Updated August 2023
When you are thinking about insulation for your home, not all products are created equal. But one thing is for sure – health and safety should be top of mind when considering replacement of your home’s insulation.
Insulation prevents heat transfer into the house during summer and out of the house in the winter. However, with years of use, the insulation material begins to wear out and lose its effectiveness. Deteriorating insulation causes some uncomfortable and dangerous consequences since it affects indoor air quality and temperature regulation. You should inspect the insulation often to ensure that it’s in good condition. Here are signs that you need to upgrade your insulation.
1. You Have Old Insulation
If you live in an older home, have a professional inspect the condition of the insulation. The older the house, the higher the likelihood that it has compromised insulation that requires replacement. If the insulation seems stained or some parts are falling out from the outer walls, consider a replacement. Keep in mind that old insulation isn’t as effective as modern material, so upgrade to modern insulation, which is relatively more energy efficient and durable.
Insulation material can last between 20 and 80 years, depending on the type. Fiberglass insulation can serve you for about 80 to 100 years unless damaged. However, when installed on batts, it can begin to fail within 15 to 20 years.
On the other hand, cellulose insulation will last between 20 and 30 years. Since it contains some biodegradable materials, the insulation can start wearing out after 15 years. The mineral wool insulation will also serve you for a few decades. Despite the type of insulation, some factors like severe weather or fire can shorten the material’s lifespan. You should, therefore, have it inspected, replaced, or retro-filled after every 15 to 20 years.
2. Once You Notice an Increase in Energy Bills
One of the most distinctive signs that you need to replace your insulation is an unexpected rise in energy bills. Though heating and cooling costs are usually higher during summer and winter than the rest of the year, they shouldn’t rise excessively. Compare your current energy costs with the previous years, and if you notice a dramatic increase, the insulation isn’t doing enough to keep the heat inside.
There might be an air leak somewhere in your insulation that allows the conditioned air to seep out. As a result, you will need to run your HVAC system for a prolonged period to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. The harder the unit works, the more energy consumption. If you are struggling with high utility bills, have a professional conduct an audit in your house to examine the insulation and spot other areas vulnerable to energy leaks.
3. If You Start Feeling Drafts in Your House
Once the insulation begins to deteriorate, it doesn’t offer enough blockage between the outside and indoor air, so cold drafts can infiltrate your house. You will start to notice that some rooms appear somewhat chillier than others, even after closing all the windows and doors. In such a case, you need to check the attic for insulation damage and if it’s wearing away, consider a replacement. High-quality, well-fitted insulation will restore your house’s comfort level throughout the year.
4. If You Have Problems With Pests
The cozy nature of the insulation creates the perfect conditions for pests such as rodents to nest. If you see pest droppings around your insulation or hear an unusual commotion up in your house, these are signs of infestation. These creatures can quickly destroy your insulation by tearing it apart. Critters also leave behind their urine and feces, and such contaminants can lower indoor air quality. Call a professional to eliminate bugs and replace the damaged insulation to make your house more energy efficient.
5. In Case of Fluctuating Indoor Temperatures
Inconsistent temperatures in different rooms throughout your house signifies failing insulation. Remember that the insulation material doesn’t have to wear off evenly in all spaces. So if the living room maintains perfect temperatures, but your bedroom or other rooms appear unbearably cold at night, there is likely an insulation problem in that particular space. When improperly installed, the insulation in the attic may also shift, allowing cold air and heat into the house. You can resolve this by resetting the insulation, but replacing it with new material will help maintain more stable temperatures throughout the house.
6. If the Insulation Becomes Moist and Damp
In case of roof leaks, floods in the basement, or lack of vapor barriers, the insulation can absorb moisture. Unfortunately, there is no proven way of correcting moisture damage in the insulation material. There are tiny pockets that trap air to maintain desirable temperatures, and once they get wet, the insulation won’t work. Wet insulation material will deteriorate and break apart much faster. Keep in mind that moisture attracts mold, mildew, and bacteria, leading to various health issues.
One sign of water damage is unpleasant odors. You will notice a musty smell, even after thoroughly cleaning your house. If the insulation looks saggy, it’s holding moisture, and you need to replace it immediately. The wall insulation may also get damp when cold air meets warm air within the wall cavity, resulting in condensation. Call a professional to remove the damaged insulation, find and fix the source of a water leak, and install new insulation material. If you live in a very wet region, it’s good to consider an insulation material that doesn’t retain water, such as open-cell foam insulation.
7. If You Notice Worsening Allergy Symptoms
If anyone in your house shows allergy symptoms that don’t seem to get better, you may want to check the insulation. Once mold grows in the insulation, the spores can trigger asthmatic attacks and allergic reactions. Some insulation types also collect dust, which further lowers the indoor air quality. In particular, avoid roof insulation batts if you live with a family member with compromised immunity. On the other hand, the foil-baked insulation also attracts dust and grime, affecting the insulation material’s capacity to reflect heat away from your house.
Upgrade Your Insulation Today
Insulation is a vital part of the heating and cooling system in your home, but it’s also one of the most neglected. Note that old and inefficient insulation can cause comfort issues in your house and compromise the health of your loved ones. But high-quality and professionally installed insulation will keep your home comfortable throughout the seasons and save you money in the long run. Removing the old insulation is not an easy task. Some harmful particles like dust, asbestos, and mold may get into your indoor air when done incorrectly. You should, therefore, leave this task to a qualified technician. A professional will safely remove the worn-out insulation in a way that protects your family members from inhaling such harmful particles. The technician will also prepare the attic adequately for proper installation of the new insulation material so that you will enjoy maximum benefits for years to come.
If you are experiencing any of the above signs of poor insulation, reach out to Huft Home Services for an upgrade. We deal with insulation, heating system and AC installation, tune-ups, and repair services. You can also depend on us for plumbing and electrical services. We serve Sacramento, CA, and the nearby areas. Get in touch with us now and book an appointment.