With 60 million households in the U.S. currently under-insulated, it is clear that there are misconceptions or misunderstandings about how to insulate your home properly. Insulation is an essential part of your home's system to keep you comfortable and your energy bills low year-round. Every homeowner should understand how to best insulate their home.
Here are five common misconceptions about home insulation that you should know:
1. Insulation Doesn't Need to be Replaced
Most types of insulation will remain effective for 20 to 30 years. But in that time, blown-in insulation can settle, and batt insulation can degrade with dirt and dust, making it less effective so it will need to be replaced. Additionally, in the Baltimore area, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends R-value of R-49 attic insulation while building codes only require an R-38. So, even if you have a newer home, your insulation could be inefficient, and upgrading or replacing it is a good idea.
In other cases, replacing your insulation is necessary. If an adverse event like water damage in your roof, mold growth in the attic, or pest infestations have occurred, you should replace insulation right away. Once insulation is compromised, even if it is just a bit damp, it loses its effectiveness. And you'll see that loss with uneven temperatures throughout your house, as well as high energy bills.
2. You Can't Over-Insulate
More insulation is better, right? Well, not really. For example, some cheaper windows will tout foam insulation as a benefit. However, what actually helps a window insulate are the intricacies in the frame that create pockets of air that act as better insulators than solid foam. Don't be fooled by a product that adds unnecessary and ineffective insulation materials.
Additionally, if your roof is over insulated, then the air will be too tightly sealed inside your home. This trapped air can cause all kinds of problems around your house, such as mold, moisture, and decreased air quality. Your insulation contractor should make specific calculations to your unique home so that you have the right amount of insulation and ventilation.
3. Insulation is Only Important in the Winter
If your home is adequately insulated, it is working year-round to regulate the temperature inside your home. During the warmer months, your insulation stops heat passing through your roof and helps keep the cooler air within your home, letting your HVAC system run efficiently. So, there is no reason to wait until fall or winter to upgrade your insulation. If you think it may not be working correctly at any time of the year, call an insulation professional to take a look.
4. Insulation and Ventilation Oppose Each Other
This couldn't be further from the truth. Your insulation and ventilation work together to regulate the temperature in your home. For example, if insulation is installed incorrectly and covers up vents in the attic, hot air will be trapped, and you'll see a rise in energy bills as your HVAC system works overtime. Additionally, ventilation allows moisture in the air to leave your home. If your house is not properly ventilated, moisture will be trapped and condensate in your insulation, leading to mold growth and insulation that doesn't work correctly.
5. Upgrading Insulation Isn't Worth the Cost
New insulation will make your home more energy-efficient, taking the strain off of your HVAC system, and as a result, lowering your energy bills. But admittedly, this change could be nominal. However, attic insulation can pay for itself in home value. According to Remodeling Magazine's cost vs. value analysis, the last time they measured attic insulation value, it returned 107% in home value. Meaning, attic insulation is one of the few home projects that yields a higher value than its cost, essentially paying for itself.
Consider the last time your insulation was inspected or updated. If your attic insulation is more than 20 years old, or you aren't sure, give the insulation pros at Brothers a call. Our experts will make calculations based on your home's specific measurements, and our teams of skilled tradespeople can install blown-in insulation in as little as a day. Schedule a consultation to get started now!