Q: We've been in our house for over a year and have not yet cleaned a large chandelier hanging almost 17 feet from the floor. The prospect of climbing a ladder to get up there is too intimidating. Is there any way to make this process easier and safer?

— Eileen & Roy Dymott, Ramona, Calif.

A: Kevin O'Connor replies: If you won't go to the chandelier, bring the chandelier to you. Several companies make cable-and-winch systems that can lower even a heavy fixture to floor level for easy cleaning or to replace bulbs, then reel it back up to the ceiling. The cable is concealed in wall and ceiling cavities. In some systems, the winch is hand-cranked; in others, it's operated by an electric motor connected to a control switch. Some use coiled lengths of wire so the bulbs remain on after the chandelier is lowered, while others disconnect the power when the fixture is lowered and automatically reconnect it when it's raised.

The cost of a lift depends on how difficult it is to get into the ceiling, the size of the fixture, and the distance it has to travel. But considering that you'd spend a few hundred bucks on a tall, sturdy stepladder, a chandelier lift may end up being a pretty good deal. And it sure would impress your kids.

Where to find it:

Chandelease hand-cranked lift system
KBD Incorporated
Mansfield, OH

Motorized lift system
Lighting & Lowering Systems
Broadview, IL 60158

Aladdin Light Lift Inc.
Memphis, TN
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