Do you need to replace your insulation? Here are 6 tell-tale signs that it may be time for a change.
When was the last time you’ve replaced the insulation in your home? Maybe you just bought a new house and you aren’t sure if it’s current insulation is doing the job right. Or perhaps you heard from a source that you’re supposed to replace your insulation every few years like you would a mattress or a cellphone. The truth is, the best way to know if your insulation needs replacing is to call a professional for an in-home energy assessment. However, if you’re a little hesitant, there are some tell-tale signs that you may not have even considered.
*NOTE: Before checking your insulation you must wear the proper protection. In order to avoid contact with allergens and skin irritants, not only must you wear a mask over your nose and mouth, you must also wear protective gloves if you plan on touching or handling the material.
6 Signs that Your Insulation Needs Replacing
1. Lingering unpleasant odors.
Does your home (or parts of it) smell significantly unpleasant even after you’ve thoroughly cleaned? More specifically, is the odor a bit moldy? Maybe the source isn’t coming from inhabitable areas.
Unfortunately, unlike spray foam insulation, certain types of insulation are not waterproof. Fiberglass insulation, for example, does absorb water. If your roof experiences a leak, the moisture could compromise your insulation. Extreme humidity and ground moisture such as melted snow can also have the same effect on your basement/crawl space insulation. Wet insulation can grow mold, causing unpleasant odors. More importantly, the mold contaminates the air you and your family breathe.
If you’re smelling something moldy and can’t determine the source, check your insulation to see if it may be time for a replacement. If your insulation is moldy, or, if you are unable to check (i.e. check your crawl spaces) call a professional.
2. Worsening allergy symptoms.
Is anyone in your household experiencing persistent allergy symptoms that don’t seem to get any better when they’re inside the house? You may not need stronger allergy medicine; it may just be your insulation. Referring back to #1, sometimes the mold growing on your insulation can worsen allergy symptoms. Certain types of insulation tend to collect dust as well, which adversely affects the air quality in your home.
If members of your family suffer from terrible allergies in general, it may be a good idea to upgrade your insulation altogether and air-seal your home with spray foam insulation. Air-sealing prevents outside air from entering, while also preventing conditioned air from leaking out. This vastly improves your home’s temperature, maintains ideal air quality, and keeps allergens at bay.
3. Water damage.
Wet flooring and brown or dark-colored splotches on your ceiling are common signs of a leak. Where there is a leak, there could also be mold. As previously mentioned, the presence of mold in your home can be harmful to your family.
Even with the aforementioned risks, insulation is extremely important. Not only can water damage ruin your insulation, ineffective insulation can also indirectly cause water damage. If a water pipe isn’t properly insulated, the freezing temperatures in the winter can cause it to burst, creating a much bigger problem for your home, your family, and possibly your finances. To prevent such a disaster, it’s best to make sure that your home is insulated in all areas that it should be.
4. An unanticipated rise in bills.
It’s only natural for bills to be higher in the winter and the summer, compared to the rest of the year. However, the rise in cost doesn’t have to be extreme. In fact, the rise is preventable, especially with better insulation, such as spray foam, which can also air-seal.
If you notice your summer and/or winter energy bills are dramatically higher than those of previous years, it could be a sign that your insulation is losing its effectiveness. Without replacement, your insulation may eventually become useless altogether, or even worse, more harmful to your health (see #2).
5. Heating and cooling issues.
Inadequate insulation can cause your home to be drafty in some areas and warmer in others. Aside from lowering your overall comfort levels, this means that your home would have to use more energy just to keep itself cool or warm. Hence, a rise in energy bills (see #4).
6. Household pests.
As unpleasant as this sounds, sometimes rodents and insects can feed off, or even nest in old insulation. While fiberglass insulation is popular, effective, and inexpensive, it’s also easy for rodents to tear apart and eat. An insufficiently air-sealed home is easier for these pests to break into and it sadly doesn’t take much effort for them to create even bigger holes in certain types of insulation.
Fortunately, spray foam insulation can prevent these pests from entering altogether. Not only that, spray foam insulation is not edible to insects and animals.
Scheduling a free in-home assessment
You may have determined that your home needs new insulation. Or, you may not be sure. Either way, an in-home energy assessment is a great way to find out what your home needs as far as insulation.
You may be surprised about how much more money you can save in the long run if you replace your insulation. Also, upgrading to spray foam insulation, for instance, can also increase your home’s value.
Contrary to misconception, an in-home energy assessment doesn’t have to cost you anything. In fact, there are professional insulation contractors that offer free quoting; homeowners are by no means obligated to pay for a service.
If you live in the Maryland, Washington, DC, or Virginia area and you’re interested in having an expert assess your home’s energy efficiency, contact the best in the business. Cameron Home Insulation boasts 4 generations of insulation experience and serves multiple areas in the DMV.