When to Upgrade Your Attic Insulation and Save Energy Costs in the Process

02/04/2019 | By Pamela Vargas-Touchard |
Attic Insulation Upgrade: Pink thermal insulation

Insulation helps to keep your home warm. It makes your property more energy-efficient so you can save money. When autumn and winter arrive, having the added benefit of a well-insulated home will keep everyone warm. However, even if you have insulation in your home, you might discover that it isn't adequate. Even good insulation only lasts so long, and the necessary insulation might not have been installed in your home in the first place. Updating your insulation can have huge benefits. By replacing older insulation with new materials, you can increase the efficiency of your home or business.

Signs Your Insulation Isn't Adequate

Knowing whether your insulation needs to be upgraded is the first step in the process. There are technical ways of measuring the effectiveness of your insulation, but you might begin by checking for some common signs. If your insulation isn't adequate, you might find that you have high energy bills, but you're not sure why. Check your energy bills over the last few years to see if they've slowly increased.

Another sign of inadequate insulation could be fluctuating temperatures throughout your home. Are there different temperatures in different rooms? This could be a sign of inadequate insulation. You could also find that ceilings, walls or floors are cold to the touch. Drafts in your home could indicate under insulation too.

One surprising sign of bad insulation is mice or other pests in your property. They can get in through small holes and cracks, which also lets cold air into the building. At the same time, warm air escapes. Poor insulation could also let water into your home. And in especially cold temperatures, you might find ice forming on your roof or even pipes freezing.

Measuring Insulation Effectiveness

If you suspect that your insulation isn't providing you the efficiency you need, you can get a better understanding of how it works. The efficiency of insulation is measured in R-values. A higher R-value means that the insulation material is a better insulator. For example, an inch of fiberglass insulation has an R-value of about 3.7, whereas sprayed polyurethane can rate above a 7. Check what type of insulation your home has, and where it is insulated, and you can get a good idea of the efficiency of your insulation. There are different recommendations for different parts of your property, and they can vary by region too.

Working Out Insulation Needs

If you're unsure about whether your insulation is adequate, you can work it out. New homes should have good insulation, but many older homes might not be up to scratch. If you want to measure how effective your current insulation is, it's fairly easy. The easiest place to do it is in an unfinished attic, where you simply need to stick a ruler into the insulation to measure the depth. To check walls, first turn off the electricity and measure the depth by unscrewing an electrical outlet cover and inserting a hanger into the open space. Multiply the depth in inches by the R-value of the type of insulation, and compare it to the value you would like.

How Improving Your Insulation Will Help

Updating your insulation can help you to deal with a range of problems in your home or business. When your property has adequate insulation, the heat won't escape and cold air will find it more difficult to get in. You could make some huge savings on your energy bills when the building is properly insulated. You can turn down your thermostat, and you might notice a reduction in drafts and cold spots. Your home should be warmer and more evenly heated with the right insulation.

Additional Energy-saving Tips

In addition to improving your insulation, there are various other things that you can do to reduce energy costs in your home. Ensuring a good seal around windows and door frames will help you to reduce drafts and air leaks. Replacing deteriorating caulk will help with this, and prevent moisture from damaging your home too. It's also a good idea to look for any small holes or gaps in floors and walls, as well as under doors. These can be filled in or covered up in various ways to prevent drafts. If your home has a chimney, it also makes sense to stop drafts coming down it.

Of course, once your home is more energy-efficient, you can turn down your heating. Take control of your thermostat with a smart thermostat. It can learn your ideal temperature for different times of the day, and you can control it from your phone.

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