Having trouble heating or cooling your home? Have your power bills been increasing over time? Chances are your home might be under-insulated. It’s a problem that is far more common than most people realise. Over time, insulation can become less effective at reducing heat flow, making it harder for you to heat or cool your home. On top of having an uncomfortable indoor environment, under-insulated homes tend to pay more for their electricity.
Does insulation degrade over time?
As with almost any material in a home, wall, floor and ceiling insulation will wear down over time. For those wondering “how long does insulation last?”, it depends on the type of material used and the quality of the installation. Factors like extreme weather, water damage and rodents may also affect the lifespan of your insulation. It is important to replace damaged or old insulation as under-insulated homes will have a hard time regulating indoor temperatures.
How often should insulation be replaced?
In ideal conditions, insulation can sometimes last several decades, even up to a hundred years. However, in reality there are several factors which may speed up the degradation of insulation materials. Insulation should be replaced if it is old and not effective anymore. It should also be replaced if damaged by water or creatures such as rats.
The following warning signs could be an indication that it’s time to replace your insulation:
1. Indoor temperatures are constantly changing
The role of insulation is to reduce heat flow and keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. That means if insulation is not doing its job properly, the temperature inside your home might change frequently according to the outdoor temperature.
2. It’s hard to heat up or cool down your home
If your air conditioner is working really hard, but not effectively cooling your home down, it could be due to ineffective insulation. Similarly, if you are finding it difficult to heat your home, it might be time to replace your insulation.
3. Energy bills are really high
When a home gets uncomfortably hot or cold, the household may rely more on artificial heating and cooling to keep indoor temperatures pleasant. This means increased energy consumption, and a higher power bill. So if you have noticed that your power bill has been increasing over the past few years, it may indicate that your insulation is not as effective as it used to be.
4. You suspect an infestation of mice, rats or other creatures
If creatures such as rats get into your roof and reproduce, they can cause significant damage to the ceiling insulation. Sometimes it is hard to know if you have an infestation, so it’s a good idea to get the situation assessed by a professional.
5. Leaks or other indications that your home has suffered water damage
Water damage from a storm or other source can make insulation ineffective. For example, if ceiling insulation batts get wet, the millions of tiny air pockets in the insulation material will be compressed and unable to resist heat flow effectively. What’s more, trapped moisture can lead to the growth of mould or leaks that damage your ceiling. It is important that water damaged insulation be replaced as soon as possible to avoid larger issues.
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