Home Improvement

Can Attic Insulation Make You Sick?



It’s not uncommon for homeowners to have never visited their unfinished attic.  This is unfortunate since home insulation can have a major impact on health.  Improving a home’s indoor air quality often starts with attic insulation.  Here are three scenarios where you can get sick from old insulation.

1. An Attic That Has Mold

Attic insulation mold can happen for a variety of reasons.  They can include:

  • Roof leaks
  • The wrong combination of insulation types
  • Home insulation that was installed wrong
  • Insulation that was installed over the soffit vent

Once it is evident, it is important to remove moldy insulation.  An insulation professional should assist with this process and help identify the origin of the mold.  After that, all new home insulation should be installed.

attic mold

How Attic Mold Can Make You Sick At Home

In minor cases, symptoms from mold sickness only heighten allergy ailments.  If attic mold is at a dangerous level, toxic chemicals will become present in your home.  Mold sickness symptoms can include:

  • Coughing
  • Itchy skin
  • Labored breathing
  • Watery eyes
  • Irritation of internal organs

Animals In Your Attic Making You Sick

Squirrels, rodents, bats, and bugs in the attic can produce an array of toxins.  Bat and rodent fecal matter can spread toxic viruses to humans.  Humans can get ill from the inhalation of the spores in bat guano and develop histoplasmosis.

bat droppings in attic
This attic inspection turned up a sizable amount of bat droppings.

What Are The Symptoms Of Histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis first attacks a human’s lungs.  During the first few days, only minor symptoms are present.  Approximately 10 days after exposure, an array of symptoms can take place including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Joint, chest, & muscle pains
  • Impaired vision
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

Histoplasmosis can run its course a person can recover without medical help.  Immunocompromised populations and children can experience long-term illness or death without proper diagnosis.

Should I Remove Droppings In Attic Insulation?

Only reputable professionals should remove toxic pest waste from an attic.  They understand the decontamination and deodorization process. Next, an insulation contractor can restore your attic to the correct R-value level.

fiberglass insulation removal

Asbestos In Vermiculite Insulation

Many homes built before 1980 have expanded vermiculite insulation in their attic.  There are many advantages to vermiculite insulation including:

  • Easy installation
  • Significant thermal performance
  • Effective sound barrier

The primary mine where vermiculite insulation came from also contained asbestos deposits.  This means that some vermiculite insulation contains asbestos, and some does not.  Professional testing can verify the presence of asbestos in the insulation.  If the vermiculite tests positive for asbestos, removal should be performed by an expert.  Asbestos fibers that are disturbed can become airborne.  This can lead to the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Replace Your Home Insulation In The Twin Cities Or Western Wisconsin

Since 1979, we’ve helped homeowners troubleshoot their insulation problems.  We take an individualized approach and treat offer custom long-term insulation solutions.  Our home insulation projects come with a lifetime workmanship guarantee.

If you’re looking to install insulation and have questions, contact us today otherwise get an estimate to start your complimentary consultation.

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