With proper attic insulation, your attic will help your family stay comfortable throughout the year. Adequate insulation also helps maintain your energy costs. You might be wondering how you can tell if your attic is underinsulated.
The most straightforward answer is to have a professional technician come out and inspect your attic. However, some telltale signs indicate your attic insulation needs some attention.
Defining a Properly Insulated Attic
Insulation is designed for durability, but an attic must meet specific criteria to be considered adequately insulated:
- It was properly installed
- It meets current EPA and Energy Star R-values
- It has no water, pest, or fire damage
- It hasn’t moved or shifted, creating uneven layers or gaps
If any of these do not apply to your attic insulation, it’s time to consider updating it.
Benefits of a Properly Insulated Attic
The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association states that 90 percent of single-family homes in the United States are under-insulated. This puts your home’s efficiency and your family’s safety and comfort at risk. So what are the benefits of your attic being properly insulated?
Benefits of proper attic insulation include:
- Lowers utility bills
- Prevents gradual damage to your home caused by heat and moisture
- Improves your indoor air quality
- Maintains indoor comfort
- Reduces the wear and tear on your HVAC system
Ensuring adequate attic or ceiling insulation is crucial to keeping your family comfortable year-round.
Signs Your Attic Insulation Is Insufficient
Sometimes a simple visual inspection will alert you to any issues with your insulation. You can inspect the space, looking for visible joists. When the insulation material does not cover the beams, you’ll need to address the issue to prevent further problems. This is the easiest way to determine that your attic is under-insulated.
Other times, you need to keep an eye out for these top signs.
Ice Dams and Icicles
An ice dam is a hazardous problem in the winter. It’s an accumulation of ice near the roof’s edge, causing water to gather behind it and flow off the top. They are created through inadequate attic ventilation and warm attic space. However, with proper insulation, your home will not have this problem.
An ice dam forming on your roof indicates heat escaping through your attic, prematurely melting the snow. If this is a constant problem you deal with, you need to properly insulate your attic to stop the heat from escaping.
Increasing Energy Bills
This may be one of the first problems you notice because you review your bill monthly. When your utility bill appears higher than usual, it could signify that your HVAC system is working harder than it should to compensate for lost energy. Small leaks in your ceiling insulation could cause small increases to your bills, but significant leaks could cause you to pay hundreds more dollars each month!
Leaks and Water Damage
A leaky roof or attic leads to various problems throughout your home. But insulation cannot work as it’s designed when it becomes damp. If you know your roof has leaked in the past or you see signs of water damage, your insulation is in trouble. It’s likely damaged somewhere, leaving your attic under-insulated.
Mold or Mildew Is Present
When you find mold or mildew in your attic, it clearly shows that your space has moisture problems. Any time moisture is present in your attic, the insulation is likely damaged, rendering it useless.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
The best way to ensure your attic isn’t under-insulated is to hire a licensed professional for an attic inspection. An insulation inspection is a valuable and affordable service that will let you know the current condition of your existing insulation.