Insulation is essential for an energy-efficient home – but how do you know if a) your home has insulation or b) if it does have insulation if you need to upgrade it or replace it? If you have been noticing your home feels a little less comfortable lately – warmer, colder, more drafty than usual – it might be because your insulation needs upgrading or replacing. You may not realize how much conditioned air from inside your home is leaking, and it is not always clear when additional insulation is needed.
What is most important to understand, when it comes to your home, is that outside air should not be leaking inside, and conditioned air inside your home should not escape outside. If this is happening, you are wasting energy and money. Not only that, but your home will also feel uncomfortable, because it will be too cold or too warm.
So, how do you know if your insulation needs upgrading or replacing? Here are some tests you can run at home yourself.
Do You Have Overly Drafty Rooms?
Have you ever sat in a room in your house and found yourself feeling the air moving around? This probably means there are some gaps and holes where air is leaking in, creating that drafty feeling. Spend some time looking for these gaps and holes, which you will normally find near electrical outlets, windows, doors and commonly, the attic.
Are You Uncomfortable Inside Your Home?
Did you know that in a typical home, about 20 to 30 percent of the heating that moves through your home’s ducts is lost thanks to air leaks and poor insulation? Insulation and air sealing will help maintain the temperature of your house by providing a layer of protection that keeps the warm air in, and the cold air out. If you find yourself layering up or stripping down in certain areas of your home, even with the air conditioning on, this is a clear sign you need to install or upgrade your insulation.
Are Your Energy Bills Higher Than Normal?
Higher than normal energy bills are a clear sign you need insulation. If your home is not effectively sealed and insulated, it is all too likely your heating and cooling system will start to work in overdrive, which typically leads to high energy bills. So, an easy way to check if you need insulation is to look at the price of your most recent energy bill and see if it is abnormally high, especially compared to previous bills over the same period.
There is Excessive Dust and Mold Around Your Home
If your home is extra dusty or you have noticed mold growing inside, this could be caused by failing insulation. This is because air sealing and insulation helps to reduce air quality issues by controlling air flow and moisture in your home. If your insulation is failing, this can cause dust, mold, and mildew to accumulate, which is not a safe living situation for you or your family. Regularly checking for mold and excess dust might help you catch a failing insulation issue.
How Old Is Your Home?
Have you ever checked the age of your home? Older homes typically built prior to 1980 either do not have any insulation at all, or they may have insulation that has never been upgraded. Increasing installation or upgrading your insulation, will not only make your home more comfortable to live in, but will also help reduce your energy bills.
Do the Paper Test
The age old paper test is a great way to see if your home needs air sealing. It is a simple trick – all you have to do is slide a piece of paper between exterior door jambs or closed windows. If you find the paper (can be A4 paper) fits easily in any gaps or crevices, you can be sure that air is leaking out and escaping in just as easily.
Speak With a Professional
If you are still unsure whether or not your home needs insulation, get in touch with the professional air sealing and insulation specialists at Windows on Washington. We can help you figure out where you need extra insulation or air sealing, and help ensure your home is in tip-top shape.