One of the most cost-effective ways to cut heating and cooling costs and make a home more comfortable is to add more insulation to the attic.

Urban Wildlife Control provides insulation contractor services, whether you have an animal problem in your attic, or not.

When animals like bats, raccoons, rats or squirrels have resided in an attic for any length of time, they contaminate the insulation with urine, feces, shed fur, parasites and other contaminants. Unless corrective measures are taken, these disease-causing contaminants will remain in your home’s insulation, creating a health hazard that remains long after the animals are gone.

Not only does this create an unhealthy situation, but the odors left behind from animal waste will play a vital role in animal re-infestations in the attic. That’s why a complete animal removal, exclusion and clean-up is not complete without removing contaminated insulation, treating the attic with a biocide and replacing the insulation with new, clean insulation with the correct R-value.

The Danger of Leaving Animal Feces in Your Home

When a colony of bats, flock of birds or a family of squirrels, rats or raccoons take up residence in your Atlanta building, their droppings will accumulate and create a health risk for anyone who enters the area and disturbs the material. Once an animal problem has been discovered in a building, removal and exclusion plans should be made, the extent of contamination to the home should be determined. When an accumulation of animal manure (feces) is discovered in a building, removing the material is NEVER the first step.

The first step of the clean-up process is the actual removal of the animals themselves. Ultrasonic devices, chemical repellents or a few snap traps placed by an inexperienced trapper are ineffective for eliminating wildlife problems. The most effective wildlife removal solution is physically trapping, removing and excluding the animals. This involves following multiple steps to identify and seal active entry and exit points and potential vulnerable areas. Because some animals are so small they can squeeze through a gap as small as a ¼” the exclusion can be a detailed process.

The best way to prevent exposure to animal disease is to avoid situations where material that might be contaminated can become airborne and subsequently inhaled. Inhalation exposure to highly contaminated areas may be all that is needed to cause infection and development of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, rabies, Raccoon Roundworm, plague, histoplasmosis, Eosinophilic Meningitis, Anthrax and other zoonotic diseases. In some cases where bats are roosting in the attic space of a home, the animal feces may contaminate the air handling equipment found in the attic exposing the occupants to potential infection without even entering the attic.

Animal Waste Removal & Clean-up

Urban Wildlife Control uses an industrial vacuum cleaner to bag contaminated material. Our truck-mounted vacuum system can handle buildings with considerable amounts of bird, bat, rodent or mammal excrement or large amounts of contaminated materials. These high-volume systems can remove tons of contaminated material in a short period. Typically, the only part of the system that enters the home is the hose.

Proper disposal of contaminated material removed during animal waste clean-up is a must. Visible and accessible areas of the interior walls where wildlife have roosted or nested must be thoroughly cleaned, and all droppings removed. Removal of droppings from structures should be left to experienced professionals familiar with proper removal procedures to prevent animal waste from becoming airborne.

After all contaminated material has been removed a biocide and disinfectant must be applied to kill any parasites or fungus associated with wildlife. Fleas, lice and mites can infest bats, birds, rats, raccoons, squirrels and other animals. Once the host animals are removed from their nests or roosts, these parasites will begin looking for another warm-blooded host and eventually will end up in the living space, once there they may potentially transmit zoonotic diseases to humans.

Hiring your regular insulation contractor to rectify the problem may not be the best solution. An Insulation contractor typically does not have the insulation removal equipment, like insulation removal vacuums, or the expertise in bio-hazardous waste removal.

Attic Insulation Replacement

If wild animals have been removed from the attic of a building or residence and animal waste clean up has been accomplished, re-insulating of the attic or walls should be the final step. This will leave the attic clean and properly insulated to help control heating and cooling costs. Loose-fill, or blown-in insulation, usually made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose, should be applied to the attic floor. The blown-in material will blanket the building cavities and attic floors. Urban Wildlife Control uses only high quality fiberglass insulation on every job.

Many homes were under-insulated since the time of construction. Homeowners do not spend much time in the attic so little consideration is given to this fact. After wild animals have resided in an attic for any period of time, insulation contamination and damage are common sites. Insulation will become matted with feces and excrement and compressed destroying the thermal barrier, or R value.

During the summer months in Georgia attic temperatures far exceed outside ambient temperatures. During a 90 degree day the attic may reach temperatures of 150 degrees. Because of the extreme temperature difference, properly insulating the attic floor is especially important for thermal comfort inside the home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical Georgia attic should have an R-49 insulation blanket. If your home does not already have R-49 attic insulation, once the removal process is complete Urban Wildlife Control can retrofeit your home to R-49 standards.

The Benefits of a Properly Insulated Attic

Reduce Wear on Heating and Air Conditioning Equipment

A well-insulated home reduces the amount of time this equipment runs, and therefore reduces equipment wear, which increases equipment life. Adding insulation reduces the load on the equipment and allows the equipment to effectively control temperatures when, otherwise, it would fail.

Protect the Environment

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that heating and cooling account for up to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Adding or replacing poor insulation reduces power consumption which reduces greenhouse gasses.

Energy Cost Savings

An under-insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. Adding insulation to a poorly insulated home substantially reduces the home’s energy bills. Depending on the amount of insulation already in the home, many homes have pay-back periods as short as a few years. You will also qualify for certain tax credits.

R-value Defined

R-value is a measure of thermal resistance to heat flow, or how well the insulation slows heat intrusion or escape. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation is to thermal flow. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests attics, in greater Atlanta, Georgia, have an R-value of R-49.