or cold are two factors that can cause significant damage to items stored in the attic. Attics are often not insulated or ventilated, which can lead to wide temperature fluctuations throughout the day and throughout the year. This can cause damage to a wide range of items, including furniture, clothing, and other household goods.

Extreme heat can cause items to warp, melt, or become discolored. For example, wooden furniture can warp or crack, while plastic items can melt or become brittle. Extreme cold, on the other hand, can cause items to become brittle and susceptible to damage.

In addition to these temperature fluctuations, attics are also vulnerable to moisture and humidity, which can cause mold, mildew, and other forms of damage. Moisture can also cause wood to rot and metal to rust, leading to permanent damage and degradation.

To protect your items from temperature fluctuations and extreme heat or cold, it is important to take steps to properly insulate and ventilate your attic. This can help to regulate the temperature and humidity levels, and prevent damage from occurring. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid storing sensitive items in the attic altogether, and to store them in a more climate-controlled environment such as a basement or spare room.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with storing items in the attic, particularly when it comes to temperature fluctuations and extreme heat or cold. By taking the proper precautions and storing items in a more suitable environment, you can help ensure that your belongings are protected and preserved for years to come.

Humidity And Moisture

Humidity and moisture are two factors that can damage items stored in the attic. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Mold and Mildew: Attics are prone to high humidity levels, especially in warmer months. This can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause damage to fabrics, paper, and other materials.
  2. Rust: Humidity can also cause metal items stored in the attic to rust and corrode over time.
  3. Warping and Rotting: Wood items stored in the attic can also be damaged by high humidity levels. This can cause warping and rotting, which can compromise the integrity of the item.
  4. Electrical Damage: Humidity and moisture can also damage electrical equipment stored in the attic. This can cause malfunctioning or complete failure of the equipment.

To prevent damage from humidity and moisture, it’s important to store items in a dry and well-ventilated location. Consider using dehumidifiers or fans to control the humidity levels in the attic. Avoid storing items directly on the floor, as this can increase the risk of moisture damage.

It’s also important to inspect items stored in the attic regularly for signs of damage. This can help you identify and address any issues before they become more severe.

In summary, humidity and moisture can cause significant damage to items stored in the attic. Proper storage techniques, including controlling humidity levels and regular inspections, can help prevent damage and ensure the longevity of stored items.

Pest Infestation

Pest infestation is another common problem associated with storing items in the attic. Attics are often dark, undisturbed areas that can provide the perfect environment for pests such as rodents, insects, and birds. Once these pests take up residence in your attic, they can cause a wide range of problems, from damage to your belongings to health hazards for you and your family.

Rodents, for example, can chew through wiring and insulation, causing costly damage to your home. They can also carry diseases and bacteria that can pose a health risk to humans. Insects, such as termites and carpenter ants, can cause structural damage to your home, while birds can leave behind droppings that can be both unsightly and potentially hazardous.

To prevent pest infestations in your attic, it is important to take steps to seal off any potential entry points. This can include sealing cracks and gaps in your roof and walls, and installing screens on your vents and windows. You can also deter pests by removing any potential food sources, such as stored food or pet food, and by keeping your attic clean and free of clutter.

If you do suspect a pest infestation in your attic, it is important to take action as soon as possible. This can include hiring a professional pest control service to identify and eliminate the pests, and to take steps to prevent future infestations.

In summary, pest infestations are a common problem associated with storing items in the attic. To prevent infestations, it is important to take steps to seal off entry points and to remove potential food sources. If an infestation does occur, it is important to take swift action to eliminate the pests and prevent future infestations.

Accessibility And Safety Concerns

Accessibility and safety are important considerations when it comes to storing items in the attic. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Difficult Access: Attics are often difficult to access, especially if they are not designed for regular use. This can make it challenging to retrieve items when needed, and can increase the risk of falls or other accidents.
  2. Heavy Items: Storing heavy items in the attic can also be risky. The weight of these items can compromise the integrity of the attic floor or ceiling, and can also make it difficult to move or retrieve items safely.
  3. Structural Damage: Attics can also be prone to structural damage, such as leaks, cracks, or other issues. This can compromise the safety of the space and increase the risk of accidents or injuries.
  4. Electrical Risks: If you store electrical equipment in the attic, there is a risk of electrical shock or fire. This can be especially dangerous if the attic is not well-ventilated or if flammable items are stored nearby.

To ensure accessibility and safety when storing items in the attic, it’s important to:

  1. Use appropriate storage containers that are lightweight and easy to move.
  2. Avoid storing heavy items or items that could damage the attic floor or ceiling.
  3. Inspect the attic regularly for signs of damage, such as leaks or cracks, and address any issues promptly.
  4. Ensure that the attic is well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup and reduce the risk of electrical hazards.
  5. Use caution when accessing the attic, and consider installing safety features such as handrails or a sturdy ladder to prevent falls.

In summary, accessibility and safety are important considerations when it comes to storing items in the attic. Proper storage techniques and regular inspections can help ensure the safety of stored items and prevent accidents or injuries.

Alternative Storage Options

Temperature-Controlled Storage Units

emperature-controlled storage units are a great option for storing items that are sensitive to changes in temperature. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Climate Control: Temperature-controlled storage units are equipped with HVAC systems that regulate the temperature and humidity levels in the storage space. This ensures that the stored items are protected from extreme temperatures and moisture.
  2. Protection from Heat: Extreme heat can cause damage to items such as electronics, artwork, and photographs. Temperature-controlled storage units provide protection from high temperatures, ensuring the longevity and quality of the stored items.
  3. Protection from Cold: Similarly, extreme cold can also cause damage to items such as antiques, musical instruments, and other delicate items. Temperature-controlled storage units provide protection from low temperatures, preventing damage and preserving the quality of the stored items.
  4. Versatile: Temperature-controlled storage units are versatile and can be used to store a wide range of items, including clothing, furniture, and even wine.
  5. Security: Many temperature-controlled storage units are equipped with advanced security features such as video surveillance, alarms, and secure access control. This ensures that the stored items are protected from theft or damage.

