Attic Cleaning: Why It’s Crucial

Have you ever utilized a professional attic cleaning service? If not, you may want to consider calling an attic specialist. Most people don’t realize the health risks that their attic may pose. Attics are often considered a place to store extra stuff, or maybe the place you need to go when you run wires or cable throughout your house.

Though you may not think of or go in your attic very often, the reality is that it can be home to hidden dangers that affect your health and the health of your family. Left unattended, the health impact of an uncleaned attic can compound over time. 

Gaining a better understanding of what attic cleaning is and the benefits of attic cleanup and decontamination, can help provide important context for making attic cleaning a regular part of maintaining your house. Alongside decreased risk of health problems associated with contaminated attic spaces, attic cleaning and decontamination services can also help ensure that your insulation is functioning properly and that any leaks or damage to your roof are caught before they cause big problems down the road for insulation services.

What is Attic Cleaning?

Attic cleaning refers to a collection of services that taken together refresh and renew your attic to a clean state.

Many services can be included under the umbrella of attic cleaning, including:

  • Identifying and removing a rodent infestation.
  • Removal of junk, debris, or stored items in attic and crawl space.
  • Insulation health checkup and possible removal of contaminated insulation. 
  • Insulation replacement if necessary.
  • Identification of any leaks in the roof or accompanying mold growth.
  • Removal of accumulated dust, dirt, and odors.

What you may not realize is that attic cleaning is a professional service. This is surprising to many people who immediately categorize attic cleaning as a DIY project. 

Why Should I Use a Professional Attic Cleaning Service?

There are some very good reasons why using a professional attic cleaning service is highly recommended. These include:

  • Ease
  • Equipment
  • Experience
  • Safety

Let’s dive into each of these in a bit more detail. The first is ease. Professional attic cleaning services undoubtedly make a difficult job much easier. Attics are usually difficult to access, and precarious to maneuver in once you gain access to them. This makes moving stored belongings or removing accumulated junk a much more difficult and time-consuming project.

Professional attic cleaning providers also have equipment that makes the job faster and more effective. Take one of the most common issues with a contaminated attic space; rodent infestation. To clean up a rodent infestation you have to identify it, isolate it, remove contaminated insulation, dispose of that insulation properly, and sanitize the area before reinstalling new insulation. All of those steps require special equipment, including masks and other personal protective equipment to avoid inhaling or coming into contact with contaminated particulates, powerful vacuums with special bags to reduce the spread of contaminants, knowledge of and access to resources that assist in disposal, as well as much more. If you plan on doing an attic cleaning project yourself, you’ll have to invest in a lot of equipment to do so safely and effectively.

Experience is a difficult aspect of attic cleaning to quantify, but it is very important. When you clean your attic you need to be thorough and meticulous, but it is also crucial to have the awareness of what you are seeing so that you can properly address the issue. For example, early signs of a rodent infestation may be missed by the casual observer but a professional will recognize it almost instantly. The same can be said for the development of mold from a leaky roof. Pinpointing the root cause of the mold may escape most people, but for a professional, it may be relatively straightforward. Simply put, professionals have the experience and knowledge base to ensure that any problems are quickly identified and proper solutions are put in place before they become bigger issues.

Lastly, safety is a major concern when cleaning your attic. As we’ll explore in the next section, there are many health issues that can be tied to a dirty attic space. Understanding what these health issues are is important. If you plan on doing your attic cleaning yourself you’ll also need to understand the best ways to minimize the spread of contaminants and your exposure to them. There are also very real risks associated with gaining access to an attic and physically moving around in it, especially the risks of serious injuries relating to falls. 

Why Attic Cleaning is Important

It’s easy to underestimate the important role that a clean attic plays in a healthy home environment. There are significant health concerns that can stem from a rodent infestation that isn’t dealt with. Even more benign substances, like the dust that accumulates in your attic over the years, can have health consequences that you may not realize, so it’s important to pinpoint signs you need an attic cleanup earlier than later.

