Insulation is a critical part of keeping your home comfortable throughout the year and reducing the strain on your AC/heating system. However, once it’s installed, it can be easy to forget about, potentially leading to rising heating and cooling bills. Read on for information about how long your insulation should last, signs that you should check it, and what to know before replacing it.
How Long Does Home Insulation Last?
Under perfect conditions, home insulation can last up to 80 years or more. However, most homes do not have perfect conditions, meaning you should have it inspected, added to or replaced, depending on the condition it’s in.
The type of insulation you install will also determine how long it will last. The two most common forms of residential insulation are fiberglass (which comes in batting, loose-fill, and blow-in options) and spray foam.
Spray foam insulation is more resilient and energy efficient. It’s water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about it retaining moisture and molding. However, it is not resistant to animals or damage from construction.
Fiberglass, on the other hand, comes in rolls, or you can get bags that you can lay out. You can also have it blown in for easier installation of the loose-fill type. Whichever way it’s installed, it performs about the same as long as the required amount of insulation is installed in order to be effective. Fiberglass insulation may be easier to install for a DIY project, but it’s susceptible to moisture, animals and bugs, and damage from building projects.
Knowing that most homes do not offer constant, perfect conditions for insulation, it’s important to watch for signs that you need to check your insulation. The following four issues are a good way to gauge when you should at least inspect your insulation.
If you notice indications that your insulation may have sustained water damage, it is a good time to check on its condition. The water problems could be from plumbing issues, a leaking roof or other structural damage.
While spray foam insulation tends to resist water damage, fiberglass batting will absorb the water. This leads to conditions for mold to develop. Furthermore, water causes the insulation to break down, which means it won’t insulate as effectively.
Signs of Animals or Bugs
Critters getting into your insulation can also reduce its lifespan. They burrow through the insulation, not to mention leaving behind feces. This all causes damage, and there are other health hazards that go along with pest droppings in your insulation.
If you suspect you’ve had animals or insect infestation in your insulation, you should check it for damage and depth. Depending on what type of pest was in your insulation, you may want to have it replaced.
Pay attention to where your home has unusual drafts. Some may come from your walls and windows, but they may also come from your floor and ceiling insulation. If you feel drafts, plan to check the condition of your insulation and if there are any areas that have become sparce or bare due to movement or damage from various sources.
You should inspect your insulation regularly to ensure you have enough to keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. If your insulation is more than 10 years old and you haven’t had it inspected, it may be time to ensure it meets current recommended standards.
When You Should Replace Your Insulation
The recommended R-value for attic insulation in homes around Gonzales and surrounding areas is R30 to R60. This translates into 10 to 17 inches of standard fiberglass insulation. There is high-efficiency insulation that requires less depth to do the same job. When checking your insulation, if the depth is even a few inches less than the recommended, you may want to add some more to it.
Do You Have to Remove Old Insulation?
You may not have to remove old insulation before adding more. If your insulation is simply old but is otherwise undamaged, you can simply put new insulation on top of it.
However, if you had animals in your insulation or it’s sustained water damage, you’ll want to pull out the old stuff. If you had significant mold damage, plan to have it professionally removed to ensure it doesn’t accidentally spread to other areas of your home.
Residents of Cuero, Gonzales and Seguin areas have turned to GVEC Air Conditioning & Heating to keep their homes comfortable since 1968. Our team of highly skilled technicians provides AC/heating services such as installation, maintenance, and repair along with home energy audits. Call 877.466.5506 or fill out a contact form to schedule your consultation with one of our friendly technicians today.