5 Reasons to Always Open a Sealed Attic


If you can detect the attic opening, chances are you can gain access.

For whatever reason, some homeowners make accessing the attic more difficult than it ought to be. The most common method, which probably isn’t deliberate, is covering it with the same ceiling texture that many other homeowners can’t wait to get rid of. But whether or not the attic is sealed, you still need to access it.

Several hazards can exist in the attic. And without a thorough inspection, your report can’t be complete. Here are just a few things that you might find at the top of the steps:

#1: Wiring Hazards

It’s commonplace for electrical wiring to run through attic space. But unless you can see it, you can’t report on whether or not it poses a threat to the safety of your client. Wiring might be unsecured, and there might also be an outlet or two that repair or regular GCFI testing.

Beyond the wiring are potential hazards of electric appliances. If there’s a roof leak and it drips into a ventilation fan, how would you ever know? And what about plumbing vents. It’s not unheard of for one to terminate inside the attic instead of passing through the roof.

#2: Condensation Problems

Improper insulation can create a lot of problems, not the least of which is condensation in the attic. In extreme cases, so much water collects that it can mimic a roof leak. Water can also damage the home’s framing, which can cause your client a lot of heartache down the road.

Condensation can also ruin insulation. Once it’s wet, the fluffy fiberglass blankets and loose-blown materials stay wet long-term, and can never regain their fluff or insulating capacity.


The insulation might be right on track, but you won’t know until you get there.

#3: Subpar Insulation

Insulation isn’t good indefinitely, not unless it’s the expanding foam variety that fills the whole cavity and then hardens. For just about everything else, it’s got a shelf life because of the attic environment.

Insulation can settle over time, and it’s a magnet for debris. And if there have been varmints overhead, they’ve probably nested, had babies and left a mess behind. Insulation might be flattened, shredded, or deemed a health hazard.

#4: Mold Hazards

Where there’s dripping water or even heavy humidity in the attic, mold can’t be far behind. It’s the perfect environment for it. Poor ventilation often exacerbates humidity, and poor ventilation is also important for mold to grow.

Mold in the attic doesn’t stay there. It filters down into the house, where it can affect everyone in the family. It might not be the treacherous back mold, but any variety can trigger a severe allergic reaction.

#5: Air Leaks

Although attics need ventilation, it has to be the right kind. There’s a difference between a strategic vent and an ordinary air leak. One helps the home breathe and stay healthy. The other can wreak all sorts of havoc.

In colder climates, air leaks allow frost to build up inside the attic. Once the weather starts to turn and the frost begins to melt, water can rot the framework and sheathing, and it can also encourage mold growth.

Attics aren’t meant to be permanently sealed, no matter what a builder or homeowner tells you. If you’re prohibited from entering the attic, there’s not much that you can do about it. But you can note it in your report to cover your own back.

Where possible, take the additional measures and enter a sealed up attic space. Your inspection report can’t be complete without it, and your client will probably thank you in the long run.

A home inspector’s job is never boring. From one day to the next, you never know what you might encounter. If that sounds like the life for you, Get a course demo and see what ICA School’s training is all about.

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