There are also other practical reasons you should prioritize a clean attic. Identifying problems with your insulation, attic space, or roof early on can help avoid costly repairs down the road as well as higher utility bills in the meantime.

Rodent Infestation

One of the most common reasons for attic cleaning San Diego is a rodent infestation. Many people don’t catch these infestations early, but rather begin to worry once they see rodent droppings around their common living areas. Rather than waiting too long to address a rodent infestation, it is better to be proactive and identify and cleanup one early.

Rodents love to make their homes in attics. Attics are relatively warm and dry, difficult to access by predators, offer shelter from the elements, and insulation and stored belongings make ideal nesting materials. Rodent infestations also tend to grow in attics precisely because they are unattended. You are much more likely to notice and address a rodent problem in your common living area than you are in an attic.

The health risks associated with a rodent infestation include:

  • Lassa Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Bite Fever from rats
  • South American Arenaviruses
  • Tularemia

The risks associated with a rodent infestation don’t just stem from the pests themselves, but also their feces and urine in their nesting materials and the surrounding area. Because of this, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) outlines specific guidelines that should be followed by an attic cleaning company when cleaning up an existing rodent infestation. Particular care must be taken to avoid spreading contaminants during the removal and sanitation process.

Poorly Functioning or Damaged Insulation

You may not realize how much of an impact damaged or inadequate insulation can have on your monthly utility bills. The insulation in a home’s attic provides an important barrier for the transfer of heat. What this means is that inadequate or damaged insulation will result in a colder home when it is cold outside and a hotter home with it is hot outside. This will result in higher energy costs to keep your home the temperature you want.

It often isn’t immediately apparent to the inexperienced observer that there is a problem with their attic insulation. This can be further compounded by items stored in an attic, which may obscure the extent of the problem. A thorough attic cleaning can quickly expose inadequate or damaged insulation. 

One final thing to note about the insulation in your attic is that damaged insulation has an external source. For example, if your insulation has mold damage it most likely stems from a leaky roof. Identifying these sources early can allow you to make small repairs now rather than large, costly repairs down the road.

Dust

Dust is so common that many of us never think about the health problems it can cause. Household dust can contain many contaminants that may irritate your respiratory system or exacerbate conditions like asthma. Both airborne and settled dust can contain dust mite allergens, chemicals from consumer products, and even contaminants from the air around your house. 

One study conducted in Australia in 2005 found that the dust in a home’s attic often contained contaminants that were found in the area more broadly, including heavy metals that could pose a health risk if disturbed. Although most of us don’t think of the dust in our attic as a potential health risk, as it collects and settles the dust can contain many years of environmental contaminants. This also highlights the importance of using a professional attic cleaning service like Attic Construction to do a thorough attic cleaning, since the disturbance of settled dust can put many contaminants into the air.

Final Thoughts

Although most people don’t spend much time thinking about their attics, let alone go in them, it is an area of our homes that can have a big impact on you and your loved one’s health. Attics make an attractive home for rodents and pests and a rodent infestation left unattended will damage insulation and may potentially spread harmful diseases.

Cleaning up a rodent infestation is a difficult task that requires appropriate personal protective equipment as well as specialized equipment for the removal and disposal of contaminated nesting materials.      

Addressing a rodent infestation isn’t the only reason to receive an inspection and have your attic cleaned. Damaged or dated insulation can perform poorly, resulting in higher utility bills over time. Settled dust from over the years can contain any number of chemicals and heavy metals, and once disturbed can contribute to respiratory issues.

While the reasons for cleaning your attic are compelling, it is important to keep in mind that this task is best left to professionals. There are serious safety considerations that must be kept in mind when working in an attic. Additionally, our crews at Attic Construction have the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to ensure that any contaminants are contained and cleaned, and any larger issues are identified and communicated to you.

To learn more about our professional attic cleaning service or attic decontamination cost, please contact Attic Construction today.

Sources:

  1. https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/basement-attic/attic-cleaning/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44199/
  3. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.est.6b02023
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/index.html
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935104002208?via%3Dihub

 

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