Signs of Poor Attic Insulation

A poorly insulated attic can cause your family many issues, from high energy bills to unwanted drafts. As Pittsburgh’s coldest time of year approaches, it is important to check for the signs of poor insulation in your attic before the snow comes. But how do you know if your attic’s insulation is the problem?

Here are a few signs of a poorly insulated attic:

  • Ice dams
    • Though icicles can be a beauty of Pittsburgh winters, they are also a sign that your attic’s insulation is not performing at its best. When heat escapes your home through the roof, it melts the snow allowing it to run into your gutters and freeze again.
  • Increase in Utilities Bills
    • Poor insulation may be to blame if you’ve noticed higher air conditioning or heating bills. A poorly insulated attic allows air from your home to escape, causing your heating and cooling systems to work harder, increasing energy bills.
  • Unwanted Drafts
    • No one wants a cool draft sneaking through their home. But how do you find the cause of the draft? Begin by closing all windows and doors. Then, light an incense stick. If the smoke from the stick is drawn upwards towards ceiling light fixtures, the issue is in the attic.
  • Inconsistent Household Temperatures
    • Fluctuating temperatures from room to room in your home can tell whether your home’s insulation is poor.

Effects of Poor Insulation

A significant cause for concern when an attic is poorly insulated is the HVAC system working twice as hard to keep your family warm or cool. Not only is the system working harder, but all that work is going straight outdoors (literally). When your home is poorly insulated, and your warm or cool air is escaping, you crank the system to enjoy a moderate temperature in your home. Unfortunately, while your system is working hard, it also raises your energy bills.

As previously mentioned, a poorly insulated attic can cause ice dams or icicles on your roof. Ice dams become a big problem when they cause your shingles to detach from your roof, gutters to crunch, and icicles can potentially fall off into your yard below, potentially harming objects below.

Attic Insulation Options

Once you’re positive the attic is the issue, what do you do? First, there are a few types of insulation you may want to put in your attic: the most common include blown-in, batt or roll, and spray foam.


Blown-in insulation comes in fiberglass or cellulose and creates a thick coating on your attic floor.

Batt or Roll

Batt or roll insulation is usually made of fiberglass or rock wool and is installed in rolls, typically along the walls of your attic.

Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is sprayed into your attic via a chemical reaction that expands to fit into every nook and cranny.

What now?

Once you’ve concluded that your attic is poorly insulated, call a trusted insulation contractor to schedule a visit. An insulation professional will provide your family with the recommended insulation type for your home. It is also a good idea to call a roofing professional to check your roof and ensure ice dams did not cause your home any damage.

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