In many situations, it’s possible for quality insulation contractors to make enhancements to your attic’s current insulation and ventilation in order to make it more effective. However, in certain scenarios the best course of action is to remove the old insulation and start over. Here are a few concerns that should make you consider replacing your insulation:
Animal Infestation: Once pests such as mice, raccoons, squirrels, and bats enter a home’s attic, they’re able to tunnel through fiberglass and cellulose insulation. This prevents the insulation from working as it should. It isn’t long before the animals begin using your attic as a bathroom. The pheromones their droppings contain can even attract more company. In addition to the overall gross factor of animal feces in your attic, they also pose a serious risk to your home’s indoor air quality, as pathogens can be inhaled without ever having come in direct contact with them.
Vermiculite Insulation: Mined from the earth, vermiculite is comprised of lustrous flakes. When brought to a high temperature, the flakes expand. In its unadulterated form, vermiculite insulation is nontoxic. However, a mine in Libby, Montana was the source of most of the vermiculite sold in the country from 1919 to 1990. Incidentally, the mine also contained a deposit of asbestos, contaminating the vermiculite insulation. While not all vermiculite insulation contains asbestos, attics with vermiculite insulation should be tested for the presence of asbestos. Airborne asbestos fibers that are disturbed can become airborne and increase the risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma. The removal of insulation contaminated with asbestos should only be completed by a licensed and reputable insulation and ventilation contractor with extensive experience in this area.
Moldy Insulation: Mold flourishes in warm, humid, damp environments. Leaky roofs, bath fans venting into the attic, and insulation completed by amateurs can lead to mold growth on attic insulation. Once mold is present, it quickly spreads. Moldy insulation proves problematic because it causes an array of health issues such as watery eyes, persistent fatigue, and continuous headaches. After a trustworthy contractor has pinpointed the source of water, it must be addressed. After that, new insulation should be installed.
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Fire Damaged Insulation: When a home catches on fire, the smoke rises to the attic. Even if the home is not a total loss, the insulation will take on a strong, smoky smell. In addition, the properties of the insulation have been compromised, rendering it useless. Insulation should be removed as quickly as possible after a fire, as moderately burned insulation can conceal a covert spark which can re-ignite after smoldering.