Top Common Attic Problems to Look For

Attic problems

Most people don’t even think about their attic much. However, attic problems can be serious. And they can also cost you a lot of money in the long run if you don’t keep on top of the state of your attic. 

In the 10+ years that we’ve been in business, Atticare has dealt with every attic issue imaginable in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New Jersey. 

Here are some of the most common attic problems we see.

  • Ineffective insulation
  • Pest infestations 
  • Drafts
  • Attics not properly ventilated
  • Dampness
  • Mold in the attic  

Regularly Inspecting Your Attic

We recommend that you hire a professional insulation contractor to inspect your attic at least once every year for attic issues.

And if it’s safe to do so, get up there yourself and check it in the spring and again in the fall. Prevention is better than cure so you’d see any small issues as soon as they started. With a great attic your home is easy to keep at a comfortable temperature in extreme heat and cold.

Here’s our simple guide to completing an attic check.

Insulation Issues

Over the years, your insulation can take a real hit. Poor insulation doesn’t just mean your home’s cold in winter. Any good roofing company will tell you that it can cause all of the following issues.

Pest Infestations 

Pests can burrow through fiberglass insulation which means it’s weak and doesn’t insulate as well.


If insulation is uneven or damaged, it can cause uncomfortable drafts in your home. This can cost you a fortune in energy bills.

Ice Dams On The Roof In Winter

Snowy weather? If your attic isn’t insulated well then you can get ice dams on your roof. Ice dams can cause serious structural damage to your gutters, shingles.

And if it melts into your attic then you’ll have a damp problem.

Dampness, Mildew And Mold In The Attic

Normally the mold doesn’t actually grow on the insulation, especially if it’s fiberglass. But say the insulation has been soaked, uprooted by pests or incorrectly installed. Then mold and mildew can grow on top or underneath it.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

How To Tell If You Have Bad Insulation

Uneven Temperature

When you’re in your attic, is there an uneven temperature distribution? That’s a clear sign of poor insulation. Cold spots or ice dams are dead giveaways of common attic problems related to insulation. 

High Energy Bills

Bills higher than usual? Maybe you’ve noticed you’re having to run the heating or A/C for longer just to get your home to the same temperature as before.

Get a Free Inspection

The Best Way To Replace Insulation

An extraordinary 90% of homes in the United States aren’t adequately insulated. That’s a lot of unnecessarily high energy bills.

Be part of the 10% and hire a licensed insulation contractor to inspect and install new insulation for your attic or crawl space.

The pros can install exactly the right quantity of insulation in exactly the right way. We can also advise on which attic insulation is best and why attic insulation is important.

Pests In Your Insulation

Because of the nature of insulation, pests see potential for a really warm nest. It’s also usually nice and quiet up in your attic away from humans.

OK Pests Are Gross But Is It A Major Issue?

Pests carry germs on their skin and fur. When you have a pest infestation they will also soil the area which makes it damp.

All this means that the air is toxic too, and that can travel down into your home. Rodents can get into your vents in which case that nasty air is being pushed into your home.

You do not want allergies or respiratory problems because of pest poop.

Here’s How To Tell If You Have A Pest Problem In Your Insulation

How could little intruders get in in the first place? Check for missing shingles and torn insulation which both point to a pest break-in.

Then do this. 


In the attic itself or from below, can you hear any of the following?

  • Scurrying
  • Scratching
  • Squeaking
  • Chirping

Visual Assessment Of Potential Attic Problems

  • Bite marks on wires or walls
  • Different types of nests
  • Feces
  • Urine, which may be dry spots or damp

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

Knowing What Kind Of Pests Are Causing Your Attic Problems

If you live in Los Angeles you’re going to be prone to different pests than if you live in New Jersey. So read up on the pests that are common in attics where you live.

There are a lot of different signs that an insulation contractor looks for. But here’s a quick overview of what you can check yourself.



  • A musty smell.
  • Damage to items stored in your attic such as leather or paper.
  • Droppings that can look like pepper, coffee grounds or black rice.
  • Brown skid marks.


Do you live near the coast? Termites like to burrow in sandy areas so they tend to affect attics here. Knock your wood. Does it sound hollow? Other clues.

  • Small holes in wooden beams.
  • Blistered wood.
  • Finding old termite wings.
  • The hatch to your attic becoming hard to open or close.

Other Pests

Defining which pests you have can be hard. Squirrel problems in the attic could be mistaken for damage caused by raccoons for example. But here are some pointers. 


  • Chirping
  • Fluttering
  • Nests


  • Burrows in your insulation about an inch or two wide.
  • Nests made out of paper.
  • Feces that looks like rice.


  • Loud scratching and vocalizations.
  • Materials carried in from outside such as grass.
  • Strong unpleasant smells which may indicate one has died.
  • Large droppings.


  • Heavy stomping noises.
  • Snarling noises.
  • Scratch marks on wood.
  • Torn insulation or material brought in from outside.


  • Nocturnal squeaking, chewing or scratching noises.
  • Soiling in the corners of your attic.
  • Chewed ducts.


  • Droppings that have fur and bones in from their prey.
  • Shed skins.
  • Long snake track marks.


  • Noise in the morning and evening.
  • A strong urine or feces smell in your attic.
  • Seeing more squirrels in your yard than usual.

