When it comes to home comfort and energy efficiency, nothing is more important than having adequate insulation. If you live in an older home, the attic, walls and foundation may not have the amount of insulation that today’s codes require.
Does My House Have Enough Insulation?
Here are five signs your home is under-insulated.
High Energy Bills
If your home has never had enough insulation, your energy bills have probably been high since the day you moved in. Then again, you might notice a gradual increase in utility costs if blown-in insulation settles or fiberglass batts become wet and less effective. Adding insulation and replacing damaged sections can bring your energy bills back down.
Several factors affect the temperature from room to room, but poor insulation is one of the biggest. Perhaps the living room always feels comfortable while the kitchen is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. This indicates that your living room likely has enough insulation but the kitchen may not.
Cold or Hot Walls, Floors & Ceilings
The touch test reveals a lot about what’s going on behind your walls, floors and ceilings. If any areas are under-insulated, they will feel cold to the touch in the winter and hot in the summer. This means heat is passing through the building materials, increasing your utility bills and making your home less comfortable.
Ice Dams on the Roof
When hot air rises from the living space to the under-insulated attic, it heats up the roof from below, melting any snow there. This sends water flowing toward the eaves, where it reaches cold air and refreezes. This forms an ice dam on the roof, which can damage your shingles and cause water leaks in the attic. Large icicles hanging from the roof are signs of an ice dam. Also, ice melting too quickly off your roof is another sign that your attic may be under-insulated.
If plumbing runs through your under-insulated basement or crawlspace, they could freeze on especially cold nights. Frozen pipes can burst, causing water damage and high repair costs. Increasing insulation in these areas can help prevent frozen pipes.
How to Tell If a Wall is Insulated
Remove an Electrical Outlet Cover
Turn off the power to the outlet before using this approach!
- Remove the outlet cover
- Shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box to see if insulation is visible.
- If needed, pull out a small amount of insulation to see what type of insulation is installed.
- Check each wall of your home; just because you find insulation in one wall doesn’t mean you’ll find it in every wall.
Check beHind baseboards
Many homes have a gap at the bottom of the drywall where the baseboard is. Pry the baseboard away from the wall to check for insulation under the drywall gap. Replace the trim when you’re done inspecting.
Drill a small hole in the drywall
If you’ve drilled a hole for drywall anchors when installing artwork or pictures, you’ve probably seen insulation on your drill bit. Check for insulation by drilling a small hole and using an insulation scope or wire hanger to fish out a bit of insulation. A discreet location, such as a closet wall, is a convenient place to use this technique.
How to Tell If Your Garage Door is Insulated
To check for garage door insulation like the pros do it, use an infrared thermometer. Point the thermometer at the garage door from the inside. Then go outside and point it at the outside of the door. During hot weather, the outside of the door should be hotter than the inside. During cold weather, the outside of the door should be cooler. If the temperatures on the inside and outside of the door are very similar, the garage door is not insulated.
Add Insulation to Your Tulsa Home
One of the best ways to lower your bills, improve comfort and protect your home is to add insulation. At IBP Tulsa, we can add insulation to attics, crawlspaces, basements, existing walls and other areas.