remove or replace old attic insulation

Should I Remove Old Insulation?

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, most attic insulation can last between eighty and one hundred years. Newer insulation is even more durable as it is both humidity and weather resistant. Since insulation is so durable, many homeowners ignore attic maintenance and expect that everything will be okay.

Attic Insulation’s Purpose

The primary purpose of attic insulation is to regulate the temperature throughout your home. Insulation prevents warm air from escaping your home during the cold winter months and hot air from entering your home during the scorching summer months.

Sufficient insulation is important to ensure your comfort within your home and protect your home from damage due to heat and humidity. Attic insulation provides homeowners with many other benefits as well.

Benefits of Insulation

Insulation offers homeowners many benefits, including monetary benefits. Efficient attic insulation cuts the costs needed to regulate the temperature in your home. It keeps warm air in, saving you money on your heating bill. It also keeps hot air out, saving you money on air conditioning. Insulating your home could also increase the value of your home by raising the R-value and improving the home’s energy efficiency.

In addition to the monetary benefits, insulation protects your home. It protects your home from damage due to humidity and condensation. It also works as a barrier, preventing pests from entering.

Maintenance Is Necessary

Punctures, gaps, and water damage will shorten the life of attic insulation. Once the insulation is punctured, it is ineffective. Gaps in insulation allow air to move through the space more freely and hot air to escape the home. Water damage will cause mold, mildew, and corrosion of the insulation.

Regular maintenance and inspection are necessary to ensure that your insulation is still in good shape and working effectively to stabilize the temperature in your home.

Signs to Install or Replace Insulation

Due to the incredibly long life expectancy of installation, many homeowners do not know when to replace installation. Some homeowners do not even know whether their home has attic installation. There are a few signs to pay attention to. These signs signify that your home needs attic insulation installed or replaced.


When you enter your attic or pass by the attic’s entrance, do you smell anything peculiar? A tell-tale sign that your attic insulation needs to be replaced is the presence of mold, mildew, and water damage. You do not have to see the water damage to know that it is there. Many homeowners notice a musty, wet scent when they near the attic in their home.


While you may not smell the water damage, you would notice it upon inspection. Wet spots in the ceiling or attic floor are an indication that water damage is present. The presence of mold and mildew also indicates that your insulation needs to be replaced.

While inspecting your insulation, there are other physical signs that the insulation is no longer efficient. Cracked and crumbling insulation is no longer useful and should be replaced immediately. It is important that you do not remove the insulation yourself. Professionals should be able to clear the insulation easily using the necessary tools.

Ice Dams and Icicles

Many homeowners believe that icicles naturally accompany the winter months. While this is partially true, an abundance of icicles and ice dams is a sign that your insulation is no longer working efficiently. The icicles are a sign that snow and ice are melting and refreezing on your rooftop. This could be explained by a large amount of heat escaping through your attic.

Temperature Fluctuations

Drafts and extreme fluctuations in temperature are a sign that the insulation is not holding up in certain areas. If the temperature in your living room is running five to ten degrees warmer than the temperature in your bedroom, there is a problem. While hot air rises, the temperature throughout your home should not fluctuate too much, especially for rooms on the same level.

High Energy Costs

Take a look at the average homeowner’s energy costs in your area. If your energy costs are substantially higher, and your home is average in size, this may be an indication that your insulation is no longer working as it should.

Energy bills generally cost around an average amount in each area. Increasing the temperature on your thermostat in the winter will cost you a little more, as will lowering the temperature in the summer. But, the difference should not be astronomical.

When to Remove Old Insulation

The lifespan for attic insulation is between eighty and one hundred years. As a general rule of thumb, you should not need to completely replace your installation more than once in your lifetime.

Due to the long lifespan and the benefit of insulation, many homeowners wonder if they need to remove old insulation before installing new. Typically, the removal of old insulation is unnecessary. But, there are certain instances where the removal of old insulation will prevent damage to your home and new insulation.

Any time there has been water damage you should remove the old insulation. If you have found wet spots on the ceiling or floor of the attic, mold or mildew on the insulation, or can smell wetness in the attic, the old insulation needs to go. Installing new insulation over water-damaged insulation will lock the moisture in.

If you need help with insulation services in Norfolk VA, contact our team today.