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Should I remove old attic insulation?

Without question, attic insulation is one of the best things you can do for your home. It keeps your home comfortable, your air quality clean, and your energy costs efficient. But most people are unsure about the lifetime of their insulation and how to address the issues that eventually alive. There inevitably comes a time when every homeowner begins to question the integrity of their existing attic insulation. Air leaks, dust from their air registers, visible attic floor studs, rising energy costs, and difficult to regulate temperatures are all indicators that you need to determine the conditions of your insulation and what your best solution is. But how can you be sure that your solution is saving you the most money while also keeping your insulation up to date. Let’s talk about it.

First of all, just because insulation is old doesn’t mean it needs to be entirely removed. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but not by much. There are a few situations when removing either some or all of the existing insulation is necessary. For example, water damage. Water damage isn’t just a ground floor flooding problem. Storm damage, a leaky roof, or even AC condensation spilling out can damage your insulation. Depending on the material, insulation can absorb and hold water for a very long time. It’ll grow mold and mildew which can attract pests, deteriorate your insulation, seep down into your homes air circulation, and even rot your attic structure. To add insult to injury, wet insulation loses its effectiveness at blocking temperatures between your home and your attic. A lot of water damage can occur of the course of several decades and checking one’s attic insulation may not have been on the mind of whoever lived in your home before you. Even insulation that was previously wet but has dried may have still lost its effectiveness. Fortunately, only affected portions of the insulation should be removed and reinsulated. As previously said, pests can be a problem. One of the worst problems you can experience that require attic insulation removal is a rat infestation. Rats build nests among the insulation and we all know how quickly rats multiply. This is particularly bad as rat droppings and urine are health hazards to you and the air you breathe. If you have a rat problem in your attic, it should be dealt with accordingly and your attic should be completely cleaned and disinfected. Insulation that has been infected by the rat hazard should absolutely be removed and replaced. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean all the insulation should be removed. It depends on how bad your situation is. Once damaged insulation has been removed, you should make sure your attic air sealed and then install the new insulation.

Those are the biggest issues you are likely to encounter that require removing insulation. Most spray foam removal companies and attic insulation removal contractors should be able to assess your home properly and give you the best options. It’s important to identify the type of insulation you have; this can determine whether it needs to be removed or not. Blown-in insulation removal and other types of loose insulation removal is easier than rolls or batts. Hire a professional and they will be able to tell you if these or any other issues are present and how to deal with them. Insulation that is just old doesn’t actually require removing all the insulation. It does mean you should probably add new insulation on top of it, however. You should always make sure your attic is air sealed before doing this or any new insulation job, for that matter.  Air sealing ensures the air quality of the rest of your home. Ask your professional insulation contractor about insulation materials that can also serve as an air sealant at the same time. If your main concern is air quality, then you should know that removing old insulation and applying new material is absolutely no guarantee to improve your air quality. You have to air seal the attic first. You should ask your professional about how best to improve the air quality in your home, you’ll have several options that may not require a new insulation job. We are happy to answer all the questions for you and do a fully audit to figure out where you can improve your energy efficiency so that your living more comfortably and saving more money. Give All Attic Insulation a call, let us find your best attic insulation solution!

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