Effective Pest Control Depending On The Type Of Pest

Atticare offers pest and rodent control services in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angele and New Jersey.

For one or two pests in your attic, you can follow these steps but remember to wear a mask and goggles where necessary.


The easiest of all the attic problems. Simply shoo them out. Do you have a leaf blower? That makes the job even easier.


Purchase a spray for that particular pest. Look for one that will not only kill them but destroy their nests and eggs.

Mice And Rats

Wondering how to get rodents out of the attic? Traps. Baited with peanut butter. Bear in mind you’ll need larger traps for rats. 


These guys may look cute but they can become violent and attack when separated from their young. So for raccoons you need to call in a professional pest control company. And what’s even worse? They can also carry rabies.


Get a special possum trap. Then call a specialist to remove the cage from your attic.


Purchase a special snake trap in order to get rid of them.


For squirrel problems in the attic you can trap them in cages and remove them safely.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

How To Stop Attic Problems With Pests In The First Place

Easy. Hire a licensed attic team such as Atticare to seal any openings in your home. Then we do a thorough cleanup and repel pests using environmentally friendly products. 

Getting attic or crawl space insulation installed? Then it must be done to a very high standard so as not to leave any spaces where pests can enter.


Drafts are more than an annoying inconvenience. They not only drive up your energy bills but the gaps can let in all manner of pests.

And drafts aren’t just a pain in the winter. In the summer you’ll lose all that A/C too. As well as pest prevention, drafts are a big part of why attic insulation is important.

How Professional Insulation Contractors Inspect For Drafts

Start In The Attic

Even if there are drafts throughout the rest of the home, the attic problems are often the culprit. 

Drafts in the attic will often flow down into the rest of the house.

How’s The Access Door To The Attic?

Can you open and close it easily? Check for spaces between the door and the wall that can lead to drafts and attic ventilation problems. 

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

What We Can Do To Stop Drafts In Your Attic

Get New Insulation Installed

Is your existing insulation damp, or been soiled or torn up by pests? Then it’s time for a replacement. Expertly installed insulation will cover any cracks and air leaks in the attic.

Seal Air Leaks

If you only have one or two, it’s fine to do it yourself. Inspect your attic for any air leaks and caulk any cracks. 

If you’re dealing with a bigger issue, it’s best to get it done by an experienced team with professional equipment. Click here for more information on our air sealing services.

Repair Or Replace Air Ducts

Have someone in to inspect your air ducts. If the air ducts leak then that means you’ll get drafts. We can advise you what state your air ducts are in and whether they need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

Attic Not Properly Ventilated?

If you don’t get it fixed, this can cause no end of attic ventilation problems such as mold and drafts.

When your home is well ventilated, it’s energy efficient and allows hot air to escape from the attic in the summer.

Get a Free Inspection

Fixing Or Installing Attic Vents

If your vents are blocked by insulation or other objects, they can’t work properly. Vents are an essential way to fix any attic not properly ventilated. 

A professional insulation company will check the state of your vents. They’ll make sure that they aren’t soiled with dust or pest droppings which makes them less effective.

What are the different types of vents?

Intake Vent

This type of vent lets cool air in from outside. Normally intake vents are installed on the lowest part of the roof near the eaves.

Hot Air Exhaust Vent

Typically these go on the highest part of your roof. They allow the hot air to escape your attic.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

How To Get The Best Attic Ventilation System For Your Home


Have a professional in attic and crawl space services install a QuietCool fan just for your attic or for your entire home. After all, when your attic is not properly ventilated you’ll get attic problems like odor, smoke and germs.

Attic HVAC System

When you get an HVAC system for the attic you improve the air quality of your whole home. A special HVAC system will prevent mold and mildew in the attic in the first place so you can breathe easy.

Attic Problems From Moisture

As you’ll know by now, poor ventilation and insulation can cause mold and mildew to grow in your attic. Mold can be toxic so you need to get it treated ASAP.

Get a Free Inspection

Do I Have A Damp Attic?

Check for these if you suspect your attic could be damp.

  • Mold and mildew buildup.
  • Ice dams on the roof in winter.
  • Rusty metal.
  • Damp insulation.
  • Torn or badly fitting insulation.
  • Damp patches on the floor or walls.
  • Dried water marks.
  • Damaged or missing shingles that let the rain in.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

How To Fix Wet Or Damp Attic Problems

First you need to find the source of the moisture.

  • Appliances producing too much moisture.
  • Leaks.
  • Ice dams. 
  • Pest activity.
  • Poor ventilation.

A professional can do an inspection for moisture related attic problems and remove mold or mildew. This simple procedure will greatly improve your indoor air quality. 

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

How To Stop Moisture Returning In The Future

Now that you’ve sorted out the moisture buildup, here’s how to stop it from coming back.

  • Have an HVAC system installed in your attic.
  • Improve ventilation.
  • Hire a professional attic inspector.
  • Call a leading insulation contractor for repairs or installs.

Top Common Problems to Look For in Your Attic

Call Atticare To Solve Any Attic Problems You Have

We provide professional attic and crawl space cleaning, inspection and ventilation services in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New Jersey. Just check out our Diamond-Certified Company Report proving that our work is excellent.

Make an inquiry online or simply call (866) 692-5449 for more information.


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