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A Homeowner’s Guide to Insulation

insulation

As the fall season begins to arrive, you look forward to cooler temperatures, hay rides, corn mazes, and all things pumpkin. Or, perhaps you just enjoy seeing the colors change throughout the season. No matter what you enjoy most about autumn, one thing remains certain: you expect your home to keep you warm and cozy as the weather cools down outside.

But perhaps you noticed that your home feels a little drafty. Or perhaps some rooms seem chillier than normal even if you have your heater turned on. While there are many causes of a drafty, cold home interior, the culprit is most likely your insulation.

Below, we’ve provided a guide that you can use to determine if your insulation needs replacing. We’ll also tell you how you can benefit from this upgrade and what kinds of insulation may work best for you.

When Should You Replace the Insulation in Your Home?

As the term “insulation” suggests, this material insulates your home-or, in other words, it protects your home from unwanted heat loss in the cooler months and heat gain during warmer seasons. Insulation also prevents you from hearing annoying outdoor noises.

Sometimes, though, your insulation lets air flow in and out of your home. You may even hear unwanted sounds more easily. To determine if your insulation needs replacing, use the following tips.

Check for Temperature Changes

When you walk into a room, it should be the same temperature as the rest of your home. Feel along the walls of each room and check for areas that feel warmer or cooler than the rest of the space. Likewise, if you feel air flowing through parts of a wall, you should replace the insulation.

Look at Your Utility Bills

Because malfunctioning insulation lets air flow freely in and out of your home, your HVAC system will have to work harder to keep your home warm or cool, depending on the season. And the harder your heater or air conditioner have to work, the more energy they use-and the higher your utility bills will be.

Determine Your Insulation’s Age

Like many other construction materials, insulation has a specific lifespan. Eventually, it will be too old to work effectively. If possible, find out exactly when your insulation was installed. Typically, insulation can last up to 100 years. However, you should also look for signs of aging, like crumbling, to determine if the material is too old.

Inspect for Damage

Even if your insulation hasn’t reached the end of its lifespan, it can sustain damage that prevents it from working properly. For example, insects and rodents can get into your house, and they’ll make a home in your insulation to stay warm during the cold season. Look for damage like burrowing and shredded or missing insulation.

If you aren’t sure if your insulation should be replaced or not, have a contractor inspect the material and give you a professional opinion.

What Are the Benefits of Replacing or Updating Insulation?

Once you do update your home’s insulation, you can reap many benefits. With new insulation, your home is protected from heat loss and airflow. As a result, your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard, and you’ll save money on your monthly utility bills. You’ll feel more comfortable in your home, too, since the new insulation helps you maintain your home’s interior temperature.

New insulation also locks your home, making it water-tight. So, you’re less likely to see moisture buildup or exchange in your attic, basement, or other insulated areas.

What Kinds of Insulation Can You Install in Your Home?

When you decide to replace your home’s insulation, you may be surprised by the plethora of options to choose from.

Batts and Blankets

This material is the most commonly used type of insulation. This insulation comes in rolls that a contractor can easily install. Batts and Blankets insulation comes in two different kinds: rockwool and fiberglass.

Rockwool is incredibly fire-resistant and doesn’t require stapling to remain in a space. However, rockwool insulation does retain moisture, so it has to stay completely dry to prevent mold growth.

Fiberglass, on the other hand, is easy to find and easily fits into different spaces. It does require stapling once it’s been laid down. The material does feel itchy, and if it gets too compressed, it can lose its effectiveness.

Spray Foam

This form of insulation is a little more expensive, but it has a higher R-value-or a higher resistance to heat flow. When a contractor uses this material to insulate your home, he or she sprays a liquid that expands to fill a space perfectly. Your contractor won’t have to cut the material in awkward shapes, and it will still work well.

However, spray foam does require a moisture barrier to prevent water vapor from entering your home.

Loose-Fill Insulation

This insulation comes in cellulose and fiberglass materials, and each has its benefits. Loose-fill cellulose insulation is perfect for protecting your home no matter the temperature. And, its performance increases as the temperature drops.

Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is fluffy and lightweight. It’s perfect for tight spaces. But its fluffy characteristic makes it harder to install in loose spaces, and it won’t work as well if used in this application-unless it’s covered with blanket insulation as well.

 

If you need to replace the insulation in your home, turn to an insulation professional. He or she has the skill and knowledge to correctly install the material and ensure that your home is safeguarded from airflow and heat loss.