Should You Remove Your Old Attic Insulation?
Attic insulation can be one of the most critical parts of your home's envelope. Since your attic is the highest point in the house, it plays a critical role in heat exchange with the outside environment. Warm air inside your home can "leak" from a poorly insulated attic in the winter, and the sun's rays can add a substantial cooling load during the summer.
However, old insulation can be problematic. While insulation should remain effective for many years, numerous situations can reduce its effectiveness or even cause it to become a danger to your home. Keep reading for three scenarios where removing and replacing your old insulation may be the best option.
1. Severe Rodent Infestations
Unfortunately, rodent infestations are rarely minor inconveniences. When rodents enter your home, they can cause significant damage and leave behind potential harmful pathogens in their waste. Rodents often flock to warm, safe spaces, meaning infestations in attics aren't uncommon. Even worse, many rodents will tear apart insulation to use in their nests.
This behavior leads to two potential problems: physically damaged insulation and potentially pathogenic material in hard-to-reach and hard-to-clean areas. In most cases, there's no solution except to pull out and replace the old insulation. This process will remove any damaged insulation while also allowing you to clean the attic thoroughly.
2. Major Roof Leaks
Any roof leak will almost certainly make its way to your attic's insulation. If you're lucky, you'll catch and repair the problem before it progresses. However, major roof leaks will typically damage a large amount of the insulation in the attic. If there's enough moisture, fully drying the insulation and surrounding parts of the attic may be difficult or impossible.
Replacing your water-damaged insulation will restore its insulating efficiency while also making it easier to remove any moisture from elsewhere in your attic. More importantly, you'll prevent mold growth on insulation or other surfaces that may have suffered damage due to the leak. While not all leaks will require new insulation, inspection and evaluation by a professional are critical.
3. Vermiculite Insulation
If you have an older home, your attic may contain vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite is not necessarily a threat, but many vermiculite formulations contain unsafe levels of asbestos. Just because the vermiculite is in your attic doesn't mean that dust particles can't make their way into the rest of your home.
Note that it's not always necessary to replace vermiculite since not all will contain harmful levels of asbestos. However, if you have vermiculite in your attic, you should schedule a professional inspection to test for asbestos. If the attic contains a potentially hazardous level of asbestos, you will need to remove your existing insulation and replace it with a safer material.
For more information, contact a company like Elite Clean & Restoration.