When Should You Replace Your Insulation?

Just having walls and a roof will not be enough to separatethe indoor air from the harsh and polluted outdoor air. That's where home insulation comes in handy. Moreimportantly for most, insulation is one of the best investments homeowners canmake to reduce their energy bills.

 

Home insulation creates a barrier that keeps the heat outduring summers and in during winters. This prevents homeowners from having to relyas much on air conditioners and heaters to maintain a comfortable temperaturein their homes. Just like any other part of your house, insulation is alsoprone to damage and deteriorates over time.

 

Insulation will not remain perfect forever. Water, dust,rodents, and other compromising factors can make the insulation less effectiveover time. As a result, it is only a matter of time before your insulationneeds to be replaced. Although not urgent, it is still very important. If yourinsulation is damaged or deteriorated to the point that it is no longer effectivelylimiting heat transfer, it should be replaced.

 

Since homeinsulation stays out of sight and out of mind, homeowners often forgetto replace it, even after it has completely worn out. Electric bills steadilyincrease, but homeowners often do not realize that poor insulation might be thereason for their rising heating and cooling costs.

 

How do homeowners know it is time to get their attic insulation replaced? To knowexactly when you should consider replacing your insulation, you must know thelifespan of the insulation material you used and what factors can compromiseits lifespan.

What is the Lifespan of Different Insulation Materials?

Standard batt insulation starts peeling from the walls afterabout 10 to 15 years. However, rodent or other wildlife infestations, dust, andwater can lower this considerably. To get a clear idea of how long yourinsulation material can last, here are the lifespans of different insulationmaterials:

Spray Foam Insulation Lifespan

Spray foam insulation is becoming increasingly popular. Homeownersare using it in their newly-constructed homes because it is durable, reliable,and provides better protection from moisture. It can last many decades becauseit does not naturally deteoriate as easily. It is also moisture-resistant, soit cannot contribute to mold and mildew growth.

 

Once applied, spray foam insulation will not move from itsplace unless you cut it away. It is unlikely that you will have to repair orreplace your spray foam insulation unless it is disturbed by rodents.

Fiberglass Insulation Lifespan

Fiberglass insulation is undoubtedly the most popularinsulation material because it is cost-effective and cleaner than cellulose.While the insulation itself can last for 80+ years, unless it gets damaged bymold or rodents, it does slowly deteroriate over time.

 

Because of this detoriation, fiberglass insulation can startlosing its effectiveness in less than 15 to 20 years. To work properly, fiberglassinsulation needs to be fluffy and thick. It is moisture-resistant to someextent, but if it continuously gets wet from a roof leak, it will need to bereplaced.

 

If the fiberglass insulation in your attic isthin and detoriated, it would be wise to get it replaced if you plan to live inyour house for several years. Depending on how low it gets, the return oninvestment can be very attractive.

Cellulose Insulation Lifespan

Cellulose insulation is composed of recycled waste materials,such as newspaper, making it the most environmently-friendly type of insulationmaterial. However, it only has a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. It will startdegrading naturally after 15 years of its installation.

 

While rodents typically do not like cellulose insulation, ifthe cellulose insulation gets wet, it needs to be replaced regardless of itsage because it can grow mold and mildew.

6 Signs That Your Old Home Insulation Needs to be Replaced

Look at Your Energy Bills

It is pretty natural for energy bills to be higher in the colderor hotter months than the rest of the year. However, the rise in costs does nothave to be as extreme as some homeowners experience.

 

Have you noticed a big jump in your heating and coolingbills? It could be a sign that your home insulation is no longer effective and needsto be replaced. Conduct an energy audit and examine the condition of your home insulation, along with other areas of your house that can be vulnerable toenergy leaks.

Lingering Unpleasant Odors

Does your home smell like an animal shelter? Do funky andfoul odors linger around even after you have thoroughly cleaned the entirehouse?

