Insulation serves as a barrier within the walls, ceilings, and floors of a home to protect the inhabitants from the elements. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, insulation helps regulate temperature and noise. Properly insulating your home can boost energy efficiency and increase your home’s comfort levels. In contrast, insufficient insulation can cause higher energy bills as well as cold and drafty rooms during the winter or stuffy and uncomfortable rooms during the summer.
The average home typically has insulation in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Home builders may also install insulation around windows, doors, and in the ceiling near roofs. Common types of insulating materials include fiberglass, rock wool, cellulose, or foam. The actual placement and materials used can depend on the location and age of the home. Regardless of the location or materials used, proper insulation acts as a cushioning thermal envelope to keep the home comfortable throughout the year. Whether your insulation was insufficient to begin with or it has simply worn out over time, a professional energy solutions company can help. A look at the top eight signs that your home needs better insulation can help you make an informed decision when reaching out for professional assistance.
How Does Insulation Work?
According to the Department of Energy, insulation helps regulate three factors: convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection refers to the way heat circulates. It is the reason that warm air rises in buildings and cool dense air sinks to the floor. Conduction refers to how heat travels through materials like walls or flooring. Finally, radiation refers to the direction heat travels and how it absorbs energy along the way.
Overall, insulation helps control how heat enters and leaves the house. It helps the home conserve warmth during cold weather and release excess heat during hot water. Without insulation, convection could cause all the hot air from your furnace to soar up to the cold attic and seep out through the roof. In the summer, conduction could cause hot air to rush through gaps in walls as soon as you turn off the air conditioner. Without insulation, bare floors would feel like ice instead of staying reasonably warm when temperatures drop in the evening.
Finally, insulation is important because it provides important protection from excessive mold growth. Temperature regulation within the household helps keep air from reaching its dew point. In meteorology, the dew point is the temperature at which air becomes saturated with water vapor and condensation forms. If left uncorrected, condensation inside your walls can foster mold. It can also create indoor humidity issues and eventually cause water damage.
Top Indicators That Your Home Needs Better Insulation
Poor insulation is not always noticeable to the average home occupant. Instead, it is helpful to look for signs that you need better insulation. Some of the top indicators include high energy bills, fluctuating temperatures, freezing pipes, and noise pollution.
1. Higher Energy Bills
Insufficient insulation forces HVAC units to work harder to maintain comfortable conditions in the home. Not only can the excess strain wear down the unit faster, but it can also result in higher utility bills. According to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, homeowners can save an estimated 10%-20% in power costs by upgrading insulation and sealing the home. Even if you own high-efficiency appliances, heating or cooling can leak from the gaps through under-insulated walls, ceilings, or floors. Obtaining better insulation is one of the best ways to reduce power consumption and lower utility bills.
2. Uncomfortable Rooms
Lack of insulation can cause uneven comfort levels throughout your rooms. For example, rooms with bad insulation might experience the effects of cold-weather drafts as they blow in from gaps around window frames and doors. Poorly insulated rooms can also feel stuffy and humid during the summer. An energy-solutions professional can inspect rooms with fluctuations in temperature and determine whether you need to upgrade insulation to maximize comfort.
3. Ice Dams or Roof Leaks
If your area experiences a snowstorm, ice dams or icicles can form when the heat rising from a poorly insulated home melts the lowest layer of snow on a roof. Even if it does not snow, ice dams can form when rain puddles on a poorly insulated roof freeze when temperatures drop the next day. Either way, ice damage can lead to roof leaks and water damage. A professional can check the insulation in your attic or ceiling to help eliminate this problem.
4. Pest Problems
Pets tend to nest within the gaps of poor insulation. For example, small rodents such as mice can chew through old insulation and allow even more air to escape from the home. Even worse, these gaps provide an optimal opening for more mice families to return in the future. Cracks in the foundation, home siding, or roof also enable animals like possums or raccoons to take up residence in old insulation. If you suspect the presence of pests, a professional can inspect these areas and correct the problem.
5. Cold Floors or Walls
Cold walls or floors can also mean that you need to replace the insulation in your home. According to experts, your interior walls, floors, and ceilings should feel warm and dry to the touch. If they feel cold and clammy, you probably do not have enough insulation in the walls or crawlspaces to protect your drywall and planning. Insufficient insulation can allow moisture to build up within walls and flooring and eventually threaten the structural integrity of the home, so it is important to allow a professional to inspect the issue as soon as possible.
6. Freezing Pipes
Pipes in unheated areas of the home need insulation to keep them from freezing during the winter. If you allow pipes to freeze, they can eventually rupture or burst. A professional can help you avoid this risk by installing the right insulation in areas like the attic, basement, cabinets, crawlspace, or garage.
7. Shedding or Falling Insulation
While most insulation remains out of sight, very old or thin insulation can begin to shift or fall. This is particularly dangerous in very old buildings due to the risk of asbestos or other contaminants. Never attempt to investigate free-falling insulation yourself. Professionals have the training and equipment necessary to safely remove old insulation and make your home livable again.
8. Noise Pollution
Another main purpose of insulation is to muffle or block out unwanted noises. From barking dogs to passing trains to noisy neighbors, noise invasion can disrupt your quality of life. This is especially true if you have children with consistent sleep schedules or if you need a quiet environment to work from home. Replacing your insulation can help reduce noise transference and make your home comfortable again.
Contact Us Today
Proper insulation helps keep rooms warm during the winter and cool in the summer. Insulation can also help reduce noise pollution from the outside world. If you have noticed symptoms of improper insulation within the home, our experts can help. Blue Sky Energy Solutions offers insulation services for properties in Irving, TX and surrounding areas. Our professionals have decades of experience in both home and commercial insulation services. We use the highest quality materials and have obtained the appropriate permits necessary for complete insulation.
Along with our BBB certification and A rating, we are also a proud GAF factory-certified contractor. GAF is an acronym for General Aniline & Film, the leading manufacturer of roofing and waterproofing materials in the U.S. Our GAF certification means that we have undergone the screening and training necessary to meet the highest professional standards of the industry. In addition to our insulation projects, we also offer roofing inspection, repair, or replacement. If you are considering solar panels to boost the energy efficiency of your home or business, look no further than our company. No matter the energy question, our experts can help. Contact Blue Sky Energy Solutions today for all home efficiency needs.