Poorly insulated or inadequately ventilated attics can cause a lot of expensive problems. Homeowners don’t need to wait until they’re dealing with skyrocketing home heating and cooling bills or uncontrolled mold growth to take action, though. All they need to do is find out about the key signs that a home is poorly insulated or vented and call a roofer as soon as they notice them.
The Importance of Adequate Insulation and Ventilation
Before discussing the specific signs of inadequate insulation or ventilation, it’s worth taking a moment to reinforce the importance of keeping air moving through attics and heat where it belongs. Every attic needs to be insulated to prevent unwanted heat transfer, and it needs to be ventilated to keep air moving and stop it from becoming stagnant. If homeowners don’t have proper insulation and ventilation in their attics, they need a roofer who can fix the problem before it gets any worse.
Common Warning Signs
While only a professional roofer can improve ventilation or install insulation properly, even an average homeowner with no construction experience can learn how to recognize the signs of trouble brewing up above. Here’s what to look for:
1. Temperature Differences in Different Rooms
Even the most efficient heating system won’t be able to maintain consistent temperatures within a home if the attic isn’t properly insulated. If some of the rooms are hotter than residents would like but others are too cold, inadequate insulation could be to blame and the attic is the first place to check.
Houses in different areas of the country have disparate insulation needs. However, every residential home must have some insulation to prevent unwanted heat transfer. The best way to determine if a roof has adequate insulation is to schedule an inspection with a professional roofer who knows local building codes and understands the area’s climate.
2. Mold and Moisture Damage
Moisture damage, including mold growth, can be a sign of inadequate ventilation in an attic. There doesn’t have to be a hole in the roof that’s letting in rain for moisture to become a problem. Condensation can rise into the home’s attic even if it’s perfectly sealed, creating a damp environment that fosters mold growth and increases a homeowner’s chances of dealing with interior water damage.
To get an idea of how condensation can wind up damaging the home, take a look at the bathroom. When people take hot showers, it produces steam. That steam rises, so most of the water damage in a poorly ventilated bathroom occurs near the ceiling.
The laws of nature that govern condensation work the same way throughout the whole structure, so attics are far more prone to mold growth and water damage than lower areas of the home. The first step to dealing with excessive moisture in the attic is to invite a reliable roofer to assess both the roof and the attic’s ventilation system. From there, damaged vents can be replaced, and additional vents can be installed to increase airflow as needed.
3. Critter Infestations
Attics that aren’t properly insulated and ventilated are more prone to nuisance animal infestations. The lack of insulation and ventilation can damage the roof deck and shingles, leaving them prone to rot. Once critters like mice, squirrels, and raccoons identify weak spots in a roof, they’ll start trying to break in.
Over time, nuisance animals can gnaw through damaged materials or gain entry to the attic via other means. Once they’re inside, they’ll wreak havoc on whatever insulation is in the attic to build nests and reproduce, leaving homeowners dealing with full-blown infestations.
If residents notice nuisance animals building nests in the attic, the first step is to call an animal control specialist. Once the critters have been removed, it’s time to call a roofer to repair any damage and improve the attic’s insulation and/or ventilation systems to prevent further problems.
4. Winter Drafts
Poorly insulated homes often feel cold and breezy during the winter. These drafts don’t just leave residents and guests struggling to stay comfortable, either. They also drive up energy use and leave homeowners fielding sometimes exorbitantly high heating bills.
Ensuring that the attic is properly insulated is a good first step toward reducing drafts. Once the attic is taken care of, homeowners may also need to call a contractor who can check the windows and doors. A full home energy audit can also help to identify potential inefficiencies that could be driving up residents’ monthly bills.
5. Skyrocketing Energy Bills
This article has already mentioned a few of the ways that improper insulation or ventilation can contribute to high energy bills, but it bears repeating that attics are one of the most common sources of unwanted heat transfer. If the attic doesn’t have enough insulation, the hot air produced by the heating system will simply rise to the top of the house and slowly dissipate through the roofing materials. Hiring a roofer to install extra insulation can help homeowners keep their houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer without worrying about paying exorbitantly high monthly bills.
Why Hire a Professional?
Unless homeowners have experience in the roofing industry, they should always hire professional contractors to perform inspections, audits, and upgrades. Roofing experts know how to identify and seal air leaks, evaluate current insulation systems to see if they are up-to-code and determine the most cost-effective ways to improve both ventilation and insulation systems.
Don’t Put Off Attic Upgrades
There’s no such thing as the wrong time of the year to insulate or improve the ventilation in a residential attic, but it’s always best to fix problems before they can create additional complications. Homeowners shouldn’t wait until they’re dealing with mold and moisture damage, unwanted houseguests in their attics, or skyrocketing energy bills. The most cost-effective way to make sure a home is ready for temperature extremes is to call a roofer and schedule an inspection, then follow through with any attic upgrades that will be required before existing problems get worse.