You may never have given a thought to your home’s insulation, but it’s key to a comfortable, healthy home. Insulation helps your home retain heat during the winter months and keep out the sun’s heat in the summer, and it can also keep out noise and prevent the growth of mold. Ensuring that your home has adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy and lower your heating and cooling bills. Unless your home was built recently, it’s worth taking a look at your insulation. Once you fix any problems, the new materials will typically continue to do their job well for decades.
There are many types of insulation available to help you achieve different goals in the various areas of your home. Materials include spun-fiberglass (“the pink stuff”), rigid fiberglass, spray foam, cellulose, board-stock, extruded polystyrene, and blown-in (please see our web page about blown-in insulation under our “Energy Savings” tab). In addition to insulation, other components like air barriers, vapor/moisture barriers, and weather stripping may contribute to more comfortable indoor temps year-round.
Insulation is rated based on its degree of resistance to the movement of heat. This is typically referred to as an R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. Improper installation can lower the R-value of the insulation you’re using, so you want to hire a company like James Taylor Construction (JTC) with many years of experience in this area.
You should know that insulation can degrade over time. If your home is 20+ years old, your insulation may contain wool and cotton. These materials don’t have the longevity of modern materials like fiberglass, and if not replaced, you may see a significant increase in your utility bills. How do you know if your home is currently poorly insulated? Warning signs include the following:
- Mold in the basement or elsewhere.
- Cold floors and walls in winter.
- Difficulty cooling your home in summer.
- Large variations in the temperature of one room of your house compared to another.
Your unfinished attic is often the most cost-effective area of your home in which to add insulation. Attic floor insulation is the primary barrier preventing heat from escaping your home in the winter. In many cases, old insulation does not even need to be removed; we might recommend that you just put another layer over existing insulation. The energy savings will continue to add up for decades.
If you take a look at the exposed insulation in your attic and notice visible floor joints, this is a sign that you may need to add insulation. If you put on gloves and feel the insulation and it starts to crumble, it’s probably time to replace it with new, sturdier materials that will last for many years. You may find water damage in your insulation if your roof or walls have leaks. It’s unusual to need to remove and replace all of a home’s insulation, but sections of moldy insulation may be a health hazard and usually need to be taken care.
Let JTC make sure that your home is properly insulated and is both well-sealed and well-ventilated. The experts at JTC can assess your home’s current insulation and make suggestions regarding the most cost-effective way to make your home as comfortable and energy efficient as possible. We know that proper insulation is one of the most important lines of defense for keeping cold and warm air from escaping your home.