Attic Insulation: Resources and Suggestions


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Old 10-05-12, 06:30 PM
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Attic Insulation: Resources and Suggestions

We just purchased a property in eastern PA. We've been in the house for a week only to discover a significant mouse issue, with years worth of nesting in the attic. Part of the remediation process includes replacing the attic insulation. I was not prepared to tackle that task yet. We were tentatively planning an energy audit after living here a year. I am handy and a fast learner, but a first-time home owner. Between wells, electrical systems, basement moisture, pest control, radon, and more, I'm spread pretty thin right now. I could use some good advice and links to resources for determining what I shoud put back in the attic after the mouse infested insulation is removed.

The house is a 2-story of approximately 2100sqft built in 1968. There are two separate attics. One above the majority of the house, including four bedrooms and two bathrooms. This section currently has some form of rolled insulation, a large central air unit and associated ducting, and a lot of mice tunnels and nests. The other attic area is over the garage and den/family room. Though there is some rolled insulation over the den area, the garage half has very-old loose pieces. The house is gas heat.

Thanks for your advice and opinions!
 
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Old 10-05-12, 06:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Others (much more qualified than I) will chime in here, so keep checking back or subscribe to the thread. You first must keep the mice out, whether it be sealing up holes to the outside or having exterminators install commercial type traps. If there is a food source, you must get rid of it as well. They could be getting into dog bowls during the day and storing the stuff in your attic, where they eat it later. Once the population is down, then you can replace the insulation and cure the damages.
 
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Old 10-05-12, 07:21 PM
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This is a tough time of the year...for mice, as they are moving indoors as it gets cold.

Some of the fixes you will need to limit the mice will help with energy efficiency as well, such as sealing off passages from basement to attic. Any walls that they have had access to will eventually need to be opened up and cleaned as well. I hate to add to your problems, but mice are not clean critters and once you apply a lot of heat, you will know what I mean.

I'll post a link that addresses air sealing as it will also show you some of the hidden passages through your house.

http://www.efficiencyvermont.com/ste...ide_062507.pdf

Bud
 
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Old 10-06-12, 10:15 PM
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Thanks for the advice and links. We've found mouse activity in the basement too; half is an unfinished workshop and the other half is a very old DIY finished area that we were going to remodel (eventually). I'm not too happy about having to tackle both the attic and basement right now. We'll probably take down the basement walls, remove the old carpet, etc., improve the water proofing, sanitize it from the mice and finish it next summer. I really do not want to open the walls of the finished living areas -- I'll post on Insects, Pests and Animal Control about that -- Back to the insulation. I feel like I'm in over my head. I removed a light fixture in the basement ceiling and could see that the insulation along the wall was done poorly. (Again, thanks for the link!) When we refinish the basement, we will insulate it properly. And I'd like to take this "opportunity" to improve the attic insulation, even if it means hiring someone. I like the spray foam insulation, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate. I'm not even sure I fully understand the implications of spray foam insulation. For example, if the insulation in the walls is not good, are we going to cause moisture issues? Are there any good resources for updating and improving the insulation in older homes?

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-07-12, 05:55 AM
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Buildingscience.com is a great resource for all sorts of information related to insulation and vapor barriers.

If you use spray foam, make sure it is closed cell. At 2" of thickness, the foam will become a vapor retarder and be an excellent air sealer. If you have duct work and an air handler in the attic, it may be wise to move your insulation to the roof deck using the spray foam. I don't see how spray foam in the attic will cause moisture problems in your walls.
 
 

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