Moving into a new home is an exciting time. However, it’s also an anxiety-inducing time for some homeowners as they evaluate what needs to be done to ensure an energy-efficient, comfortable home for their families. We’ve put together a guide here to help you evaluate your home’s insulation and whether you need to hire an insulation service provider.
If you find that your new home is costing you more than you think it should in monthly utility bills, you should evaluate your home’s insulation. Proper insulation can help reduce energy costs by as much as 50 percent in some homes. Here are a few things to check in your new home to decipher whether it’s time for new or improved insulation.
In a properly insulated home, each room should be at the same temperature as the rest of the house. If you find that some rooms seem warmer or colder than others, it’s time to evaluate your insulation. Additionally, if you feel any air flowing through the walls, it’s likely time to replace the insulation.
Take time to inspect the home for any drafts. Pay attention to areas close to windows and doors. In particularly drafty rooms, you should inspect the attic and wall insulation. It may be time to replace the insulation in those areas.
If your new home’s energy costs are higher than expected, you should analyze your utility bills. If your HVAC system is working extra hard on hot or cold days, it could be your insulation. For homeowners who want a deeper understanding of your home’s energy use, you can invest in a home energy monitor system. Most home energy monitor systems need professional installation by a licensed electrician, but they provide valuable insight for homeowners. Many home energy monitor systems pair with smartphone apps and can detect changes in energy use to the point you can tell when one of your kids gets home from school!
Insulation, just like any other homebuilding material, has a lifespan. If your new home was built more than twenty years ago, it might be time to replace the insulation with a newer, more efficient type of insulation.
Make sure to find and seal any air leaks in the home, particularly around doors and windows. Ensure that any weathering strips are in good condition. Any worn or torn weatherstripping should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent heat loss.
If you’ve determined it’s time for new insulation, the decisions don’t stop there. There are multiple different types of insulation. We’ve put together this little summary guide to introduce you to different insulation types and both their advantages and their disadvantages.
There are multiple different types of insulation, including:
Batts and blankets are some of the most common types of insulation because they are manufactured to fit between standard studs and joists. This type of insulation is most commonly made from fiberglass or rock wool.
Loose-fill insulation is blown into homes using pneumatic equipment. It is typically made from fiberglass or cellulose.
Spray foam insulation is made from polyurethane. When the foam is sprayed into a home, it expands to fill every crevice. This process creates a tight seal.
The R-value of insulation refers to its thermal resistance. The higher the insulation’s R-value, the better it is at keeping the home insulated. For homeowners here in Longview, WA, you’ll need insulation that is suited for Zone 4 of the United States. You need to look for insulation with an R-value of at least 25 for floor and crawlspace insulation, 38 for the attic, and 19 for the walls.
If you’re deciding between replacing your home’s insulation and adding more insulation to the existing layers, use this guide:
You should replace your insulation completely if you notice any of the following issues:
You may be able to add insulation to your home’s existing layers. Here are a few indications that it’s safe to do so instead of replacing the insulation:
If you think your home needs new insulation or more insulation, call Northwest Weatherization today. We have performed over 5,000 insulation services throughout the Portland metro area. Since 2010, Northwest Weatherization, a small, family-owned business, has established itself as a leader in the weatherization industry here in Portland. Call today for a free estimate!