If your home isn't as well insulated as it should be, you could be wasting money and energy. If your home isn't staying as cool as it should this summer, or you're paying more for the cool air, you may need to add some fresh insulation to your home. If you can't remember the last time you updated your insulation, now might be a good time to take care of that. Here are three simple steps you can take to identify insulation problems you might have in your home.
Start at the Bottom
When checking the insulation in your home, it's a good idea to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. If you have a crawl space, that's the best place to start. Your crawl space is exposed to the elements all year long. Because of that exposure, you may be losing valuable energy every day. Crawl under the house and take a look at the subfloor. You should be seeing a full layer of batt insulation. If you can see through to the wood subfloor, you should add a new layer of batt insulation.
The benefit of using batt insulation in the crawlspace is that the sheets can be placed directly between the beams. It's also a good idea to look around the water pipes and ductwork. If you can see spaces between the pipes and ductwork, use spray foam insulation to seal those spaces. Spray foam insulation will expand and form an airtight seal around your ducts and pipes.
Move to the Walls
Once you've inspected the crawlspace, you should move inside the house to the walls. The simplest way to test the insulation inside the walls is to try the touch test. Place your hand on an interior wall that faces the exterior of your home. Bedroom walls work well for this, since they usually are on the outer portion of your home. If the insulation is working properly, your walls should be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
If they are, that means the insulation is protecting your home against the outside temperatures. If they aren't, you'll need to update the insulation in your walls. The best way to do that is with loose-fill cellulose insulation. This type of insulation can be blown into your home through small holes that are placed in the walls.
Finish in the Attic
Finally, finish your insulation inspection by getting up in the attic. This is where your home will lose the most energy if it's not properly insulated. The first thing you should do is press down on the insulation with your hand. If you have adequate insulation, your hand shouldn't sink to the bottom. If it does, you should add a new layer of insulation. For the attic, you can use either batt or loose-fill insulation.
You want your home to be as energy efficient as possible. To make sure you're not wasting money and energy, check the insulation in your home. The information provided here will help you identify problem areas that will need to be addressed. If you have questions or concerns about your insulation, be sure to speak to an insulation contractor.