The insulation in your attic provides a critical barrier to the transfer of heat. While many people recognize the important role that insulation plays in their home, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year, what they may not realize is that the insulation in your attic may become less effective over time.
Rodents, in particular, pose a serious risk to the effectiveness of your attic insulation. If a rodent infestation occurs, it can become important to contact insulation companies to remove your current insulation that is in your attic floor and replace it with new insulation. The process of attic insulation removal is not known to many people. Gaining a better understanding of attic insulation removal and replacement is also important for most homeowners so that they can budget appropriately for this project.
The benefits of removing your attic insulation and replacing it with new insulation, particularly if the effectiveness of that insulation has been degraded by a rodent infestation, can be surprising. Not only can old and damaged insulation result in increased energy costs, but a rodent infestation that isn’t addressed can harm the health of yourself and your family members.
Why Remove Your Current Insulation?
As a homeowner, you probably don’t spend much time in your attic. Attics are notoriously difficult to get into and have small crawl space, so unless you are looking for those Christmas decorations you stored up there the previous year you probably don’t have a reason to go into your attic very often.
Even if you do go into your attic fairly regularly, you probably don’t take the time to explore around your attic and examine the health of your current insulation. Checking your insulation will require you to bring a light source and walk carefully on the joists that make up your rafters. Without doing so, you may fall through the drywall of your ceiling.
Despite the difficulty of checking your current attic insulation, it is useful to do so occasionally. Insulation that is contaminated due to a rodent infestation or mold and mildew can pose a serious health risk to the people living in your home.
A rodent infestation isn’t the only reason to remove your existing insulation, but it is one of the most common and important. Here are some reasons why you might want to remove your current attic insulation:
- Better Air Quality – Removing your current insulation may improve the indoor air quality of your home. Old insulation can contain a variety of contaminants that can affect your home’s air quality, including urine and feces from rodents and other pests.
- Better Energy Efficiency – How many products do you still use today that were manufactured 20 or 30 years ago? Probably not many. The products we use every day have improved over time, due to technological innovations and the introduction of new materials. The same is true for the insulation in your attic. If your home wasn’t recently manufactured, installing new attic insulation may result in greater energy efficiency and lower energy costs.
- Rodent Proofing – Insulation provides a great home for rodents and pests that are looking for a warm, comfortable place to nest. Unfortunately for many homeowners, the insulation in their attic is an attractive option for the local rodent population. If you are currently dealing with a rodent infestation, you’ll need to remove your existing attic insulation before you can take the steps to rodent-proof your attic against future incursions.
- Moldy or Wet Insulation – If you have wet or moldy insulation in your attic it is a good indication that you have a leaky roof. While addressing the root cause of the damaged insulation by fixing the leak is an important first step, you’ll also need to remove the affected insulation and replace it. This will return your attic insulation to peak health and reduce your energy costs.
The Health Risks of a Rodent Infestation
One of the most common reasons for attic insulation removal is rodent damage or infestation. Rodents, usually rats and mice, will view the insulation in your attic as their ideal home. Attics are warm, dry, removed from predators and the elements, and insulation makes an irresistible material for nesting in.
Unfortunately, when rodents nest in attic insulation many problems arise. Here are some of the most common health impacts that can arise from rodents that make your attic insulation their home:
- Rat-bite fever
- Omsk hemorrhagic fever
- Eosinophilic Meningitis
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
- Murine Typhus
- Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis
- Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
- Lassa Fever
One important thing to note about the items in this list is that many can be contracted by coming into contact with urine or feces left behind by infected rodents. This includes breathing in the dust that enters the air when dried urine and feces are disturbed. This is why the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that individuals who are cleaning up after a rodent infestation allow up to 5 days after an infestation has been cleared to begin cleaning a contaminated space. The CDC also recommends soaking urine, feces, or nesting materials with a disinfectant before you begin cleaning.
What the CDC’s recommendations underscore is that the urine and feces left behind by rodents in your insulation can pose a serious health risk to your family. This health risk persists even after the infestation has been eliminated and you are working to clean up the urine and droppings that the rodents left behind.
The health risks posed by urine, feces, and nesting materials after a rodent infestation is one of the central reasons why it is highly recommended to have professionals remove your attic insulation. Professional removal of contaminated insulation is the most effective way to limit the exposure of you and your family to harmful rodent-borne viruses that remain following an infestation.
Attic Insulation Removal Process
Now that it’s clear why you should consider removing your attic insulation in certain circumstances, let’s explore what the process for removing your insulation typically looks like. We highly recommend having your old insulation removed and replaced by our professionals at Attic Construction. Our knowledgeable staff are adept at removing all different types of existing insulation and can help remove contaminated insulation and properly rodent-proof and decontaminate your attic before installing new insulation services.
Arguably the most important part of any attic insulation removal project is the preparation process. Adequate preparation ensures that the removal of contaminated insulation won’t spread harmful rodent-borne viruses to other areas of your house. Typically, the surfaces leading to your attic entry are covered in thick plastic sheeting. Any furniture or valuables are removed to a location where they won’t come into contact with contaminated insulation.
Once the area is prepared, the removal process can begin. Blown-in insulation is removed through the use of a powerful vacuum that transports contaminated insulation into a secured container outside of your home. Batting insulation, or rather Batt insulation that comes in a roll, is rolled up and placed into an insulation removal bag. This bag is then transported off-site and disposed of.
After the insulation in the attic has been removed, the entire attic space is vacuumed to ensure any remaining traces of debris or rodent waste is removed. Once this process has been completed, your attic is ready to be decontaminated, rodent proofed, and have new insulation installed.
How Much Does the Removal Process Cost?
It is impossible to say exactly how much the removal process will cost without an understanding of the specific details of your situation. As such, it is recommended that you schedule a free estimate for a full insulation replacement with our professional staff. It is difficult to pinpoint the attic insulation removal cost because there are a variety of factors that can influence how much the service costs.
Additionally, the type of new insulation that is installed, whether rodent proofing is done, or if extensive decontamination services are required can all have an impact on the total cost of the project. If you have questions about attic insulation San Diego, our staff at Attic Construction can help break down the services we offer and provide you with a comprehensive estimate.
Attic insulation removal may be necessary because of rodent damage, the presence of old insulation, or water and mold damage. Rodent infestation is a common precursor to insulation removal because rodents find an ideal habitat in an attic. Insulation can be used as nesting material, and attics themselves are sheltered from the elements and other predators.
While you can attempt to make this a DIY project, we heavily recommend a professional insulation removal service. Why? Do you know the pros and cons of cellulose insulation, fiberglass insulation, or spray foam insulation? Or have you figured out what tools you’ll need to remove the old attic insulation…and do you have them handy?
It is important to use the services of a professional attic removal company like Attic Construction to ensure it is properly done and of course…to save you the frustration of learning how. Moreover, we are equipped to handle hazardous materials like asbestos and mold spores in very old buildings. In situations where a rodent infestation has occurred, proper removal of the dirty insulation and decontamination of the attic space are essential before your attic insulation installation. Proper rodent proofing of the attic space can also help you avoid any future instances of rodent infestation. The risk of dangerous communicable diseases that may occur when you disturb rodent nests that contain rodent droppings and urine makes using the proper protective equipment necessary when removing the contaminated insulation.
If you aren’t sure whether you need to have the insulation in your attic removed, consider scheduling a free estimate. Even if you don’t have a rodent infestation, replacing outdated insulation with new insulation can substantially reduce your energy costs and result in more stable temperatures throughout your home.
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Written By Joseph Sheiner
Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.
Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.
Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA