Attic Insulation Warning Signs: Know when it’s time to replace your insulation

Attic insulation, even though it sits quietly behind your home's walls and ceilings, plays a critical role in your home's efficiency. Without attic insulation, warm and cold air would move through building materials at will, leaving your household ultra-chilly in winter and sweaty-hot in summer. No matter how much you were to run your furnace or air conditioner, the HVAC system would always be the underdog, trying to overcome the energy loss. In addition, your family would never achieve optimal comfort.

Identifying insulation lapses

Aside from hiring an expert to assess the insulation, homeowners can look for a few key signs of attic insulation problems:

  • Rooms that feel drafty.
  • Ceilings or walls that are very cold (in winter) or very hot (in summer).
  • Room temperature differentials that are extreme.
  • Unusually high or rising energy bills.

With significant comfort and energy problems the direct result of too little or worn insulation, improving the efficiency of the space pays off in terms of securing a much improved comfort and reducing energy bills. With new insulation in the space, you can turn down the heater or air conditioner, and maintain more consistent temperatures throughout the home.

Inspecting attic insulation

If you suspect that your attic's insulation is no longer performing correctly, and you can easily get into the space, follow these visual inspection steps:

  • Get down on eye level with the floor joists. Look at the insulation levels between the joists. Ideally, insulation should protrude above the joists. With enough insulation, you shouldn't be able to see the joists. If you can, there's probably not enough insulation.
  • Check for evenness. There may be some spots in the attic where the insulation is full, but others where it drops below the joists. For insulation to perform well, there needs to be an even layer of it over the floor and ceiling.

DIY or pro?

Adding insulation to the attic is a pretty easy job; however, there are factors that can make the job complex - one for a pro. You need a pro if:

  • The space is hard to work in.
  • Some of the insulation is wet (this means the roof could be leaking).
  • Some of the joists or roof structure is rotted.
  • One or move vents in the home exhausts into the attic (they should to the outdoors).
  • There isn't enough ventilation.

Explore the condition of the insulation in your attic, and consider if it's time to call a pro for help to determine proper insulation levels and remedying potential problems.

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