 

Unfortunately, other than spray foam insulation, other typesof insulation materials can easily absorb moisture. Wet insulation can growmold that will result in a funky-smelling house. More importantly, mold canfurther contaminate the air you and your family members are breathing. It canbecome a major health concern for you and your family in the future.

If your house smellsunpleasant and you cannot determine the source, it is worthwhile to check yourinsulation and see if it is time to replace it.

Bugs and Other Creatures Livingin Your Attic

Your attic insulation can be a host for many types ofunwanted critters and pests in your home. Many critters and pests may be livingin your attic insulation, whether you are aware of them or not.

 

Ever heard the phrase, “quiet as a mouse?” Rodents areintentionally very sneaky, so oftentimes homeowners are not aware they have aproblem until it has already escalated to an infestation.

 

Also, these critters, such as mice, rats, squirrels,raccoons, and other wild animals, can build their nests out of your insulationmaterial and start raising families! These critters leave behind urine andfecal droppings, which contain many harmful types of bacteria. Animals in yourattic can gradually turn into an animal infestation, which can become asignificant health hazard for you and your family.

 

Sometimes, these rodents and pests will use your attic insulationas nesting material. While fiberglass insulation is immensely popular amonghomeowners, it is also a favorite insulation material for rodents to nest in. Sprayfoam insulation is their least favorite as it cannot easily be used for nestingmaterial.

 

If you suspect you have rodents or other animals in yourattic insulation, take immediate action and get them removed. Animals in yourattic is a problem that very rarely solves itself, but instead gets much worsewith time. Once you have removed the animals, it is often necessary to replacethe contaminated and unsanitary insulation.

 

While replacing your attic insulation is a long andlaborsome process, and having mice or rats in your attic may be something youwant to ignore for a while, the longer you wait to get your insulation replaced,the more extensive the damage will be. Without replacement, animal-infestedattic insulation can also be harmful to you and your family's health.

Worsening Allergy Symptoms

Are you experiencing continuous allergy symptoms that do notseem to get any better even after receiving proper treatment? You may assumethat you need stronger allergy medicine. However, the real culprit can be yourold attic insulation, which may be heavily contaminated with mold, dust, orrodent droppings. If you have cellulose insulation, which is essentiallyrecycled newspaper, breaks down, turning into a fine dust that can botherhomeowners’ respiratory systems.

 

If you and your family members are suffering from terribleallergies, it may be an excellent decision to get your old insulation checked.Old insulation that has deteriorated over time can adversely affect the airquality of your home. To maintain ideal air quality and keep allergens outsideof your house, replace the old insulation as soon as possible.

Strange Drafts in Your House

Have you ever walked into a room in your home to realizethat it is much cooler or warmer than the other rooms? If you have a draftyroom in your house, that is a sure sign of insulation failure.

 

Insulation provides a barrier between the inside and outsideof your home to limit the heat transfer. However, if the barrier no longerexists or is compromised, it is easy for cool and warm air to enter your house,creating a draft.

If you have a drafty room, consider replacing yourattic insulation, or at the very least, getting it “topped off” – which willadd ~4-10 inches, with an emphasis on relatively low areas, to get yourinsulation where it needs to be from an energy efficiency perspective. If theattic insulation is not contaminated, adding additionally insulation on top ofthe existing insulation in your attic will be much more cost effective sinceyou will not have to remove and dispose of the old attic insulation – alaborsome process.

Age of Insulation in Your House

Do you know when the last time your insulation was replaced?Insulation is built to last, but it does not mean it will last a lifetime. Ifyou have just moved to your new house, it is wise to get the opinion of a DFW insulation company that can providea thorough inspection for you.

Conclusion

Now that you know it's time to replace your old attic insulation, how do you start? You have a couple of options.You can do it yourself or hire one of the most reliable insulation companies to replace your attic insulation. If you arelooking for an insulation contractor in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Critter Stop can help you with justabout any situation, whether it is critter removal, sanitation, insulationremoval, or insulation installation. We are a one-stop solution for all yourinsulation needs!

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