Attic insulation provides a critical barrier to heattransfer. While many people in Texas realize the importance of insulation intheir homes, especially during the coldest and hottest months of the year, theymay not realize that attic insulationbecomes less effective over time.
Whether you have been in the same home for many years or youjust bought a new house, you might want to check the condition of your attic insulation. Sometimes, oldinsulation has deteriorated materially or is no longer working properly due torearranged or unevenly dispursed. In such cases, insulation removal and replacementis likely a wise financial decision over the long-term. There are many reasonsyou might need insulation removal services, and in this blog, we try to cover afew of them.
At the end of the day, insulation removal simply facilitatesreplacement, which may be needed for a variety of reasons. Regardless of themotive, new insulation will provide greater energy efficiency and reduce yourmonthly energy bills.
No matter what type of insulation you have in your house andhow long it is supposedly guaranteed, no insulation is perfect or invulnerableto harm. The most common factors that can significantly cause harm to yourinsulation and diminish its lifespan are below:
If there is one thing that will undoubtedly damage yourinsulation, it is water. When water enters your house through a leak or anotherdamaged component of your house, it dramatically affects your house’sinsulation. Whether your insulation is fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, orsomething else, water is nearly impossible to fully extract once it is absorbedby the insulation in the cool, dark attic.
Insulation is a porous and fibrous substance, so water canbe its worst enemy. Not only will it damage the insulation and limit itseffectiveness, but it will also contribute to mold and mildew growth which willbecome a serious health concern for you and your family.
If your house has experienced a fire in the past, it mostlikely needs insulation removal. Fire can damage insulation and hinderits ability to work efficiently.
Even if the fire did not come in direct contact with theattic insulation, the smell of smoke can become trapped in the insulation and bea massive nuisance for homeowners that can linger for many years if notaddressed. If your home has experienced a fire that caused any sort of smokedamage, insulation removal maybe necessary.
Another common factor compromising the lifespan ofinsulation is contamination. This may take the form of mold, mildew, or animaldroppings. Attics are regularly targeted by wildlife that are seeking a warm,dry, place safe from predators. Given the ideal conditions in the attic,wildlife, whether its something as small as a mouse or as large as a raccoon,frequently use attics as a home base to have and raise their babies.
Mice, rats, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons are the mostlikely culprits that gain access to homeowners’ attic spaces and leave behind fecesand urine, which can carry any number of diseases. These contaminants, whichcontinual build up with every day the animals are in your attic, not only carrymany hazardous diseases in the feces, but can cause all of the same issues aswater damage via their urine.
Rodent-infested attics usually have insulation that has beenwalked over and trampled down, which means it is no longer insulating to itsfuller capacity. At Critter Stop, weregularly come across attics that have seen their insulation go from more than13” inches to less than 4”, with effectively all of their 2”x4” floor joistsshowing.Thus, insulation removalbecomes highly recommended given the deeply suboptimal insulating impact of thecompressed insulation.
Many people consider removing their insulation completelywhen their attic becomes severely infested by rodents. As discussed above, rodentssuch as rats, mice, and squirrels view the attic insulation as their ideal home, since they are warm and dryareas safe from predators. When rodents create nests in your insulation, theybecome increasingly difficult to fully eradicate since all of the newbornbabies view it as their home, and the pheromones / scent given off by the nestis difficult to fully destroy, given its hidden and secluded nature.
Some of the significant health concerns that can arise fromrodents nesting in your attic insulation are:
➢ Rat-bite fever
➢ Lassa fever
If you have dealt with rodents in the past, or are evenfamiliar with the metaphor, “As quiet as a mouse,” you know that rodents can bevery discrete and go unnoticed for many months. Unfortunately, with every daythat passes that you have rodents in the attic, the contamination becomes worseand the difficulty of full rodent removal becomes more difficult.
If your insulation has been damaged or is not functioning atits highest level, removing old insulation is likely a wise investment in yourhome’s energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and of course, safety. Many houses in Texas are over 30 years of ageand have not seen much attention to the attic. Attic insulation replacement isoften viewed as non-urgent. Combined with its price, the can often gets kickeddown the road. This is why it’s not uncommon for homeowners to find themselves withattics with minimal or outdated insulation, far below where they should be.
Additionally, building practices and materials have taken agreat leap forward, so the simple act of removing your old insulation andreplacing it with the newest, technologically-enhanced materials can have a significanteffect on your entire home. Some of the major benefits of removing yourcompromised insulation are:
Removing your old or contaminated insulation and replacingit with a better one, your house will become more energy-efficient. With a moreefficient attic, your HVAC unit can handle the hottest and coldest months ofthe year, keeping your home’s temperature exactly where you want it.
By increasing the energy efficiency of your house, you arelowering your monthly bills. Removing your insulation and replacing it has adirect effect on your monthly heating and cooling costs. So, if you don’t wantto blow your budget every month, consider making the up-front investment toreplace your old insulation with the latest and greatest.
In Texas, people usually spend most of their time insidetheir homes with their loved ones, making indoor air quality a crucial factorin their health and wellness. Air quality inside houses can be improved dramaticallyby removing old attic insulation.
