Know the Warning Signs!
Do you need more insulation? Or better insulation? Odds are, if your home was built prior to 1970, it’s a good rule of thumb to re-insulate. However, there are other signs to check for that will let you know if new or more insulation is needed.
1. Trouble in the Attic
If you detect moisture in your attic, or there’s water coming through your ceiling, you’re likely to have insulation problems. Or when you feel colder inside your home during winter months, this also points to inadequate insulation in your attic. The recommended amount of insulation in your attic is usually about six inches. You should consider also adding insulation to the access door to your attic to keep out drafts. While attic issues are very common in older homes, they can be present in newer homes as well. So it’s always a good idea to check the attic!
2. Out of Control Energy Bills
You think you’ve done everything you can to keep your house running efficiently. But your bills continue to rise, which can signal that your insulation is failing you. This, combined with something else you may notice—your air-conditioner and furnace run more often. This summer, is your AC going constantly? If you turn it off, does it suddenly feel like the desert in your house? Cooling and heating systems are necessary to maintain a consistent level of comfort in your home, but they shouldn’t be working overtime. So, if these two indicators—high energy bills and nonstop AC and furnaces—are present, usually your insulation is to blame.
3. Not Such a Winter Wonderland
Remember last winter? Did you have giant icicles hanging from the roof of your house? Contrary to popular belief, these are not pretty. They are signals of something more sinister that can threaten to ruin your roof and gutters. Here’s what happens: Heat rises, so when your attic and roof aren’t insulated well, the attic gets very warm in the winter. If your attic is insulated sufficiently, the heat will escape out through vents, but if your insulation is inadequate, the heat will go to the top of the roof and melt the snow up there. Because the roof edges are cold, the melted snow (water) will drip down toward the edge of the roof and freeze. This is called an ice dam. If you have ice dams, you’ll want to contact insulation professionals to replace your insulation immediately.
4. Hot and Cold Rooms
If your living room is a sauna, and your bedroom feels like the Arctic, this is a major red flag. It happens because not all of your insulation will necessarily fail you at the same time. Some rooms may be perfectly comfortable, while others suddenly are not. Remember, it’s not okay to feel drafts in certain rooms, especially if you believe your house is well insulated. If you feel one drafty room, it’s a good idea to check and see if there are others. Check the walls of interior closets to see if they are cold. You may never have noticed it before. If you’re lucky, only certain rooms will need new or additional insulation, and the rest of your house may be fine. If any of the walls are cold, be sure to let your contractors know. Good contractors will know to use as much insulation as they can fit between outer walls and the drywall.
5. The Condition of Your Current Insulation
This one may be obvious, but if your insulation is crumbly, outdated and wouldn’t meet today’s building codes, you’ll need to replace it. If you know that the insulation is old, don’t take matters into your own hands. Consult with professionals. The reason is simple—sometimes it’s best not to disturb older insulation, as it may contain toxic chemicals like asbestos. In these cases, professionals will apply new insulation over the existing insulation. If it’s safe to remove, let the experts remove it properly to eliminate any danger.
6. Cracks in the Wrong Places
If you spot cracks around your doors and windows, this could be an easy, do-it-yourself fix. If they’re small cracks, apply some caulk to seal them. There’s no complex test for figuring out if you’ve solved the problem. Simply place your hand on the area to see if you feel any drafts. Whatever you do, don’t let these go unchecked. Sometimes a few cracks are all it takes to let enough cool air or heat escape that results in super high energy bills.
7. A Place for Pests and Moisture
Last but not least, if you spot any mice droppings or other indicators that pests have infiltrated your home, this could seriously compromise the integrity of your building structure. Insects and other pests can eat away at what is called “the building envelope.” Another danger is moisture, which can cause some kinds of insulation to collapse when they become damp. This will create gaps that invite air through the building as well.
Superior Insealators is an ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America) Certified Insulation Contractor. We’re available for consultation to discuss your insulation options. Talk with us today!