When Is It Time to Replace Attic Insulation - And What Are the Options?
There are many reasons why attic insulation is a great idea. Firstly, it makes heating and cooling the home much more energy-efficient. It is estimated that keeping the home at a comfortable temperature makes up around 60% of a home's energy costs - and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) air sealing and insulating an attic space, the homeowner can save around 30% on the household heating and cooling bills. It may not be obvious to many, but a properly air-sealed and insulated attic also contributes directly to the air quality in the home. Many studies show that pollutants can enter the home through the attic space proper sealing and insulation can have a positive influence on air quality.
Well-maintained insulation also prevents moisture from entering the home. If the insulation is damaged or missing entirely water damage can affect the structural integrity of the home. In areas where winter snowfall is common, failure of the attic insulation will allow heat rising from the home to melt snow on the roof. This can lead to roof damage - which can be extremely costly to rectify.
There are a number of factors that can have negative effects on the attic insulation and mean that experts should be called in to assess its condition - and where necessary replace that insulation.
The first of these is the presence of mold on the insulation which will affect its performance - and can lead to severe respiratory problems for the occupants of the home. Water damage often goes together with the uncontrolled growth of mold. Severe weather is another common cause of damage to attic insulation. If the home has been in the path of a storm experts should be called in to assess any potential damage to the insulation. Older homes should also be inspected. Both 'Batt Insulation' and 'Loose Fill Insulation' can fail over extended periods of time. The former after a decade and the latter when it begins to settle over time.
The homeowner and other occupants need to be aware of the signs that the attic insulation may be due for replacement. One of the first of these signs is an increased energy bill, but there are many others, such as wildly fluctuating temperatures in the home.
Drafts affecting various rooms in the home can be a sign that the attic insulation has been severely degraded. Constant leaks from the attic space or general problems with high moisture in the home can be a sign that the attic insulation needs replacement. Damage can also be caused by animals (including rodents) entering the attic space.
If the attic insulation has degraded or if there is a rodent infestation, then the homeowner needs to call in the professionals. Not only does this degradation lead to increased bills, but it can lead to health issues - especially when one or more of those in the home suffers from allergies or conditions such as asthma. A rodent infestation can also have both short and long-term effects on the health of the home's occupants.
There are several options when it comes to replacing the insulation in the home. A professional insulation company will be able to offer advice on which type of insulation best suits the home's unique needs.
One of the most popular is Polyurethane spray insulation. It is extremely durable and can last decades. It is also extremely effective. It also does not hold moisture and resists mold growth. Fiberglass insulation is another popular choice as it is extremely cost-effective. However, it usually requires replacement after 10 - 25 years. If the home has had fiberglass insulation fitted over a decade ago it is definitely time to call in the experts to assess its condition. For those who want an eco-friendly insulation option cellulose is a great choice. It is primarily made from recycled natural material - and will start to degrade after about 15 years. Failure of this type of insulation can be expected after 20 - 30 years. It is often used to increase the effectiveness of other insulation materials. Mineral wool is another insulating material that can increase the effectiveness of other materials.
If you own an older home or are experiencing any of the signs that your insulation may be failing, reach out to a qualified and professional insulation company. A reputable company will provide an inspection and free quote. Insulation problems can have long-lasting effects so don't delay - act today.