The Attic – Common Home Inspection Findings
Most homeowners rarely enter the attic. The access is typically located in a difficult to reach closet ceiling, garage ceiling or wall. The door/hatch/panel is often small. Many access points are surrounded by insulation, the walking space or crawl space is low. Navigating through the space is tricky because one has to find framing components to walk across. In some instances, navigating an attic is impossible due to the depth of insulation.
The most common home inspection findings in an attic are displaced insulation, low level of insulation, and vents that terminate in an attic.
When HVAC, tv antenna, venting, or other electrical work is performed in an attic, insulation must often be moved for installation or repair. In some instances, insulation is not returned to the original position, leaving an area above the ceiling with very little insulation cover. The low level of insulation cover reduces the R value of the insulation and the energy efficiency of the home. Homeowners, who find that insulation has been displaced, can add new insulation or return displaced insulation to the area. If the displaced insulation is in an area of recessed lighting, Bvents, or exhaust vents, contact a qualified insulation contractor to determine whether insulation should be added to the area. These components often require adequate clearance from insulation to avoid potential fire hazards.
In the past, a few inches of insulation may have been sufficient in an attic when the home was built. As the demand for energy efficiency of homes and the desire of homeowners to decrease utility bills increase, the recommended depth of insulation for attics increases. Four to six inches of insulation above a living space is a low level of insulation that has very low R value and energy efficiency. The R value and depth of insulation recommended to achieve desired R value and energy efficiency varies among brands and types of insulation. Most homes are insulated with loose fill insulation in the form of fiberglass or cellulose. Some homes are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation. Combinations of insulation brands and types are also often found in attics. Homeowners should contact a qualified insulation contractor to evaluate an attic with a low level of insulation to determine the type and amount of insulation needed to adequately insulate an attic space.
Inserting oven/range venting through a ceiling, attic, and roof is common. Inserting bathroom venting through a ceiling, attic, and roof is also common. Either oven/range venting or bathroom venting that terminates in the attic rather than passing through and above the roof can cause serious damage to an attic space. Some terminated vents may have been installed by homeowners or installers that were unaware of the damage it could cause. Some terminated vents are the result of couplings or other components of the venting coming loose or detaching, resulting in pipes or venting falling into the attic insulation.
Is is critical that vents pass through and above the roof and discharge warm, moist air to the exterior of the home. Vents that terminate in the attic, discharge warm, moist air. Moisture condenses on trusses, rafters, OSB sheeting, plywood sheeting, other faming components, and insulation. Moisture condensing on wood can cause the wood components to deteriorate, compromising the utility of the framing materials. Excess moisture can also cause mold to grow.