Good insulation for your home is extremely important. Not only can poor insulation cost you money on energy bills, but it can also cause damage to your home through issues such as damp, mold, problems with your pipes, rust, and rotten wood. This, in turn, can compromise your health – particularly if you have mold – and also increase your carbon footprint.
There are some signs to watch out for that could indicate your property has bad insulation. These include high fluctuations in temperature inside your house, excessively high energy bills, and noticeable patches of damp or mold. If you’re concerned about problems with insulation, here are four easy steps you can take to combat them.
1. Locate the source of the issue
The first step is locating the cause of the insulation problem, to help you narrow down where to focus your efforts. Common areas where homes lose heat include doors, windows, fireplaces, attics, vents, and even phone lines and electrical outlets. You can use a thermal leak detector to find surface temperatures and get an idea of where the heat is escaping from, but in many cases, you’ll be able to see the gaps or feel the cold yourself.
Here are the common insulation issues:
- Damaged Insulation: Animals such as mice and squirrels tend to create their nest in attics and ruin the insulation. They can lay their eggs and breed in hidden areas, causing insulation damage.
- Old Insulation: If your insulation is 15 to 50 years old, then it’s high time to replace them. Invest in new insulation materials with better thermal properties. Upgrading your insulation is crucial in reducing heating costs.
- Over-Insulation: Too much insulation poses health issues, triggering allergic reactions because it restricts proper air ventilation. Excessive moisture leads to a mold problem, affecting indoor air quality.
- Contaminated Insulation: Critters go to the attic and contaminate your insulation with urine and droppings, contaminating the air and the insulation with harmful pollutants. These things significantly reduce the insulation’s effectiveness too.
2. Have your windows refurbished
Windows are a very common source of insulation problems, particularly in older properties. These days far superior insulation materials are available that can make your windows much more efficient. Find a specialist who deals with the style of windows your home has, like a sash window company, and get some advice on whether they need to be repaired or even replaced. Spending a bit of money upfront can save you more in the long term on things like energy bills.
3. Draft-proof your doors
Another common area for homes to lose heat is through the doors. One cheap and cheerful solution is to get a draft stopper, which sits at the base of the door to prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from leaving. Some guards fit onto the bottom of the door itself. Other things that you might like to consider are keyhole covers, which are small metallic disks that slide over the keyhole to stop airflow, or a covering for the mail slot if your door has one.
Other examples include using foam tape, installing new sweeps, and using weatherstripping. Homeowners who have no idea how to draft-proof doors can hire insulation professionals. Building Insulations and similar reputable companies can help draft-proof doors and other heat escape routes in the home, such as applying rigid foam insulation and re-caulking windows.
4. Deal with damp
Damp can be a real headache to deal with, so as soon as you spot the first signs, you want to act fast. One of the most widespread causes of damp is condensation, but luckily there are simple steps you can take to combat this. For example, wipe down windows and windowsills every morning to remove the moisture that accumulates there overnight. You should also always ensure the kitchen and bathroom, in particular, are well ventilated, as these rooms tend to produce the most steam. Extractor fans can be very effective, but even just opening a window can help. Finally, try and keep your house warm throughout the winter months so that the surfaces don’t get cold enough to create condensation.
Homeowners can combat insulation problems by repairing, replacing, and upgrading fixtures as necessary. It’s crucial to take prompt action before it’s too late. If those solutions fail to control your damp, it may be wise to get a professional damp proofing service involved.