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Home » Blog » 6 Insulation Mistakes to Avoid

6 Insulation Mistakes to Avoid

6 Insulation Mistakes to Avoid

All homeowners want their house to have a comfortable temperature no matter what the season is. However, they don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg, which is why they need an energy-efficient home. The best way to do this is by ensuring your house has proper insulation. At Critter Stop, we are in customers’ attic daily, and many of them have only a fraction of the insulation they need.

Home insulation keeps your living spaces the temperature you want for longer and for cheaper – but it must be installed properly. As with any home improvement project, various things can go wrong, and mistakes can be made during home insulation installation. The first step in preventing these mistakes before insulating your house is simply knowing about them.

Serious problems such as fire, mold, and mildew growth, humidity, moisture, and structural issues can result if the insulation is not installed correctly. The trick to insulate your house correctly yourself is to be knowledgeable. Insulation is a professional trade in itself, and it takes a lot of time and effort to master the skills involved.

However, if these common mistakes are avoided at the right time, you will have a well-regulated house that allows you to enjoy reduced energy bills every month.

Some of the common mistakes that can turn an insulation project into a massive disaster for homeowners are:

Mistake #1: Leaving Holes and Gaps in the Insulation

Most DIY enthusiasts do not realize the importance of sealing up every hole, crack, crevice, and gap. Whether it is from the basement or attic, air leakage will make the installed insulation much less effective. Even a tiny gap or crack allows a significant amount of air to leak into the attic. It will waste energy and make your heating appliances work harder than they need to warm up or cool down your house.

When inexperienced homeowners try to install home insulation on their own, they often make the terrible mistake of missing, or completely ignoring, these small gaps and holes. It is a shame to see so much effort go into installing insulation and so much benefit be lost because the homeowner did not spot seal any air gaps before insulating.

Tips on how to avoid missing small gaps and holes:

It is better to use foam insulation for sealing the small gaps or cracks. Holes that cannot be filled with other types of insulating materials easily can be filled with foam insulation out of a spray can. The foam comes out of a thin straw and instantly expands, allowing for easy application. When you think everything has been installed correctly, it is almost always worth double-checking it again.

Also, when installing batt insulation, it is essential to secure it using a staple gun, attaching the paper lining to the stud properly. Make sure that the insulation comes in direct contact with the attic walls and floors. Batt insulation loses much of its benefit when installed sloppily, so be diligent in minimizing any and all gaps!

Mistake #2: Covering Ventilation With Insulation

Every home in Texas has vents to allow fresh air to enter and exit from the attic. The constant airflow helps in reducing the moisture and preventing mold and mildew growth. Usually, attic vents are installed in the soffit or along the ridge of the roof.

When insulating an attic, most homeowners overlook the soffit vents and lay insulation over them. By doing this, it obstructs airflow intended for ventilation and reduced moisture. Even if you are not adding more insulation, it is better to check that the existing insulation is not blocking any roof vents.

Tips on how to avoid covering roof vents with insulation:

Experienced, professional installers can often avoid covering ventilation with insulation simply through adept installation. However, if you are installing insulation in DFW yourself, we would recommend buying and installing baffles, or corrugated pieces of plastic that are installed to the inside of your attic roof and ensure vents can still breathe.

Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Type of Insulating Material

Every house is different, and every type of insulating material is designed for a purpose. While spray foam insulation may be ideal in one scenario, it can be completely wrong in another. Suppose, for instance, that you chose fiberglass insulation for your basement. Since basements are damp areas, and fiberglass traps moisture, this combination will likely create a huge nuisance for you in the future.

Experienced DFW insulation professionals can advise you on the type of insulating material you need for each area of your house when installing your insulation. If you try to insulate your home yourself, you are at risk of choosing an insulating material that will not suit the conditions of your house.

Tips on how to avoid choosing the wrong type of insulating material for your house:

To avoid choosing the wrong insulating material, you must do detailed research on different insulating materials available in the market. Since climate plays a big part, make sure the recommendations you are reading apply to your climate zone. Residents of the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex are in what the U.S. Department of Energy classifies as Climate Zone 3 and “Hot-Humid.”

