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5 Signs Your Home Might Be Under-Insulated

You likely inspected every corner of every room before you purchased your dream home, ensuring the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms were all up to snuff. But, did you take a peek into your attic before signing on the dotted line? 

If you’re experiencing high energy bills, temperature fluctuations, cold or hot walls, cold or hot spots in some rooms, and little to no sound dampening from room to room, patchwork insulation could be the culprit. 

In this article, we’ll explore each of these signs to help you determine whether you could be living in an under-insulated house and if you should start thinking about removing attic insulation and installing new insulation

#1 You Have a High Energy Bill

If you have a higher energy bill than others in your neighborhood, your house might not have adequate home insulation. 

Wall insulation’s key role—preventing heat transfer between the interior and exterior of your home to maintain conditioned air temperatures—is a significant determining factor for energy costs and yields energy efficiency.1 When your insulation material isn’t keeping cold air inside in the summer or preventing heat loss in the winter, your HVAC system must work even harder to maintain your home’s climate. 

If your energy bill is through the roof, it’s time to look up—poor insulation could be to blame. 

#2 You Have a Hard Time Maintaining Your Home’s Temperature

As discussed in the above section, poor insulation makes it even harder for your HVAC system to maintain your desired temperature. 

Why do temperatures fluctuate? Under-insulation creates an endlessly repeating cycle:

  1. Your HVAC system conditions air, warming or cooling your space.
  2. That conditioned air escapes via air leak conduction.
  3. Your HVAC system turns back on to compensate. 

In an under insulated house, air conditioning can more easily transfer warm air or cold air through walls, floors, and ceilings and into the attic, preventing your HVAC system from maintaining a consistent temperature. 

Another sign that you’re suffering from temperature fluctuations or under insulation is your HVAC system turning off and back on more than usual to compensate for the air leakage and heat transfer. 

#3 Your Walls, Floors, and Ceiling Are Hot/Cold

Most homes feature insulation in the following areas:2

  • The walls, sandwiched between layers of drywall, plaster, bricks, or tile
  • The floors, including between stories
  • The attic floor

Insulation prevents heat transfer, but air conditioning will still try to conduct air through these surfaces. As a result, your walls should normally be slightly cold when you’re running the air conditioner or slightly warm when the heater is running. 

But, if your walls, floors, or ceiling are warm in the summer and cold in the winter, the house insulation could be patchy or failing in these areas which may call for some summer or winter attic maintenance. Not only could this result in conditioned air loss, but it could also make a room feel hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, especially when you’re using furniture placed against the wall. 

If you’ve noticed hot or cold walls, your home may be under-insulated. 

#4 Your Home Has Hot/Cold Spots

Insulation is only effective when installers achieve complete, continuous coverage of a surface area. But even if your insulation was installed well, insulation products degrade over time, and they’re susceptible to water and pest damage just like every material in your home. 

As insulation degrades and coverage decreases, you might notice that some rooms or small areas are colder in the winter and warmer in the summer than the rest of your home. Patchy, degraded insulation could be causing these hot/cold spots, where conditioned air is condensing through your wall or ceiling materials. 

When you replace your insulation, your hot and cold spots will disappear thanks to thorough coverage and improved materials. 

#5 Your Home is Unusually Loud

While foam insulation primarily supports temperature control in your home, it also has a secondary purpose—dampening sounds. 

Rigid foam insulation’s sound-dampening properties make sense. The foam board adds a more dense material to the insides of your walls, preventing sound from escaping or transferring into another room. 

When a home has proper insulation, sounds coming from other rooms should be: 

  • Muffled
  • Quiet
  • Unintelligible

If you find that you can hear every word spoken, every cup placed on a counter, and every toilet flush, you might be living in an under-insulated house. 

So, adding new insulation to your home doesn’t just benefit your HVAC system and energy bill—it will also increase your privacy from room to room and create an overall quieter home. 

Attic Construction: Solving Insulation Problems Since 2011

If your home is under-insulated, your energy bill, climate control, and indoor air quality could all suffer the consequences. Patchy, old, or damaged insulation won’t effectively prevent heat and sound transfer, a problem that can only be solved by replacing your insulation. 

If you’re looking for a professional, expert team to help you diagnose your current insulation issues, recommend material and service solutions, and complete repairs and replacements efficiently, Attic Construction can help with attic insulation in San Diego, Orange County, and Phoenix. 

We’ve been helping families achieve high-quality climate control for over a decade, and our attic solutions will help you keep your home comfortable and safe. If you’re looking for more information about under insulation and potential solutions, drop Attic Construction a line today. 

Sources: 

  1. Energy Star. Why Seal and Insulate? https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/why_seal_and_insulate 
  2. North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. Insulation installation: Where to Insulate in Your Home. https://insulationinstitute.org/im-a-homeowner/about-insulation/where-to-insulate/ 

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