Keeping attic clean and organized isn’t complicated. However, most attics are dirty and dark places, often being the area where you just pile the things you don’t need. The accumulation and unplanned piling of unwanted stuff isn’t the only problem: poor insulation, air sealing, and poor ventilation turn attics into humid dungeons, begging for frost, inefficient energy consumption and accumulation of poor quality air.
So, cleaning and maintaining your attic can save you money, conserve the value of your home and even improve the overall air quality in your home. That being said, this article will explain the steps you should go through if you want to efficiently clean your attic, ultimately turning your home into a more efficient and more comfortable place to live.
Cleaning And Storing
If you didn’t clean your attic for a long time, expect dirt and dust (a lot of it). But before you even start cleaning, look at the big picture.
Firstly, take care of the things you don’t use and either sell it or take it to junkyards. However, if you plan on using that stuff later, consider storing it in a garage or a shed. Some objects are better of stored in a garage or shed because attic’s environment is not the best for storing things, especially if these things are expensive.
Once you take out all the unnecessary stuff, start cleaning. Before you begin working on ventilation or insulation, make sure that the attic is clean. Think of this step as building a foundation for your house; if the foundation is weak, the house might collapse. So, make sure you turn your attic into a clean and safe space.
Air Leaks And Sealing
Most attic problems are related to poor air sealing. The biggest problem is mold, and it occurs when the inside air (which accumulates in your attic) mixes with outside air.
The problem is most evident during winters. You heat your home, and the air gets warmer and warmer. However, warm air is less dense, and it will travel up, all the way to the attic. And there, it mixes with the outside air, one that is cold during winter. The process is the same during summer, only this time you are trying to cool the air.
In any case, you will end up with mold and humid air, detrimental to your house and the objects in it. After you clean your attic, look for air leaks and seal them. The best way to fix leaks is by using a caulking gun. It is fairly easy to use this device, but if you aren’t comfortable with it, ask professionals to do it for you.
Focus on the areas where different materials merge, such as windows and chimneys. Doing this will lower the chances of mold occurrence, as well as improve the air quality. And, of course, your home will conserve heat more efficiently, saving you some money along the way.
Proper insulation will ensure better energy efficiency and comfort. Insulation should be done after you clean your attic, remove the extra stuff (the fewer things you have in your attic, the better) and fix air leaks.
There are several ways you can insulate your attic, but people commonly opt for loose fill or blanket insulation. You can hire professionals, or if capable, do the task by yourself.
Loose fill, made of fiberglass, mineral wool or cellulose, is usually blown into or spread across the desired area to increase the material density to conserve heat.
Blanket insulation (batts) material is also made of fiberglass, mineral wool or cellulose. It is more flexible than using the loose fill since it comes in the form of roles, and you can unroll it and place where you fit best.
You can add several layers if you see fit, and also use in combination with the loose fill. In essence, insulation will help entrap the cold or warm air in your home depending on the time of year, helping you conserve energy.
Air ventilation helps maintain optimal air quality in your attic, making sure the humidity doesn’t spiral out of control. Naturally, you will have to address this problem depending on the region and climate.
If you live in warmer climates, proper air ventilation can help balance the outside humid and hot air with the internal coolness, especially during summer. If you live in colder areas, air ventilation can help prevent frost during winters.
The principle is simple: you need an optimal balance with intaking and exhausting the air. You don’t want to entrap the air and let it circulate your home because such air loses its quality, damaging your health and helps develop mold.
It is best that you call professionals to evaluate your situation and advise you on proper air ventilation system. Don’t look at it as an unwanted expense, but as a long-term investment in your health and your home.
Maintaining the attic is not hard. Checking it once a year, making sure there are no air leaks, that the airflow is good and that the insulation is in place is the least you can do.
Though you probably don’t spend much time in it, the attic is part of your home and should be maintained as such. Furthermore, the majority of the work you have to do is free of charge.
Cleaning attic and moving the things from it to your garage or shed is free, and you can do it whenever you find the time for it. It is also the most crucial step in this process because you don’t want too much dust in your airflow, you don’t want other objects taking away the heat, and you don’t want mold and high humidity.
Clean it, free up space, and then work on air sealing, insulation, and airflow. It is best that you contact professionals to ensure that the work is done correctly, but if you are knowledgeable about the subject, even better.