Proper ventilation and sufficient insulation may not top the list of things you’re looking for when checking out a home on the market, but any good home inspector will tell you that both of these elements are vital to the maintenance of the structure, your family’s well-being, and the health of your bank account.
Critical spots in the home where damaged insulation is no longer doing the job or where insulation is absent can lead to sweltering summers and frigid winters, as well as higher-than-usual heating and cooling bills. Poor venting, especially in an attic, can cause extensive moisture damage to a home, including potentially expensive repairs of the roof deck, rafters, and roof covering.
In today’s blog, we’re going to review the checklist of items a certified inspector, like those at A-Pro Home inspection, assesses when observing a home’s insulation and ventilation. Remember, understanding what your home inspector looks for and recommends will allow you to ask more pertinent questions and, in the long run, become a better homeowner. And while your neighbors may be crowing about their new wraparound porch, you can brag about the upgraded depth of your fiberglass batt insulation in the attic—and all the money you’re saving!
Here’s a summary of what your insulation/ventilation inspection includes:
Insulation: Your home inspector will determine and report on the type and depth of the insulation—when visible—found in the attic, roof cavity, exterior walls, basement walls, crawl space, and floor cavity. This will include notes indicating when insulation is not present or cannot be seen. The report will detail problems such as insulation blocking attic vents, incorrect installation, gaps, and diminished R-value (the level of thermal resistance) caused by dirt, animal feces, and flattening.
In the attic, areas including the access hatch, exhaust vent, skylight wells, ducts, and walls will be checked for sufficient insulation, and conditions such as compressed insulation and presence of vermin will be evaluated. The mistake of installing batt insulation with the paper vapor barrier facing the wrong way (on the outside rather than facing down) will be indicated.
In the basement, the inspector may observe a lack of rim hoist insulation, loosened or damaged wall insulation, and exposed foam board. When a crawl space can safely be accessed, questions will include: Are the plumbing pipes and ductwork insulated? Is insulation loose or damaged? Is there a moisture barrier or does the moisture barrier need to be adjusted? Are there signs of vermin infestation and does the crawl space have the means to prevent animals from entering?
Ventilation: The inspector will report on the type of air/vapor barrier. Checkpoint questions include: Are there roof vents, soffit vents, ridge vents, fascia vents, and gable vents? Does the roof have a power ventilator? Does the crawl space have exterior wall vents? Are there exhaust fans/vents in the kitchen and bathrooms? Does the dryer have a vent?
The inspector will report on condensation and mildew in the attic, mildew on the roof sheathing, absence of screens on vents, an inoperative power ventilator, common installation issues with recessed attic lighting, overall “marginal” ventilation, and questionable ventilation in a sloped ceiling. The crawl space
will be evaluated for conditions such as the absence of ventilation, mildew resulting from poor ventilation, obstructed wall vents, and damaged or corroded ductwork.
An evaluation of a home’s insulation and venting is part of A-Pro’s 500-point home inspection. Ask your local A-Pro Home Inspection team about its complete foundation-to-roof inspection in Olympia. To schedule one, call 360-489-6100 or visit the link below.