Home insulation is imperative for efficient heating and cooling. Over time, insulation can wear down. Old age, harsh weather conditions, and critters in your walls can degrade the material, rendering it less effective. If you fail to replace your home’s insulation, you may find that it requires more energy to heat or cool your home. This leads to in an increase in your utility bills, uneven heating and cooling, and a HVAC system that must run around the clock to keep up with demands. Learn more about the life cycle of insulation and when you should decide to replace your home’s old insulation with new.
Life Cycle of Insulation
Insulation lasts much longer than you would think. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, house wrap, spray foam, and wrap tape can last upwards of 80 years or more. Cellulose, foam board, white loose-fill, rock wool, fiberglass, and loose fill can all last more than 100 years. However, these conditions are only for insulation in ideal conditions. If the insulation is placed in an environment that is less-than-ideal, the life expectancy of the material can be significantly shortened.
Certain conditions can greatly affect the quality and effectiveness of your home’s insulation. One of the most common causes of insulation degradation is water damage. Leaks in roofs or the foundation can cause insulation to gradually degrade over time as the water breaks down the material. Moisture from leaks can also cause mold growth, which makes insulation less effective and even harmful. Over time, loose-fill insulation may settle, resulting in air leaks. Cellulose or fiberglass batt insulation also tends to fall from ceilings or crawl spaces just 15 to 20 years after installation. Regular dirt and dust can also impact the effectiveness of your home’s insulation.
The effectiveness of insulation is measured using the material’s R-Value. In short, the higher the R-Value, the more effective the insulation is at preventing the transfer of heated or cooled air. Recommended R-Values differ in locations throughout the United States according to the eight climate zones. Attic insulation R-Value ranges from R30 to R60 for an attic that is not insulated. If you have 3 to 4 inches of existing insulation, you are looking at an R-Value between R25 and R49. An R-Value of R49 is recommended for floor insulation and an R-Value of R5 to R6 is best suited for walls.
Replacing Old Insulation
While insulation has a long lifespan, it does not last forever. If you own an older home, you may find that replacing the insulation saves you a significant chunk of money on your heating and cooling bills. If your home has suffered damage due to leaks, animal infestations, drafts, or similar issues, the insulation may need to be replaced before the average lifespan has been reached. If areas in your home do not have insulation or have inadequate insulation, you are sure to experience the uncomfortable and potentially dangerous consequences that affect indoor temperature and air quality.
There are certain signs to look for when determining whether or not your home’s insulation needs to be replaced. First pay attention to the indoor temperature. If the temperature inside your home is constantly changing, it could mean that the insulation has shifted, allowing cold air or heat into your home. This can negatively impact your HVAC system, forcing it to work harder to heat or cool your home. Inadequate insulation can also negatively impact your energy bills. As your furnace or air conditioner must work harder to heat or cool your home, you may notice an increase in energy costs.
Mice, rats, snakes, squirrels, bats, and even larger critters like raccoons get make their way into your attic or crawl spaces. If left untouched, these critters may reproduce in your home, resulting in an infestation. The larger the critter, the more damage it can cause to your home’s insulation, electrical wiring, and other components found inside your walls and ceilings. These critters also leave behind feces that create a hazardous environment. While you may not notice the presence of critters in your home, that does not mean they are not there. You may need to hire a professional to inspect your home.
If your home has experienced leaks, the insulation has likely been affected. Once insulation becomes moist, there is no salvaging it. In fact, wet insulation should be replaced immediately. Wet insulation will quickly grow mold and thereafter release harmful mycotoxins into the air. The pockets of air naturally found in the material also become plugged with water, making the insulation ineffective. Also look for drafts in and around your home. Air leaks can push insulation around creating gaps that allow heated or cooled air to escape or enter.
Hiring Insulation Contractors
Different areas of your home require different types of insulation at varying R-Values. If your home is lacking insulation or missing insulation in some areas, it is important to remedy the situation to avoid extensive air loss. Start by hiring a professional to perform an energy audit to determine if the insulation is causing high energy bills. Once you determine the need for new insulation, hire professional insulation contractors to replace old or degraded insulation with new, modern materials. New insulation can dramatically reduce your energy costs, decrease the stress on your HVAC unit, and improve comfort and air quality indoors.
At Beyond Exteriors, we offer professional home insulation installation services in homes of all sizes. We work with Johns Manville Formaldehyde-free home insulation, the only certified formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation for residential properties. We will recommend the best type of insulation for each area of your home, along with the ideal R-Value for optimal efficiency. Our insulation contractors will help ensure that your home retains heat in the winter and deters cool air loss in the summer. Are you interested in finding out more about replacing the insulation in your home? Contact Beyond Exteriors today to schedule a free consultation with one of our insulation contractors.