It’s easy to forget about checking your attic for any problems. It’s usually dark, dusty, cramped, and maybe even a little creepy. Unfortunately, while it’s easy to avoid, you really should check on things up in the attic regularly. You don’t want to have a serious problem that is allowed to fester for years. Many HVAC units, or at least ductwork, are located in the attic of homes, which can only compound the problems if you are not diligent. Read on for some of the common issues I come across while inspecting attics and HVAC systems.
1. Insulation Missing Leaving Exposed Drywall
Exposed drywall in attic causes noticeably higher energy bills. Check your local recommendations for R-value in attic.
2. Bathroom Vent Fan Discharging into the Attic Space
A bathroom vent should vent unwanted moisture out of the bathroom space. If the vent fan is exposed in to attic, the moisture will condense on decking or insulation. Mold can be a direct cause of unwanted moisture in attic.
1. Refrigerant Line with Torn or Missing Insulation
The refrigerant line is the copper line set that goes from the AC unit outside to the A-coil on the inside. The thicker line has the coolant going into the A-coil. This line should be insulated from the compressor to the A-coil. If it’s not, water will drip from the line. This decreases the efficiency of the unit, but the extra water can also drip on drywall, floor in the attic or crawlspace, or worse, the central unit itself.
2. Improperly Installed Air Filter
Almost every day we find a filter that is so dirty that the unit has a hard time pulling the air through. The filter filters out the particles in the air to keep your air cleaner to breath, but more importantly to keep the inside of the central unit clean to prevent wear and tear on the fan motor. Filters should be changed regularly. The type of filter you use will direct you to how often it should be changed. Air filters also have an arrow on it. The arrow is the direction the filter is designed to be placed into the unit. The arrow should always point toward the central unit.
As you can see, neglecting to maintain your attic or HVAC system can lead to serious issues like mold or high energy costs. It may be wise to hire an inspector to regularly check for any issues, especially if the area where your HVAC system is kept is difficult to get to, like a crawlspace or small attic. Catching problems early will save you a lot of money in the long run. Simple steps like replacing your air filters frequently can go a long way to keeping your home in good shape for years to come.
This blog post is part of a series on Common Home Inspection Issues. Please see our other posts for more information about other areas of your home.