Replacing yourhome’s insulation is one of the quickest and best ways to improve air qualityinside your home. Oldinsulation can be a home for many contaminants such as urine and feces fromrodents and other pests, affecting your home’s air quality. For example, if thematerial has ever gotten wet, from rainwater or rodent urine, it can easilybecome moldy, producing a musty smell throughout the entire house. Worst of all,if any airborne mold spores are inhaled by people living in the house, they areat a significant risk of experiences all the negative consequences of mold.
If your home has many connections from the attic to yourhouse, whether that is for wiring, can lights, exhaust vents, etc., simply removingthe insulation and replacing it with fresh insulation will help improve the airquality, but it is highly recommended you also perform a sanitation process tothoroughly kill all of the mold spores, germs, micro-bacteria, pheromones,biological markers, and urine markers left behind while your attic is down to thebare decking and the sanitation chemicals will have the greatest impact.
If rodents or other wild animals have severely infested yourattic insulation, you are at high risk of developing one of many severediseases that can live in their feces for years. To protect you and yourfamily, inspecting the attic for contamination is highly recommended, asremoving and replacing the insulation may be necessary.
Rodents and their fecal droppings pose a serious health riskto humans. Rodents leave droppings effectively everywhere they go, spreadingany diseases they may be carrying all over your home. Many diseases can bespread via touching anything the rats’ feces or urine touched, or some arespread simply by breathing in the air that the feces inhabit. Getting yourcontaminated insulation replaced will help improve your health as well as thoseliving around you, restoring your attic to the best shape it has ever been.
Insulation is an investment that will pay off well in thefuture, in the form of both lower energy bills as well as a higher sale priceif / when you plan to sell your house. By choosing to remove your old attic insulation and replacing it with a new one, your house will become more attractive for potential buyers.
We regularly work with home buyers that require the selleraddress their attic situation before they buy. For most homeowners selling onehouse and moving into another, they have a long list of expenses budgeted fortheir next house, whether it is home repairs or simply new furniture. If youplan to sell your house in the future, new attic insulation should be a priority,as it will significantly increase your property value, prevent you from havingto replace it at time of sale, and save you money on your monthly bills in theinterim.
In the 1980s or earlier, many insulation companies usedasbestos, a dangerous material that can cause permanent damage to your lungs. Itwas officially banned in most countries, but it can still be found in olderhouses across the United States. If your home was built prior to 1980s and youare not aware of it ever having the insulation replaced, you should seriouslyconsider having it inspected. We have never had a customer regret replacinginsulation from the 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s. At that point, it is almost ano-brainer.
It should go without saying, but if you believe you mighthave asbestos in your attic insulation, getting it removed and replaced is ajob for trained professionals. Improper handling can lead to fatal consequences– whether you call Critter Stop oranother insulation contractor, we cannot recommend hiring a professional forthese situations more highly.
Insulation removal is anything but easy. At Critter Stop, wedeal with dead animal removal, feisty wild animals, and everything in between,but the toughest work we do is insulation removal. While the work is tough, thebiggest reason to call a DFW insulation professional is to ensure the dirtyand / or contaminated insulation is handled and removed properly. The processwill most likely go like this:
➢ Insulation company’s team member will visit yourproperty to assess the condition of your attic insulation. They will identify problems areas in your atticand suggest the best possible solutions.
➢ If the insulation is severely contaminated or there aresigns of water and thus possible mildew, they will likely recommend immediate insulationremoval. Once the removal and reinstallation date is scheduled, their team willarrive and safely remove the old insulation.
➢ If you contract an animal removal company such asCritter Stop, we will sanitize the attic once we have it down to the baredecking, killing all the germs and micro-bacteria that might be carrying diseasesas well as all of the pheromones, biological markers, and urine markers thatwould just reattract other rodents for years to come.
➢ Once the attic is clear, the insulation company should gothrough it again with a fine-toothed comb, sealing all the cracks, crevices,and gaps with spray foam to ensure your attic is air-tight.
➢ Additionally, at least at Critter Stop, we will coverall your can lights with a flame retardant material so the insulation is notsimply leaning up against the warm metal can light and its wiring, presenting afire hazard.
➢ After all of the above has been completed, your atticis ready for insulation installation. Unless you are installing spray foam orbatt insulation, insulation installation should not take more than one full dayto complete.
If you leave your insulation dirty and contaminated for along period of time, it can present a serious health risk to you and yourfamily. To ensure your house remains protected, your old insulation should beremoved and replaced as soon as possible.
Due to the equipment involved, the number of team membersneeded for execution of the job, and potentially hazardous materials involved,it is necessary for most homeowners to hire a professional like CritterStop to remove their atticinsulation and replace it. Insulation is a big job, with many potentialconsequences for your home, so it is important to consider a company’sreputation before selecting the first contractor you come across. With such alarge investment, you want to be sure you select the best value available.While we are obviously biased, we believe we offer that at Critter Stop forcustomers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Best of all, we provide freeinspections and estimates, so go ahead and give us a call at (214) 561-2744!