The attic isn't always the most fun place to visit in a house. Despite its narrow confines, this space is critical for extra storage, proper home ventilation and insulation.
Therefore, when buying a new property it is important to look here, and make sure everything is in safe, working order. Not taking the correct precautions when working in and around an attic could lead to serious injuries, and a property inspection can help find any dangerous areas. Keep watch for any potential safety hazards or pest problems, and fix immediately.
Be cautious before entering an attic
Attic safety starts before ever setting foot on the floor. If planning any attic renovations, expect to get a little dirty, according to Energy Star. It helps to know what the plan of attack is before getting underway, and the less trips needed up and down the stairs the better.
Safety also has to do with clothing, and the correct outerwear can keep a homeowner from breathing in airborne particles, and shirts and pants might get ruined when performing attic maintenance. This area of a home is often the hottest during the summer, and any work done this time of year needs to start early in the day, Energy Star noted.
Heat exhaustion might occur from the sweltering temperatures, so plan to bring any additional water and wear a respirator or mask. There are constant dangers when in an attic, so be careful and remain vigilant when working.
OSHA recommends looking at the structural integrity of an attic floor, and the truss chords or ceiling joists may be too weak to support prolonged weight. The small space and poor lighting provides added complications for residential construction, and extra steps should be taken to be safe.
When examining the structural soundness of an attic, a property inspection can identify specific aspects that should be addressed when buying or selling a house.
Regular attic maintenance
An attic is a crucial component of a home's energy efficiency and overall safety. Look for any openings or gaps that may allow pests to enter, or heating and cooling to escape. These should be sealed immediately, and check for any signs of animals, according to William Sparks Insurance.
Additionally, all insulated areas need to be up to the correct specifications. Too much or too little will damage a home's overall energy levels, and missing or degraded insulation can be a problem. Try to replace any ruined areas promptly.
Moisture is another common attic concern, and it might lead to mildew and mold. These issues can often be smelled before they are seen, which is a benefit when searching for hidden dangers. Even once removed, regular check-ups are needed to make sure nothing has returned, and cause of the moisture should be fixed as well as the symptoms.
Prevent frequent attic pests
Attacking a pest problem in these narrow spaces could quickly devolve into a comedy of errors. Don't let this happen, and be proactive to keep animals out before the overtake an entire attic.
Pests can destroy electrical systems, gnaw through insulation and pollute a home with disease. Some of them can be hard to spot - so a home inspection may prove useful for figuring out the less-obvious issues - but others can make their presence known.
Common attic critters include bats, mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons, according to HouseLogic. The scat from these animals can be an identifying factor, and mice droppings are often the smallest while raccoons can leave two to three inch pellets for a homeowner.
For the smaller vermin, traps can work. A homeowner can tackle rat or mice problems on their own, but for bats and raccoons professional help is needed. These animals can be vicious and evasive, and the pros are well trained at humane removal techniques.