There are a variety of areas of the home that should be regularly inspected by a licensed and certified professional, including your unfinished attic. Attics are often unforgotten areas of the home. They may not be particularly welcoming, but they must not be forgotten. Below are 8 reasons to schedule an attic inspection.
How Often Should You Schedule An Inspection?
Before we dive into when to schedule an inspection, let’s begin with why.
At the very least, you should schedule full home inspections every 12 months. To ensure you don’t forget, many homeowners create a personalized and proactive home maintenance checklist, that includes required inspections. This addresses many areas of opportunity before they become a costly or emergent repair need.
In between your annual inspections, keep an eye out for the signs below. Also, consider popping up to take a peek after big storms or incidents—such as a tree branch falling on the roof.
Now let’s dive into what areas of opportunity may need to be addressed.
#1 Upgrade or Retrofit Insulation
A well-insulated attic keeps your entire home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer months. If you’ve noticed a recent spike in your energy bill it’s time to have multiple areas of your home inspected—including your doors, windows, basement, crawlspace, and attic.
Insulation is durable, so even if your home is old, it may still be in good condition. However, it may be worth upgrading to a more energy-efficient option.
Insulation can last 80 to 100+ years, but should be retrofitted every 10 to 15 years. If you have a leak, rodent infestation, construction, or roof damage you may need to replace some or all of your insulation sooner.
As an added bonus, proper insulation improves soundproofing.
#2 Adding a Radiant Barrier
Living in the Greater Bay Area we enjoy year-round sunshine. For this reason, you may want to consider having a radiant barrier installed in your attic. This will control the amount of heat that enters your home through your roof.
While insulation helps, a radiant barrier can improve energy efficiency by an additional 10 to 15 percent. It’s also an excellent foundational step for transforming your attic into a livable space.
A radiant barrier will:
- Block sunlight from heating up your attic space.
- Reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
- Lower your monthly cooling costs.
- Prevent harmful condensation from forming in the attic.
- Maximize performance and longevity of your HVAC system.
- Enjoy year-round energy savings.
#3 Rodent or Pest Infestation
Even the tiniest of holes or gaps in your fascia, soffits, ducts, and vents leave enough room for insects, birds, mice, squirrels, and other rodents to make their way into your home.
The most common sign of mice or infestation in your attic, or other areas of your home, include:
- Hearing scampering in the ceiling or walls.
- A strange and unidentifiable odor in your home.
- Rodent droppings anywhere in your home.
- Rub marks, gnaw marks, or unidentified holes.
- Your cat or dog scratching or pawing at the walls.
- Your cat or dog responds to sounds you don’t hear.
- Visibly seeing mice, insects, or rodents in your home.
DIY traps are highly effective, but without identifying where they are coming in—they will keep coming. More importantly, where there is one, there are often many.
So, you don’t just need pest control, you need a full-service company, that can complete the process of:
- Removing the rodents and nests
- Cleaning and decontaminating
- Sealing holes and gaps
- Repairing damaged vents and HVAC
- Removing damaged insulation
- Reinsulating your home
#4 Ceiling Leak, Moisture, or Mold
The same small holes and gaps in your attic or roof that allow pests and rodents in can allow moisture in too.
Schedule a home or attic inspection:
- If water streaks down your walls when it’s raining.
- If you see water stains on your ceiling.
- If you see black spots or mildew on your ceiling or walls.
- If water is dripping, pooling, or spraying anywhere in your home.
- If you have a musty odor anywhere in your home.
If you are unable to identify where the water is coming from it could be your attic, foundation, windows, or roof. If the cause seems to be a leaking or burst pipe, turn the water off immediately.
Water and moisture can cause rapid and costly damage. Mold begins growing in as little as 48 hours, which can degrade the air quality in your home.
#5 To Vent Hot Air
It doesn’t have to be humid outside or in your home for your attic to be humid. This humidity can lead to condensation, mold, and rust. Even when attic air is hot and not humid, the trapped heat heats up the rooms below. Or the rooms remain cool, at the expense of extra energy usage.
Few homeowners route their air conditioning to their unfinished attics. So, even with proper insulation, you may need to vent the hot air.
An attic inspection will determine the best venting solutions, which include any combination of:
- Roof vents
- Rafter vents
- Soffit vents
- Gable vents
- Attic fans
While your primary objective may be to vent hot air, there are also benefits of cycling cooler air in during the winter. This is especially true in climates that have snow or ice, which may seem counterintuitive as you’ve insulated your attic to keep it warm.
Thankfully, we rarely get snow and ice in sunny California. In cold climates, your insulated attic and roof can get so hot that they rapidly melt the snow. This can cause excessive freezing in your gutters and on the sides of your home.
#6 To Clean and Inspect Air Ducts
HVAC air ducts often run through the attic to access the rest of your home. Although you have air filters, over time dust and allergens build up in the vents. So, in addition to changing or cleaning your reusable air filters—you should have your air ducts cleaned and inspected at least every 3 to 5 years.
However, if you have had construction in your home, rodent infestation in your ducts, or any duct damage you may need to have them inspected sooner.
Signs your ducts need cleaning include:
- Your air filters are getting dirty faster.
- Visible air vents get dusty faster.
- You need to dust your home more often.
- Heating and cooling airflow is reduced.
- Your energy bill is gradually rising.
- It takes longer to heat or cool your home.
- An odor is coming out of your vents.
Ducts are expansive, so your technician will bring a long and flexible duct inspection camera. Then they will repair, replace, clean, and decontaminate.
#7 When Buying or Selling a Home
If you plan on selling your home, an attic inspection will be part of the required pre-sale inspection. The inspector will be checking for all the areas of opportunity mentioned above.
In addition, they may advise on a general cleanup as attics are often dusty and dirty. There may even be some debris left over from your last roof repair. Also, to remove stored boxes, broken home items, and unforgotten items.
While not all buyers will want to see the attic, many will at least request photos or videos.
After buying your home, you may want to have a secondary inspection performed to ensure optimal energy efficiency.
#8 Before a Remodel
Your unfinished attic is unutilized square footage. It’s the ideal space for a home office, art studio, guest bedroom, or other full or part-time living space. Even if the roof is slanted, there’s sure to be a substantial amount of usable space.
The first step is assessing the current condition. This will ensure that the factors above are resolved. You also need to determine if the current floor is sound or if structural reinforcements need to be completed.
Should You Perform the Repairs Above Yourself?
We live in a DIY day and age, and we respect that! However, if you don’t have the training required to perform the skills above, the mistakes can be costly.
As we mentioned above, your attic may not be structurally sound. So, hauling up your own tools and equipment can be a safety hazard.
Most importantly, if you have damages that suffice an insurance claim, your insurance company may not pay if you’ve performed DIY repairs.
Who to Call for an Attic Inspection?
You have plenty of licensed and bonded companies to choose from. We invite you to consider AtticPros. We are a full-service company that prioritizes quality, customer service, and customer satisfaction.
Our attic services include:
- Insulation removal
- Insulation installation
- Radiant barrier installations
- Attic fan installation
- HVAC inspection
- HVAC cleaning and repairs
- HVAC and duct installation
- And more
No need to climb up into the attic, unless you want to, as we provide you with before and after photos and videos. This highlights the areas that need attention or repair and confirms the quality of your completed project. And yes, we haul away old insulation, junk, can debris.
We also provide full-home rodent proofing, crawlspace services, French drain installation, and backyard construction projects. Reach out today to schedule your free estimate!