Regularly inspecting your attic is important to ensure you’re not wasting energy, and are properly protecting your home and family. Attic maintenance is important for both health and financial reasons, including enhanced air quality in your home, better control of temperatures, reduced fire hazards, and extending the life of your roof.
How to answer: “Is my attic safe?”
Ensure your attic has a floor
An actual floor consists of floorboards that are secured by floor joists. Your attic may look like it has a floor, but it could just be the ceiling of the room below, which is simply drywall or plaster. By stepping on drywall, you could create a hole or fall directly through the ceiling. Even the weight of storage boxes has the potential to break through the drywall, so it’s best to have a floor in place to make your attic functional.
Check your insulation
If your insulation is outdated—from the 1970s or 1980s—your attic could be at risk. Insulation installed within that timeframe was typically vermiculate insulation, which may contain asbestos. Warning signs indicating the need for new insulation include blackened and moldy spots, or disintegrating and gaping areas.
Poor insulation can cause your attic to be too cold in the summer, which can lead to an overuse of energy due to the air conditioner overworking to cool the entire home. Alternatively, poor insulation can also lead to your attic being too warm in the winter, which leaves your roof at risk of ice dams, which form due to the interior heat melting the snow above and forming an ice blockage.
Have your electrical wires professionally inspected
Electrical wires should be professionally inspected by an electrician. Ensure the electrician replaces any damaged wires. Also, any heat-producing fixtures should be isolated from insulation, because having the two near each other is a major fire hazard.
Clean attic vents and fans
The soffit is the underside of a roof overhang. The area that allows air to pass in and out of this space is called the soffit vent. This contraption helps to properly ventilate your attic space. Proper ventilation removes hot air and moisture, which protects your insulation and helps it perform better for your home.
The best way to clean debris from soffit vents is from below the soffit with an air compressor. This will remove any dust, dirt and loose insulation that may be clogging the vent. Be sure to clean these vents annually to maintain steady airflow.
If you have an attic fan, the blades should also be thoroughly cleaned annually to contribute to proper airflow. If the circulation path of the fan is obstructed, you may need to dislodge the debris from the roof.
When to perform maintenance and repairs
Spring is a great time to perform attic maintenance—before the attic becomes too hot or cold to feel comfortable in. In the event that you come across areas that you’re unsure of or noticeably need repair, don’t risk your safety, hire a professional.
If you’re still left asking, “Is my attic safe?” or if damage has already been done to your attic or roof, give the roofing experts at Bloomfield Construction a call. We’ll assess your home’s situation and help you make the most efficient repair decisions.
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