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6 Signs that your Attic is not Well Insulated

Last modified: 2020-11-09 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

There's no way around it, keeping your house hot through harsh Canadian winters can be expensive! As a homeowner, it is important to know the most cost-effective and efficient ways to keep the air of your home comfortable without breaking the break.

However, keeping the rooms of your home at a pleasant temperature comes down to more than simply turning up the thermostat! Proper home insulation is key to making sure you are saving energy while indoor temperatures are kept in check.

Suitable insulation starts at the tip of your house: the attic. Sturdy insulation in your home's attic will not only keep heating bills at bay but just like a warm wool hat it will trap in the heat and keep every room comfortably warm. With this in mind, there are signs that every homeowner can recognize indicating your attic has not been correctly insulated. Here's what to look for if you're concerned about how well insulated your attic is!

Here are 6 telltale signs that your attic is not properly insulated!

The furnace or air conditioning is overused

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Insulation is specifically in place to keep home temperatures balanced throughout the year, no matter what the temperature is like outside. So, if you are finding during colder months that your furnace feels the need to constantly pump heat, that could be a sign of deeper issues with the insulation of your attic. 

If you need to consistently and abnormally run your heat or cold air to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, then it might be worth considering checking out your attic's insulation. These devices will work twice as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature if your attic's insulation isn't up to par!

Heating costs have increased

A tell-tale sign that your insulation isn’t working correctly is an odd increase in your energy bills. If your bills from last year are quite far off from your current ones, and the trend points to an increase in energy use, this is an obvious indicator that your insulation isn’t installed or working correctly.

As your insulation fails, extreme temperature shifts will occur in your home, meaning you’ll need more and more energy to keep your rooms comfortable. This is going to cost more in the long run, therefore, it’s best you properly insulate your home to save some serious dollars, while keeping your home as warm as possible during frigid temperatures.

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Ice Dams

Ice hanging from house_insulation

Although they're fairly pretty to look at, icicles could be a sign of a problem with your attic's insulation. Poorly insulated attics become warm in the winter, and as we all learned in school, heat tends to rise up. As a result, dams form when snow covers the roof and rising heat melts some of this snow, causing liquid water to flow downwards.

Since there is no longer a direct heat source on the accumulated frozen water, and the edges of the roof are cold, the result is a heavy buildup of ice.

Ice dams can do serious damage to your roof, ripping off shingles, crunching cutters and dropping the edges of your roof onto things below. Furthermore, they can cause leakage and water damage affecting not only the outside but the inside of your home. Careful removal of the ice will help, but to permanently fix this problem you must start at the source, and that’s your attic's insulation. A properly insulated attic will not come up against this problem and your home will have a full roof in the summertime.

Drafty Rooms

Drafts don't just occur on their own. If you’re experiencing a draft in a room or several rooms of the home, and your front door isn't wide open, then it is likely coming from a sneaky source! 

Try turning up the heat of your house and testing the levels in each room. If you do this and your living room resembles a sauna while the attic feels like the arctic tundra, then it’s an insulation problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible. Not having proper insulation will cause an obvious energy increase and lead to both discomfort and expensive, unforgiving energy bills. Not to mention, it's bad for the environment.

Animal Infestation

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If you're hearing a large amount of noise coming from that little room at the top of your home, then this could be an obvious sign of an animal infestation. Although these little critters are cute, this points to a larger problem with your attic's insulations. If squirrels, rats, mice or any other form of pest are able to make homes within the walls of yours, then it's time to update your insulation.

Once you've correctly dealt with removing the little guys, remember to go back and check for anything they may have left behind, as it's possible for some pests to leave nests or babies hidden in the existing insulation, so thoroughly inspect your attic and then renovate!

The insulation is wet

One sign that your attic's insulation needs replacing is if you are finding it to be moist, damp or wet in any way. This means the material must be replaced as soon as possible, as wet insulation can grow mould that releases dangerous mycotoxins into the air of your home. Not only this, but any form of moisture causes the insulation to become ineffective, and thus purposeless.

The small air pockets that assist in trapping the air and maintaining the temperature cannot do their job when they are plugged with water. Therefore, if you notice your insulation is damp, it's the perfect time to start on that attic renovation project.

  What you need to know
1) The furnace or the air conditioning is overused
  • if the air conditioning or the furnace is overused, the insulation in the attic does not fulfil its role

2) Heating costs have increased
  • if your bills have increased compared to the previous year and if there are large temperature variations, then there is an insulation problem

3) Ice damns
  • if there are ice dams on the edge of the roof, this indicates an insulation problem in the attic
  • failure to address this problem can damage the roof, roof edge and cause water leaks inside and outside the home
4) Drafty rooms
  • increase the temperature and check the level reached in each room
  • if it's very hot in the living room and very cold in the attic, you have an insulation problem that needs to be fixed
5) Animal infestation
  • relocate small intruders elsewhere by making sure no nests are behind the insulation before renovating

6) The insulation is wet
  • the material needs to be replaced to prevent the release of mycotoxins


Get 3 renovation quotes for your attic insulation project can help you get quotes for your attic insulation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with 3 qualified professionals. Fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted specialists.

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