Assessing Your Attic: Safety Concerns and Storage Solutions

Read on for attic safety, attic storage solutions, and attic improvement tips.
Here is an example of attic heat loss. Heat transfers through the nails in the roof and dries the frost off the shingles above each nail head.

Take Stock of Attic Issues Before Winter Sets In!

If you’re like me, you dread making the climb up to the attic. Dragging down seasonal decorations or searching for long-lost memorabilia doesn’t have to be painful. Before the freezing months of winter set in, take time to inspect your attic and figure out what’s going on up there. Once your attic is in good shape, then it’s time to sort, purge, and create an organized storage space.

Read below for tips on attic safety and storage. However, before you commit to reorganizing everything in your attic, you need to inspect its overall condition.

  1. Unearthing Your Attic: What to Assess Before Storing Your Hoard
    • Search for Unwanted Guests

        • If you don’t want your attic to become a 4-star pest hotel, you need to perform a routine inspection for pest infestations (such as rats, mice, raccoons, chipmunks, and squirrels). The warm insulation makes a perfect nesting grounds for pests. Not only can they chew on your stuff, but also they can leave a trail of feces throughout your attic.


      • Prevent pests from coming in by repairing holes in roof flashing and by installing vent screens for gable vents that lead to your attic.


  • Check Your Attic’s Ventilation

      • It’s critical that your attic is properly ventilated because attic ventilation helps regulate your indoor temperature in summer and winter, prevents health hazards and damage to your property, and aids in reducing your energy bill.


      • During the winter, attic ventilation prevents ice damming, which happens when melting snow drains off a roof because the attic is too warm, then freezes in the gutters creating a dam. This can lead to water leaking in through your roof. Another benefit of proper winter attic ventilation is that when your attic is cold, heat is prevented from rising and the warmth stays in your home.


      • During the summer, attic ventilation provides constant airflow removing excess heat and moisture. Therefore, preventing damage as well as elevated energy bills.


    • How to tell if your attic is not properly ventilated:
        • Visible mold and mildew growth mean you have too much moisture and a lack of ventilation.


        • Water stains on your walls and roof can suggest that you have a leak or that you need better insulation in your attic.


        • Rusted nails indicate excess moisture.


      • High energy bills. If you attempt to reduce your energy use and continue to have high energy bills, your attic may be the problem.
  • Inspect Your Attic’s Insulation
      • Speaking of high energy bills, approximately 80 million homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. You can save money year-round by properly insulating your attic.


      • Take a look around your attic. Be careful not to step between the joists! If you see exposed joists, you need to add more insulation. Choosing the right insulation for your attic is important. Contact M&M’s team of professionals to talk to you about your attic insulation today.


    • Benefits of proper insulation include:
        • Comfort. Insulation prevents heat from inside your home from escaping through the roof in the winter. During the summer, your attic’s insulation keeps the outside heat from entering your home, keeping you cooler.


        • Cost Savings. If your attic is properly insulated, meaning it is preventing heat from escaping or entering your home, your furnace or air conditioner won’t have to run as often saving you money.


      • Preserving Your Roof. Attics that are insulated the right way prevent condensation, which is harmful to the wood inside your roof.


  1. Attic Storage Solutions: What to Store and How to Keep it Organized
    • Now that you have addressed any potential damage and/or safety issues with your attic, it’s time to talk attic storage.


    • What comes down from the attic must go back up to the attic. Only store items in your attic that you do not need to access frequently.
        • What to Store in Your Attic
          • Seasonal and holiday décor—NOT candles
          • Outdoor stuff—camping gear, or sports equipment
          • Kitchen goods—pots, pans, ceramics, dishes
          • Travel items—suitcases, garment bags
          • Clothing—store clothes in vacuum-sealed bags and then put them in a plastic tote


      • What NOT to Store in your Attic
        • Old photos, artwork, wood, and treasured papers can be damage by heat and moisture.
        • Flammable liquids such as paint, gasoline, hazardous chemicals can combust and set your home ablaze.
        • Furs or leather—the heat will damage leather and furs will only invite other furry creatures.


    • Keep your attic storage items protected by using containers that can stand up to the elements. Stay clear of cardboard boxes as they burn faster than plastic and attract insects. Spring for clear, plastic storage containers that are not too large because you’ll be hauling these up and down from your attic.


  • Pro Tips for Attic Storage Organization
      • Labeling. Take a few minutes to label each plastic bin with its contents so that you don’t have to go searching through multiple bins later. Tape some paper to each side of your bin (so you can clearly see the label no matter which side you position it) and use a permanent marker to write down what’s inside.


      • Line ‘em up. Store containers in rows close to your attic opening so that each container is easy to reach. This prevents you from having to move bin after bin to get the one you’re trying to find. DO NOT block vents with your storage bins! Move bins away from vents so they won’t affect your ventilation system.


      • Let there be light! Make sure your attic has proper lighting. This will make heading up to the attic more bearable and less work when it comes to finding your valuables quickly.


    • Less is more. Instead of adding more storage containers in the attic, try using what’s already there. Rafter hangers and hooks can be used to add hanging storage in an otherwise unusable space.

Before you climb up to your attic to store things smartly and safely, take the time to ensure your attic has proper ventilation and insulation. Have a professional from M&M Home Remodeling Services check the condition of your attic. Call today for a free consultation at: 1.800.930.2905.


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