If your attic is unfinished, you probably don’t spend much time in it. In fact, depending on how it’s accessed and how old your home is, you may have never even stepped foot in your attic.
And yet, the very top of your house can play a huge role in your indoor home comfort—particularly your attic insulation. Not only can poor attic insulation make it hard to stay comfortable in your home—too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter—and send your energy costs skyrocketing, but it can also cause health problems.
So, can attic insulation make you sick? Yes! Let’s review some of the serious issues that can affect the indoor air quality in your home and the best way to insulate your attic to protect your family and keep your home healthy.
Water Damage and Mold Issues
Water and home insulation don’t mix! From a performance perspective, insulation that’s been compromised by moisture loses its insulating qualities. But from a health perspective, wet insulation is a prime candidate for mold growth.
Indoor mold can be very dangerous for a home’s occupants. At best, mold caused by moisture in your attic crawl space can make allergy symptoms worse. At worst, the mold spores growing in your attic insulation can release mycotoxins—toxic chemicals—into your air. Symptoms of mold sickness include:
Irritation of eyes and internal organs
How To Get Rid of Mold in Your Attic
Unfortunately, if you’re wondering how to get rid of the mold on wood in your attic, replacing your insulation will likely be necessary. A qualified home performance professional can diagnose your mold infestation, and explain how to remove mold in your attic as well as answering questions like “How much does mold removal cost in an attic?”
Preventing mold from growing in an attic requires addressing any indoor water leaks, controlling humidity levels and excess moisture, and properly ventilating. These attic improvements can be accomplished by an attic room insulation expert who can also explain the benefits of air sealing your attic.
If you’ve ever heard little critters skittering around in your walls, you’re not alone! But pests in your attic or walls can do much more harm than just keeping you up at night.
Pests and animals—like rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, bats, insects, and more—that find their way inside your home can nest (or even eat!) your insulation, bring food in from outdoors, and leave behind excrement and waste full of airborne bacteria and pathogens, which can get into the air you breathe inside.
How To Get Rid of Pests in Your Attic
Pest removal in your attic should be handled by a pest professional. But once the animals are gone, you’ll need to address the mess they’ve left behind and stop them from getting in again. Your insulation should be inspected by a home performance expert to determine whether you need to remove your old attic insulation and air seal the holes that critters are using to infiltrate your house.
Dust and Chemicals
Dust is a pretty broad term, but we’re using it here to refer to tiny bits of solid waste matter that can find its way inside from soil or particles carried in by the wind. If you have a dusty attic, it’s likely affecting the air quality throughout the rest of your house as well.
Your old attic insulation could also have harmful chemicals like asbestos in it. If your home was built earlier than the 1980s, there’s a good chance the insulation used, like vermiculite insulation, contains asbestos, which was once commonly used as part of insulating materials because it is fire-resistant and a good sound barrier. Since then, asbestos has been mostly banned for use in the United States and has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The safest thing to do if you believe your home’s insulation may have asbestos in it is call an attic insulation removal company, who can safely get rid of the old insulation in your home and review new and safer recommended insulation for your attic.
Upgrade Your Insulation for a Healthier Home
The quality of the air you breathe in your home isn’t something to take chances with. Replacing the old attic insulation in your house can improve both the energy efficiency and overall health of your house. If you’re looking for an attic insulation company near you who can help with indoor air quality testing as well as educate you on the benefits of insulating your attic with new insulation materials, reach out to Energy Smart Home Improvement. We’re happy to answer questions like:
How much attic insulation is enough?
How do I get rid of critters in my attic?
Is mold in attics common? How do I get rid of it?