5 signs your home in­su­la­tion is not work­ing

The Drumheller Mail - - SPRING HOME & GARDEN -

Some in­su­la­tions can lose per­for­mance over time, sus­tain dam­age or sim­ply no longer meet up­dated build­ing codes. It’s an is­sue that can be costly, be­cause if your home’s in­su­la­tion isn’t do­ing its job, you could be wast­ing money and re­sources.

You don’t have to be a trained pro­fes­sional to know you have a prob­lem. Here are sev­eral signs that your in­su­la­tion is lack­ing: 1. En­ergy bills — High en­ergy bills are the big­gest red flag, es­pe­cially rel­a­tive to the size, age or con­di­tion of the home. If you have a run-away en­ergy bill, your in­su­la­tion may need to be up­graded. This can be the case, even in a newer home. 2. Drafts — Do you need to put on a sweater even with the heat on, or does your air con­di­tioner run in­ces­santly with­out mak­ing enough of a dif­fer­ence? That’s a sign of a de­fi­ciency in your build­ing en­ve­lope. 3. In­con­sis­tent tem­per­a­tures — Is it warm in one room, but cold in an­other? Are your walls or in­te­rior clos­ets cold to the touch? It’s pos­si­ble that while your whole home may not need at­ten­tion, cer­tain rooms may need to be ad­dressed. 4. Con­di­tion of in­su­lat­ing ma- teri­als — Con­sider the age of your in­su­la­tion. Would it stand up to to­day’s build­ing codes? Is it in good shape or is it crumbly? If your in­su­la­tion has de­graded or isn’t per­form­ing, it’s time for an up­grade. But be care­ful, as cer­tain types of older in­su­la­tion, such as Ver­mi­culite in­su­la­tion, may con­tain as­bestos. If you’re un­sure, do not dis­turb it and hire a pro­fes­sional to con­duct test­ing and/or re­moval. This should not be a do-it-your­self job. 5. You de­tect pests and/or mois­ture — In­su­la­tion — and your build­ing en­ve­lope — can be com­pro­mised by the pres­ence of pests. Mois­ture is an even big­ger ob­sta­cle to op­ti­mal ther­mal per­for­mance, as some types of in­su­la­tion can sag or col­lapse when damp, leav­ing voids and caus­ing air to flow in and out of the build­ing en­ve­lope.

While some so­lu­tions may be more com­pli­cated, re­quir­ing the open­ing of the ex­ist­ing wall cav­i­ties, oth­ers can be ad­dressed more eas­ily. The best way to im­prove ther­mal per­for­mance and in­crease en­ergy ef­fi­ciency is to up­grade at­tic in­su­la­tion. Lay­ing Com­fort­batt in­su­la­tion over ex­ist­ing ma­te­rial to achieve a min­i­mum depth of 16 inches, or an R-value of R50, is a sim­ple DIY project that can gen­er­ate im­me­di­ate re­sults. To fully as­sess your home and ex­plore re­me­di­a­tion so­lu­tions, con­sider hir­ing a pro­fes­sional home en­ergy au­di­tor to eval­u­ate your home’s en­ergy per­for­mance. Even in a new home, the re­sults may be sur­pris­ing.

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