a different type of cash in the attic

You may have heard of the HGTV television show “Cash in the Attic”. This show helps people find and sell the hidden treasures in their home. The popularity of this show is rooted in the excitement and surprise one feels when they stumble upon some extra money. But you don’t have to have an undiscovered antique heirloom in your attic in order to unearth some surprise cash.
Many people find themselves heading up to their attic in the fall and winter months to retrieve holiday decorations or other items they’ve stored away. While you’re up there, a simple (and safe) inspection of a few little things can help increase energy efficiency and save you money each month on your heating bills.
If you’re going up to your attic for any reason, it’s important to dress appropriately. Wear comfortable but protective clothing - a hat, long sleeves, long pants, sturdy shoes and work gloves are a must. Bring a flashlight so you can see what’s around you and what you may need to avoid. Carefully maneuver up and around your attic. Many attics have steep stairwells so it’s important to move with caution. You want to avoid stepping on the ceiling of the space below or you may fall through.
Once you’ve made it to the attic, walk through the following checklist:
?Animals - This is the first thing to look for in an attic. Mice, squirrels, bats, birds and insects all would love to take refuge in your attic for the winter. These critters are more than just a nuisance - they can chew through wires & ruin your insulation. If you find any animals, contact a pest control contractor immediately.
?Leaks - Look around for any stained or discolored wood on the underside of the room or soggy insulation below. If you find any water, you may have a roof leak. Taking care of this before the snow hits or any further damage is done could result in big bucks saved over the course of the winter & beyond.
?Airflow - Check for adequate ventilation. The temperature in the attic should be close to the temperature outside. If your attic is not properly ventilated, excess heat builds up in the summer which causes your air conditioner to work harder. Not only is this a problem in terms of your cooling bill in the summer, but when winter rolls around this can lead to the formation of frost and ice dams in the winter. An attic fan can help lower excessive attic temperatures.
?Insulation - This is the big one. Check the amount and condition of your existing ventilation. A poorly insulated attic can allow heat and air conditioning to escape from rooms below, wasting energy. One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic. If you have insulation in your attic, measure its thickness. If you have less than 11 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or less than 8 inches of cellulose, you could probably benefit by adding more.
?Wiring - Frayed or exposed wires can post a major fire hazard. If you find wiring that you think could be problematic, contact a professional electrician immediately. While this might not be an immediate money saving tip, think of the benefits of avoiding a potential fire!
?Pipes - Some homes have plumbing that runs through the attic. Look for signs of leaks or corrosion and insulate any exposed pipes to prevent freezing and bursting in cold temperatures.
Remember, sometimes the best way to save money is through increase efficiency and disaster prevention. While you’re up in the attic getting extra blankets or holiday decorations, take a couple of extra minutes to check for things that can make your home safer and more efficient.