DIY Home Attic Inspection Checklist

Having a healthy attic is an essential piece to having a healthy, functional home. Inspecting your attic can save you money by identifying potential ventilation and insulation deficiencies along with helping you spot unwanted pests and molds.

To make sure your attic, and therefore the rest of your home, is in good shape, take some time twice every year (preferably when the seasons change), to do a quick inspection of your attic space. It may save you from a lot of unwanted trouble down the road. To make sure your attic is fully functional and in good condition, you should check the following:

Attic insulation is key to regulating the temperature of your entire home. If it’s particularly drafty upstairs near your attic, it could mean that you should invest some time in properly insulating your attic. Making sure your attic is properly insulated can help you save lots of money and damage to your home, especially in the winter months when you are cranking up the heat to stay warm. Check to see if your attic ceiling insulation is around 12 to 15 inches thick.

You should also check for differences in surface temperatures caused by inconsistent or inadequate insulation which can cause ice dams. Ice dams are formed when snow and ice are on your roof and the temperature of your roof is inconsistent due to poor insulation. Ice dams are blocked water from melted snow (near the warmer temperature of your roof where heat is more easily escaping) blocked in by the ice that has formed at the edges of your roof. This can cause serious water damage and leaking.

Speaking of leaks, there are other ways water can leak into your home besides ice dams. You can identify a leaky roof by looking for water stains, mold, and rot, particularly in the sheathing. Although you can try to patch up a hole yourself, many leaks require someone to get on the roof to do the repair, which is when you should probably hire a professional.

Also look for nonuniform surface temperatures from inconsistent and inadequate insulation., leading to ice dams.  Insufficient insulation, particularly at the junction.

Pests are a relatively easy problem to identify in an attic inspection. Look for nests, leaves, sticks, seeds, droppings, and any damage to insulation or storage materials (like cardboard boxes). Some states have strict rules regarding removing certain pests like bats. They cannot be exterminated, and are protected during certain times of the year. However, more common pests like rodents can be trapped and removed, and any entryways sealed off.

Checking for adequate ventilation is vital. Some signs of poor ventilation include rusted nails, condensation, mold, and extreme heat (110° F or higher) in the summer. Proper ventilation allows the attic to breathe and prevents the build-up of high heat which can cause you discomfort and money in the summer months while you’re running your air conditioning, and prevents humid air from getting trapped and causing condensation, rusting, and mold. An attic exhaust fan can help you prevent hot, humid air from getting stuck in your attic.

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