An annual attic inspection may not be high on your priority list, but delaying it could result in costly critter removal or serious health hazards. For example, rodents chewing on attic wires cause approximately 15,000 residential fires each year, and if there isn’t proper air ventilation you can expect your attic to become a breeding ground for mold.
Grab your gear. You will need a flashlight and camera (to take pictures of any problems) and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants because the insulation can be itchy.
Be careful. Make sure to only step on the rafters, not on top of the drywall or plaster ceiling, or you’ll fall through!
Water damage. Look at the underside of the plywood under your roof. It should not have any watermarks or mold on it.
Air movement. Air should move freely from your soffit vents, through your soffit chutes or baffles, into your attic, and out your roof vents. You’ll know if there’s inadequate air movement if you notice evidence of condensation and mold on the plywood and/or rafters.
Rodents. Look for evidence of a rodent infestation (squirrel, raccoon, rat). Evidence includes gnawed wires and shredded paper nests. If you see any evidence, we recommend you call an exterminator to help you figure out how they’re getting in, how to get rid of them, and evaluate potential damage that they caused (exposed wires, damaged ductwork, affected insulation, etc.)
Chimney. If you have a chimney that goes through your attic, take a quick look to make sure that it’s still in good condition. If it's made of brick and mortar, is the mortar falling apart? Are the bricks scaling? Obviously, a deteriorating chimney in an attic is a significant fire risk.
Ductwork. If you have ductwork in your attic, take some time to make sure that it isn’t leaking. You’ll know it’s leaking by evidence of condensation around the duct.
Bath Fans. Bath fans MUST vent to the outside. If they don’t, you’re basically exhausting wet air into your attic. It’s an invitation for mold and mildew to take up residence in your attic.
Check your insulation. It’s important to take a quick look at your insulation so that you can detect leaks or damage, as well as catch any mold or moisture problems before they get out of control. For detailed instructions on where to look, read: Inspect and Repair Your Insulation.