It is not obvious for most people when it is necessary to replace attic insulation. Replacing the insulation is difficult to work and costs money so many homeowners prefer to put it off until it is absolutely necessary. Attics and crawlspaces are rarely visited or seen making it easy to forget about insulation altogether.
You can lose up to 25-percent of your home’s heat through the attic. The repercussions here are obvious so the attic insulation is definitely an element of the home you need to pay attention to.
There are a few signs that might indicate it is time to replace your insulation.
Ice Dams and Ice Accumulation
If the snow on the roof melts unevenly creating pools of water known as ice dams or you notice ice clinging to the roof or sides of the house your attic insulation is likely compromised. Ice dams are a sign that parts of your roof are warmer than others. This irregular temperature usually indicates uneven or worn insulation.
Icicles forming on the sides of the house are an indication that the insulation isn’t keeping out the cold. Hire an expert to inspect the insulation and recommend the best way forward. You might only need to top up insulation on top of the old one. Other times require ripping out the old insulation and replacing it entirely. This decision should be left to an expert.
Moisture Problems In the Attic
If the attic is wet, damp or just moist, you probably need to replace the insulation. It is rarely the case that the insulation can be saved or repaired in an attic with moisture problems.
Common causes for moisture in the attic include insufficient or missing vapour barriers, leaking roof, blocked vents or insufficient ventilation. The dampness compromises the insulations R-value and encourages mould growth which can be toxic.
Insulation contains small air pockets that trap air and instrumental in maintaining ambient temperature. Water or moisture blocks these air pockets making the insulation useless.
High Energy Bills
Although there are numerous potential causes for high energy bills more often than not the insulation turns out to be the culprit. Under insulation or damaged insulation reflects directly in higher energy bills. The air conditioner has to work overtime in the summer while the heater works twice as hard in the winter to maintain ambient temperature.
Before deciding that the HVAC system is faulty, inspect the insulation to find out if there is a problem. Check if you can see the attic floor joists. If you can see the joists, you do not have enough insulation. If you can’t see the joists then you have sufficient insulation.
Pest and Wildlife Infestation
Homeowners like attic insulation for its many benefits but unfortunately so do pests. Rodents and wildlife love to use insulation as nesting material, breeding ground, livings space and latrine. Insulation with clear evidence of animal damage including bite marks, tearing, grease, oil, feces or urine has to be replaced.
Animal damage on insulation doesn’t only compromise its ability to do its job properly. Animal feces, urine and nests carry numerous pathogens and ectoparasites that are harmful and sometimes fatal to humans. Many of these pathogens are airborne and can be inhaled or ingested infecting humans in this way. Be wary about working in an attic with obvious signs of animal damage for safety and health reasons.
Instead hire a professional attic insulation removal service in Toronto to clean, disinfect and deodorize the attic and install the new insulation. The professionals will also take care of any air leaks that might be present which may compromise the effectiveness of the new insulation.
Drafts in the House
Cold air from the outside literally sucks or suctions warm air inside the home if there are any air leaks. Insulation helps to keep cold air out and warm air in. If you notice drafts in the house despite your windows and doors being closed the reason might be because of damaged, missing or worn insulation.
There are many other reasons for drafts in the house but insulation issues are a common enough cause. Inspect the attic to ensure that the insulation is in good condition before troubleshooting other possible reasons.
Hire a Professional to Replace Insulation
There are cases where the best solution is to call an expert to replace your insulation. Animal presence in the attic sticks out as one of these situations. Insulation contaminated with animal feces and urine is toxic and should be handled and disposed it appropriately.
Keep in mind that you don’t get the R-value advertised on the packaging if you don’t install the insulation properly. You also need to make sure that all air leaks are sufficiently sealed for the new insulation to do its job. Only an expert’s keen eye and experience can guarantee that the new insulation performs at maximum efficiency.