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Discussion Starter #1
This is my attic. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Had the HVAC unit replaced last year. Now it's time for insulation, I think. Looks like the original 1970s insulation. Located in Virginia beach.

Had a professional give me an estimate. He recommended blowing in insulation bringing it up above the joists to produce, R-38. He mentioned that it is treated for rodents and others pests. He recommended against removing the existing insulation as it wouldn't be cost effective. He said baffles aren't needed if installtion is blown in properly. After I mentioined that I heard a rodent up there the other day, he said there were droppings all over. I don't see any droppings, but I do believe there is at least one up there from time to time and I can smell a musky odor in one of the bedrooms at the other end of the house from time to time. I will be getting other estimates.

My questions:
Keep the old insulation with potential rodent odors?
Install baffles?
Is there such thing as rodent treated insulation?

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JUSTA MEMBER
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If you are able, scratch around a bit to see if any nests have been created in there.

They can use a chemical in the loose insulation that has a deterrent in it, if you ask for it.
A careful installer can put it to where you don't need the baffles, but most installs are hurried and sloppy.


ED
 

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Standard approach is to air seal between house and attic before burying everything in lots of insulation.

Rodents don't come as singles. If you have one you have many and they have access somewhere. You need to find and close off that access and start an ongoing trapping plan to not only catch what is up there but to act as an early warning when other critters find a way in.

Now the bad news. Rodents will find a corner or remote place in your attic and use that as their potty. I have removed some and identified many using my infrared camera. The reports that followed from those home owners were disgusting.

During the cooling season, that cold air leaks out of the lower portions of your home and pulls in replacement air from the higher areas, like the attic. So whatever is up there becomes part of the air you and your family are breathing.

IMO, you need to at least identify the contaminated areas and remove that insulation. Addressing the air sealing will involve moving a lot of the current insulation so you will have a good opportunity to see where the contamination is.
Here is a link on air sealing: https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/TBC_Guide_062507.pdf

Bud
 

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MEASURE ONCE, CUT TWICE
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If it were mine, I would have all that insulation sucked out of there.

Baffles for sure as there will be a lot of insulation installed. With the proper venting, breezes can move the loose insulation around and it will end up in the eaves.

I'd also clean up those loose wires and add running boards so you don't trip over them or damage them when the new insulation covers them up and they are out of site.
 

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As someone else pointed out, it's dangerous to just add insulation. The more you insulate, the more you need to air seal prior to adding more. That looks like blown fiberglass, which is bad for air sealing. Fiberglass is more like an air filter for air leaks, and it looks like you have a ton of penetrations.

So, that's a vote to have it sucked out, then have all penetrations air sealed, you can even have it blown back in and then covered with blown cellulose. The benefit of doing that is fiberglass is poor as temperature differences increase whereas cellulose isn't affected as much. That is, if your attic is 80F and you're trying to keep the upper floor 70F, there's not much temp difference and fiberglass's stated r-value is close to rated. However, if your attic increases to 150F and you're trying to keep the upstairs 70F fiberglass r-value drops below rated with such temperature differences so your ac (or heat) has to work harder basically fiberglass insulation works the worst when you need it to perform the best. Cover the fiberglass with cellulose, and the cellulose is good at slowing air flow and not affected much by temperature differences so it improves the performance of the fiberglass it's covering.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey, thanks for all the replies. I didn't realize there were so many. I only received an email notification for the first and last ones. Just received the estimate from the second contractor, who includes baffles.
I'd already set a trap, but it's at my access over the garage. The odors are at the other end, beyond the HVAC, where I can't get. Nothing bit yet. Also set one outside near a possible entrance. We'll see.
Not sure how I'm going to proceed just yet, but thanks for the info and suggestions.
 

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Rat/mice poop can be deadly. I'd have someone w/ proper protective gear vacuum out the old insulation and poop. Then air seal, blow in cellulose, etc, as above.
 

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We had the same scenario in my sons home, GLAD WE HAD IT ALL SUCKED OUT! House air quality is much better! We are in the process now to start sealing and then replace!

Do yourself and family a favor, clean it out, treat for odor and let it air out. Then seal and replace, if you can afford!
 
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