Additionally, you will have to determine the correct R-value of your insulation as it will guide you towards the type material your house needs. For homeowners in Dallas – Fort Worth, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends R-38 in attics and R25 in floors.

Mistake #4: Misunderstanding the R-value

Most homeowners do not understand the process of R-value calculation, and they end up choosing insulating material with a low R-value because it is more affordable. They sometimes do not realize that the higher the value, the more efficient the insulation will be in saving energy.

By choosing insulating material with a low R-value, you will still have to deal with unregulated temperature and drafts. With home insulation, being economical in the short-term often costs homeowners significantly in the long-term. The benefits of a higher R-value is not linear though, so it may not be necessary to install the highest R-value available.

Tips on how to choose the correct R-value materials:

DFW insulation professionals will know, and should install, based on both climate zone and local building code requirements. They have the essential project expertise to calculate the correct R-value for your home and evaluate the best possible approach based on the size of your attic space and how much you are willing to invest in a more energy-efficient home. While a higher R-value is better, and provides more energy-efficient insulation, it also costs more, so a happy medium much be reached when deciding what type of insulation to invest in. There are also other insulation services that insulation contractors can offer to reduce your energy bills, including installing radiant barrier in your attic space.

Mistake #5: Pulling Out Old Insulation Unnecessarily

Another mistake most DIYers make is getting rid of the old home insulation that is in place. They believe that old insulation is of little use if it looks dingy and dirty. It is a reasonable assumption, but sometimes it is not necessary to remove it. Even if it’s old and dirty, it will still perform and could even save you a good amount of money by leaving it in place and just adding additional insulation over the old.

At Critter Stop, we recommend starting the insulation project process by checking the R-value of your existing insulation and think of ways to potentially improve it, instead of starting from scratch. The old insulation will act as an additional blanket for your house when added to the new one, and save time and money on removing the insulation. You will also needless time and material when blowing in the new insulation.

Another consideration in addition to the state of the insulation is the age of your house. If it was built in the 1980s or earlier, getting rid of old insulation may be absolutely necessary. For instance, it could contain asbestos, which can be a significant health concern for you and your family. If rodents severely infested your house, old insulation will be heavily contaminated by their droppings, so it is important to get it removed. Even if the wildlife issue in your attic is old, diseases can live in animal feces for several years, which could mean you could still be at risk of catching diseases flowing from your attic space down into your living space.

Tips on how to check the condition of your existing insulation:

Old insulation can be worth keeping, but that’s not always the case. Key steps in deciding include the following:

  • Check the R-value of your existing insulation
  • Make sure the attic is dry and is not wet or moldy
  • Ensure there are not significant animal droppings or feces in the insulation

After weighing these factors, decide whether you should remove the insulation and start from scratch, or add on to your existing insulation.

Mistake #6: Doing Home Insulation Installation Yourself

When it comes to home insulation, it is best to leave it to a DFW insulation company. DIY is great for smaller projects, but when it comes to something as crucial as home insulation, you should think twice before taking the challenge on yourself.

It is worth remembering that removing old insulation is a delicate process, and many essential factors need to be considered by homeowners. For instance, large animal feces should be handled delicately. At Critter Stop, we remove large animal feces, such as opossums and raccoons, by hand to avoid any virus or bacteria particles being disturbed and floating into the air, which could lead to contamination. For smaller rodent feces that cannot be removed by hand, but must be vacuumed out, our technicians wear respirators to avoid breathing in any potential diseases.

Animal feces is just one of many substances homeowners should be conscious of. The last thing homeowners want is to expose themselves and their loved ones to hazardous substances such as asbestos, mold, mildew, and / or contaminated animal droppings.

Critter Stop: Reliable Insulation Services in Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

Critter Stop is a reliable option for customers looking for the best insulation services provider in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. When it comes to insulation, we can do it all for you. From removing your old and contaminated insulation to replacing it with a new insulating material that is more efficient in saving energy. We even install radiant barrier.

Does your house have trouble staying warm and cool? Do your energy bills never go down, despite having a perfectly functioning heating and cooling system? The real culprit is likely your attic insulation, which may not be effective in limiting heat transfer anymore. Contact us for a free inspection and estimate and let us show you how we built our incredible reputation, which we work to live up to every single day.

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