Just wanted to post a quick tip in case I could be useful for someone new to inspecting or for someone weak in this particular category.
Even though according to the SOP you don’t have to say much in relation to the attic insulation other than missing insulation or obvious shortage, the more you know and can comment on specific systems/components of a home makes you more valuable as an inspector and gives you more authority with clients/realtors. Especially more valuable in terms of annual maintenance inspections.
You can tell the inadequacy of insulation in a variety of ways. You can also show in your report the inadequacy in various ways (thermal imaging, rusted nails, etc.), but one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to not only get an idea yourself but more importantly, show your client this evidence, is with an infrared thermometer.
Many inspectors use this cost-effective tool to make sure that the HVAC system is functioning properly by measuring the temperature coming out of the vents in the home when running the system.
However, you can also use this tool to take measurements of the temperature of the floors and ceilings in the living space and then in the attic itself to see how the temperature and air is moving through the home.
For example, it is currently winter. That means that homeowners will have their heat on because it is cold outside. Heat rises, so the ceiling should be a few degrees warmer on the ceiling of the living space. Compare that difference to the difference between the ceiling of the living space and the floor of the attic to get an idea of how much heat is being allowed though the insulation.
This, combined with the other things you will pick up along your inspection, can be very effective to not only determine for yourself that the insulation is inadequate but (after taking pictures of the reading on your thermometer) can also be physical evidence to provide a client.
So for all you who may not want to invest in thermal imaging or have the time to learn quite yet. This is a good and cost-effective way to start familiarizing yourself with insulation and heat/energy loss in a home.