Most of the time, adding insulation to your home is needed because in most cases, houses are not built specifically for energy saving purposes. New houses have higher chances of having better insulation, but you can still decrease your energy bill by investing in some upgrades.
Your home is the place where you spend most of your life and a big part of your income goes into it, so it needs to be comfortable. You will first need to establish if insulation is needed or not.
A qualified home energy auditor can help you find out if your home is insulated and where insulation is located. Thanks to an energy assessment, you can determine the costs of the required changes, and where the house needs air sealing so that some foam can be injected.
The prices of the improvement will, of course, vary according to the size that needs insulation. During an energy assessment, there will be some important factors to talk about such as the type and thickness of the existing insulation.
Assessing your insulation
Some of your house’s structure is generally exposed to adjacent areas, so it makes it easy to see what the type and thickness of the insulation are. It’s pretty clear that your house needs insulation if the walls feel cold to touch or if you can feel cold air coming through electrical outlets. You can also check your walls with a flashlight lighting the gap around an electrical outlet.
If you can, you should remove a piece of insulation, so you see what type it is.
If there were improvements done to your house before buying it, then you should check all of the walls to see if there’s any insulation isn’t missing.
Check the online document called the U.S. Department of Energy’s Online Insulation Fact Sheet for improvement suggestions based on insulation and energy costs for your local area.
If you’re planning to add new siding to your house, or finish an unfinished space, then that’s the right time to add insulation to your home. Otherwise, it will be a quite complicated task.
Air sealing is what protects your home from humidity, heat, and cold. That is important because you’re basically wasting money on bills while a properly air-sealed house keeps a constant temperature and humidity level. There are several information sources online that that can guide you step by step on how to stop air leaks. Additionally, there are some products such as Flex Seal which promise to flow into cracks and prevent leakage.
Can insulation cause humidity?
When humid air comes in contact with the cold surfaces of the house, condensation will happen. You will not be able to see condensation on your walls right away, but within a short amount of time, mold will start to build on walls and ceilings. In this case, insulation is both a problem and a solution.
When ventilation is missing, damp air will constantly cause humidity so after you’re done insulating your home, a ventilation system improvement will be the key to keeping your home dry. Another helpful tip to avoid damp air is to install extractor hoods over cooking areas and extractor fans in baths.
What is expanding foam?
It can be made of either open-cell or closed-cell polyurethane or special cement, and it’s used to insulate buildings and stop air drafts. Some types of expanding foams are pest resistant.
When it’s being applied to a surface, it expands to the point where it fills gaps then it stiffens in place. Even if it’s the most expensive way of insulating, it’s the best way to stop air leaks. The foam is low-density, and it expands by almost 100 times in volume.
Unlike polyurethane foam, cement-based foam hardens in a few days and starts having a firm consistency, and it needs mesh across the studs to contain it.
What are Batts?
Also called ‘Batt and Roll’ or ‘Blanket’ insulation, this type is made out of pre-cut fiberglass pieces and it’s the cheapest way to insulate. Some Batts can be made of cotton or real sheep’s wool.
This type of insulation is often installed poorly, and even small gaps can reduce efficiency by as much as 25 percent. It can be found sometimes with vinyl or foil-kraft facing to act as a vapor barrier. Fiberglass batts are the least effective insulations but the most commonly used due to the price.