Nowadays, it seems as though everyone is looking for ways to save money, including on their monthly energy bills. One way to save money is by making sure that your home is insulated. The insulation in your attic helps to provide a critical barrier to the transfer of heat. While many people are aware of the important role that insulation plays in their home, what they may not realize is that the insulation in your attic may settle and become less effective over time. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons for removing old attic insulation, as well as the benefits of removing the insulation.
What are the Reasons for Removing Old Attic Insulation?
Some of the most common reasons for removing old attic insulation from your home include the following:
If your attic, crawl space, or rim joist have moisture issues, so does the insulation in those areas. Traditional insulation retains moisture, allowing mold to grow and spread to the parts of the home where it is installed. Moldy attic insulation can result from a variety of factors that are more likely to occur over time, including improper venting, humid climates, extreme storms, and leaks from the heating and cooling systems.
If mold has made its way into your attic insulation, it is crucial that you remove the insulation. Mold exposure can pose many health risks in humans, including chronic coughing, sneezing, irritations to the eyes, mucous membranes, nose and throat, as well as rashes, chronic fatigue, and persistent headaches. If you have moly insulation in your attic, it is essential that you get it removed by a professional as soon as possible.
Infestation of Rodents or Other Pests
Another common issue that warrants attic insulation removal is a rodent or pest infestation. Infestations are most common in older homes, where it is more likely that there are weak spots in the roof or attic exterior. Possible unwanted intruders include insects, mice and rats, bats, and raccoons and squirrels.
Pest and animal infestations can result in extensive damage to your attic and to the existing insulation. Even if no damage is readily visible, it is important that you replace any insulation that could contain droppings, as pests and animals can be vectors for disease.
Although asbestos has not been used in insulation since before its official ban in the 1980s, it can still be found in many older homes across the country. Asbestos is a dangerous material that can become permanently lodged in your lungs if inhaled. Both non-cancerous and cancerous diseases and other health problems can result from exposure to high quantities of asbestos over time. It has been linked to increased risks of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, colon, gastrointestinal tract, and throat.
Health Risks of Rodent-Infested Insulation
One of the most common reasons that homeowners remove their attic insulation is rodent damage or infestation. Rodents, such as mice, rats, and squirrels, often view the attic insulation as their ideal home because it is warm, dry, and safe from predators. Unfortunately, when rodents nest in attic insulation, there are many health risks that arise. Some of the most common health risks that can arise from rodents nesting in your attic insulation include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Rat-bite fever - Omsk hemorrhagic fever
- Plague - Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
- Parasites - Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
- Tularemia - Eosinophilic meningitis
- Lassa fever - Murine typhus
- Salmonellosis - Lymphocytic chorio-meningitis
The items on this list can be contracted through coming into contact with feces or urine that has been left behind by infected rodents. Professional removal of contaminated insulation is the most effective solution to limit the exposure of you and your family to harmful rodent-borne viruses that remain following an infestation.
Is It Okay to Put New Insulation Over Old Insulation?
Because attic insulation tends to settle over time, there is sometimes a need to add to it or to replace it altogether. If there is no water damage or signs of infestation, you can typically get by not having the attic insulation removed. However, it is important to remember that old fiberglass attic insulation often grows mold and attracts insects. If you see a lot of dust or you are just concerned about the air quality in your home, you should have your attic insulation removed.
The Benefits of Attic Insulation Removal
Removing old insulation from your attic poses several benefits for the homeowners to enjoy. Here are some reasons that you may want to consider removing your current attic insulation:
More Energy Efficient
Just like with the majority of products that we use on a daily basis, insulation in your attic becomes worn down over time. Installing new attic insulation is a way to not only lower your carbon footprint, but to also lower your monthly energy bills.
Improved Air Quality
Replacing your old insulation with new insulation greatly improves the air quality inside of your home. Old insulation is often home to a variety of contaminants that can affect your home’s air quality, including urine and feces from rodents and other pests.
After the removal of a rodent or pest infestation, it is essential that you have your attic inspected for contamination. The droppings and urine that is left behind by rodents and/or other pests pose a serious health risk to humans. Having the insulation in your attic will help to improve your health and the health of those around you.
Contact Reeves’ Insulation for All of Your Insulation Needs
At Reeves Insulation we know that insulating your home is a big investment and we want to do what we can to make your home more energy efficient! Our team of professionals will be here to help guide you through the insulation process from start to finish. If you would like to know more information on removing or adding insulation to your home or schedule services, call us today at 870-793-2623!