Does My Home Need More Insulation?
Insulation is one of the easiest ways homeowners can increase energy efficiency and comfort. Improving home insulation does not usually take a lot of time or invasive construction, and can simply resolve a lot of energy efficiency. Here's how people can decide if they need it, and how they might approach the upgrade.
How Can Homeowners Tell if They Might Need More Insulation?
There are a few ways that people can identify a need for more insulation. The clearest is energy efficiency. If a home's heating or cooling system seems to be constantly turning on and off with no other obvious cause, poor insulation in the home might be the culprit. Inadequate insulation in the attic often manifests itself in colder regions through ice dams. Heat escapes more easily through minimal insulation, which melts ice and snow on a roof and causes it to refreeze. The presence of either of these issues should indicate to homeowners that they should at least have their insulation inspected, to see if they have enough insulation that is installed properly.
Is More Insulation a Wise Investment?
Some home improvements cost a lot of money and do not reap a great deal of benefit for the person paying for it, but thankfully insulation is not one of them. Home insulation is actually one of the best ways that homeowners can make a useful upgrade for their comfort and their home resale value. Adding new attic insulation may cost around $1,000 and increase the home's value by the same amount. People who plan to live in the home for at least a few years will probably quickly notice the greatest advantage in lower energy consumption for the same amount of heating or cooling.
What Types of Insulation Are Available?
Insulation comes in a number of materials and a few different forms. Many people are familiar with the batts or blankets of insulation, that are often made out of fiberglass, mineral wool, or other fibers. Insulation can also be installed in a variety of styles, including:
- batts and blankets
- rigid foam boards
- loose fill
- spray foam
The most appropriate kinds depend on the amount of insulation a home needs, the skill level of the person installing it, and any limitations on access to the space. Some types of insulation are meant to be used only with new construction, and would be difficult to retrofit into an existing home without an extensive renovation of the walls, floors, or attic.
Can Insulation Be Installed Without Replacing Old Insulation?
In most cases, homeowners can arrange to increase the amount of home insulation they have without necessarily having to remove the existing insulation. Hesperus homes with asbestos insulation need a clear and careful plan from a certified removal expert with Asbestos Awareness Training to remove the insulation without disrupting the fibers, which are known to cause long-term health problems. Otherwise, people may be able to add insulation in the type and consistency of their choice right next to the insulation already there, even if they are different materials. Zoning guides identify the recommended amount of insulation existing homes need based on region. As a general rule, homes in areas with a colder climate need more insulation.
The decision to add more home insulation comes from research, an inspection of the existing insulation, and a plan to solve problems in the home. By answering these questions, homeowners will have a better idea of their home insulation needs, and what they can do to improve them.