When selecting a temperature-controlled storage unit, it’s important to consider factors such as size, location, and security features. It’s also important to properly package and label the items being stored to ensure that they are protected from damage during transport and storage.

In summary, temperature-controlled storage units are an excellent option for storing items that require protection from extreme temperatures and moisture. These units provide versatility, security, and peace of mind for those looking to safely store their valuable and sensitive items.

Basements And Crawl Spaces

Basements and crawl spaces are two popular alternatives to attics for storing items in the home. While these spaces can provide a suitable environment for storing items, they do come with their own set of challenges and considerations.

One of the primary challenges associated with storing items in basements and crawl spaces is moisture. Both of these spaces are located below ground level, which means that they are more susceptible to moisture and humidity. This can lead to mold, mildew, and other forms of water damage, which can cause significant damage to your belongings.

To prevent moisture from becoming a problem, it is important to take steps to properly seal and waterproof your basement or crawl space. This can include installing sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and ventilation systems, as well as sealing any cracks or gaps in your foundation. You can also help to prevent moisture buildup by ensuring that your gutters and downspouts are properly functioning, and by directing rainwater away from your home’s foundation.

Another consideration when storing items in basements and crawl spaces is the potential for flooding. Both of these spaces are located below ground level, which makes them more susceptible to flooding during heavy rainstorms or other natural disasters. To protect your belongings from potential flood damage, it is recommended to store them in waterproof containers or on elevated surfaces, such as shelving or pallets.

Finally, it is important to consider the potential for pests in basements and crawl spaces. These spaces are often dark, undisturbed areas that can provide the perfect environment for pests such as rodents and insects. To prevent infestations, it is important to seal off any potential entry points, and to remove any potential food sources.

In summary, basements and crawl spaces can provide a suitable alternative to attics for storing items in the home. However, they do come with their own set of challenges and considerations, including moisture, flooding, and pest infestations. By taking the proper precautions and ensuring that your space is properly sealed and maintained, you can help to ensure that your belongings are protected and preserved for years to come.

Garage Or Shed

Garages and sheds can be convenient options for storing items that do not require climate control. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Cost-effective: Garages and sheds are generally less expensive than other storage options, such as temperature-controlled units or storage facilities.
  2. Easy access: Garages and sheds are usually located on the property, making it easy to access items as needed.
  3. Versatile: Garages and sheds can be used to store a wide range of items, from lawn care equipment to tools and seasonal items.
  4. Customizable: Garages and sheds can be customized to fit specific storage needs, with shelving, hooks, and other storage solutions.
  5. Security: Garages and sheds can be secured with locks and other security measures to protect stored items from theft or damage.

When storing items in a garage or shed, it’s important to keep them organized and labeled to make it easy to find items when needed. It’s also important to properly store items that could be damaged by moisture or pests, such as clothing or wooden furniture.

It’s also important to consider the climate in your area when deciding whether to store items in a garage or shed. Extreme temperatures or humidity can damage items over time, so it may be necessary to invest in temperature control or dehumidifiers to protect valuable items.

In summary, garages and sheds can be an affordable and convenient option for storing items that do not require climate control. Proper organization, labeling, and security measures can help protect stored items from damage or theft.

Professional Storage Services

Professional storage services are a popular option for individuals and families who need to store items for extended periods of time, but do not have the space or resources to do so in their own home. These services are typically offered by specialized storage facilities that are equipped to handle a wide range of items, from household goods and furniture, to documents and other important items.

One of the primary benefits of using professional storage services is the added security that they provide. Most storage facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art security systems, including surveillance cameras, alarms, and secure access systems. This can help to protect your items from theft, damage, or other forms of loss.

Professional storage services also offer a high level of convenience and flexibility. Most facilities offer a range of storage unit sizes, allowing you to choose the option that best fits your needs and budget. Many facilities also offer flexible rental terms, allowing you to store your items for as long or as short a period as you need.

Another advantage of using professional storage services is the additional space that they provide. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals and families who are downsizing or who simply do not have enough space in their home to store all of their belongings. By using a storage facility, you can free up space in your home and reduce clutter, making your living space more comfortable and functional.

When choosing a professional storage service, it is important to consider factors such as location, cost, and security features. It is also recommended to visit the facility in person to ensure that it is clean, well-maintained, and equipped to handle your specific storage needs.

In summary, professional storage services can be a valuable resource for individuals and families who need to store items for extended periods of time. By providing added security, convenience, and flexibility, these services can help to protect your belongings and free up space in your home. When choosing a storage facility, it is important to carefully consider your options and choose a provider that can meet your specific storage needs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the attic may seem like a convenient storage space for a variety of items, there are several things that you should avoid putting there. Perishable items, valuable items, electronics, flammable materials, and heavy items can all pose safety hazards or cause damage to your home and belongings if stored in the attic.

It’s important to remember that attics are often subject to extreme temperatures, which can cause damage to certain items. Additionally, the lack of climate control and insulation in many attics can make them unsuitable for storing valuable or irreplaceable items, as these items can be easily damaged by changes in temperature and humidity.

To ensure that your attic is a safe and suitable storage space, it’s essential to carefully consider what items you choose to store there. If you’re unsure about whether an item should be stored in the attic, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional, such as a home inspector or contractor.

In general, it’s a good idea to keep your attic organized and clutter-free. This will help you to easily access the items you need while minimizing the risk of damage or safety hazards. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your attic is a safe and useful storage space for many years to come.