10 Signs Your Home May Be Poorly Insulated
Your home is supposed to be comfortable year-round. Good insulation balances your house’s temperature and humidity levels while saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
What do you experience in your own home? Do you find your house or certain rooms on the unbearable side depending on the season? Your home’s insulation, or lack of, may be to blame.
Poor insulation can have a negative impact on your home and health. It can also cost you a fortune in bills and then in extensive repairs. Before it’s too late, check out these warning signs that your house may be poorly insulated:
1. Higher energy bills
Have you noticed a steady increase in your heating/cooling costs over the past few seasons? Even if you have added a new appliance in your house, something else may be contributing to your energy consumption.
One sure-fire sign of an under-insulated home is higher energy bills. It happens when the insulation is wearing thin and can’t provide adequate thermal protection. The additional energy expense is your cooling or heating system working overtime to regulate the temperature.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by having proper insulation and air sealing the attics, basements, and crawl spaces of your home, you can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs.
2. Temperature difference between rooms
Is your upstairs always warmer than the downstairs, or maybe one room is always hotter than the others in the house? Excluding external factors like windows, HVAC or heaters, the variations of temperature between rooms is likely caused by poor insulation.
Some rooms may have air leaks from which the indoor air escapes. Systems would then have to work harder to keep the temperature balanced.
3. Chilly Drafts
Chilly drafts are caused by constant fluctuations in temperature. The warm air exits and cool air fills the room. This exchange of air comes from gaps in window sills, doors, and sometimes, light switches and outlets.
Seal gaps where hot air may escape.
4. Hot Floors, Hot Walls, and Hot Ceiling
The internal structure of your home is your barrier against weather conditions.
If your floors, exterior walls, and ceiling feel warm to the touch, it may be a sign you need to check your insulation. In this case, your A/C works hard to keep the room cool but that is hard to do when it is surrounded by an oven.
In a house with good insulation, the temperature in the room and the walls must be the same.
5. Frozen pipes
When the water freezes in a closed pipe, pressure builds up exponentially. When left for too long, the pipe may burst, releasing hundreds of gallons per hour and damaging homes and businesses like so many of us in Houston experienced during Winter Storm Uri.
You can tell if your pipes are frozen through many signs. Once a pipe has been frozen, it makes gurgling sounds from the ice traveling through it. Another telltale sign to look for is a pipe with condensation or frost forming around it. And lastly, if there is no more water after you turn on your faucet, then it means the pipe has frozen up. You may even experience a stinky sink from ice blocking the pipes.
Aside from general insulation, have your pipes insulated too for protection against extreme temperatures.
6. Ice dams
We typically don’t see much of these down here in Houston, but our northern friends have to deal with ice dams. These happen when ice builds up on the eaves of slanted roofs.
Ice dams form when the heat from your living space rises above and melts the snow on the roof. The snow melts and runs down the sloped roof before the cold temperature freezes it back to ice.
Big and sharp icicles may form and can cause damage to your roof and gutter.
Not to mention, the formation of ice dams can pose a hazard to friends, family, or patrons of a business. Just something to think about on your next ski trip or drive up north. Watch out!
7. Hot summer and cold winter indoors
Your heating and cooling system are actively working but they just can’t keep up if your home is poorly insulated. We talked about hot spots previously, but you may just notice your A/C or furnace constantly running. This is an all too common issue for many of our customers throughout the Houston area during our intense summers. We have customers comment all the time that their A/C just runs non-stop. This is a definite sign that your home may not be properly air sealed or that you do not have enough insulation to help regulate the temperature inside. This is costing you money and comfort every day.
8. Humidity and condensation in the attic
Have you ever entered your attic and it feels like a sauna? This humid air can be caused by a variety of factors from a lack of ventilation to condensation build up due to improper or poor insulation.
A common scenario is around HVAC vents that are exposed or improperly insulated and exposed to the hot attic air. Condensation forms here and could eventually cause drywall damage or even mold. If you see water leaking on your ceiling or mold forming in the attic, there’s a possibility the insulation is also damp or wet and needs to be replaced. Bring in an expert to assess the situation, especially if there is mold involved.
If you don’t see any immediate leaks, the build up of humidity could be driven by poor ventilation. We talk specifically about this in our article on solar exhaust fans. One quick check you can do to review your attic’s ventilation is to ensure your soffits are not clogged and that you have some type of active system to help air flow through the attic and exchange with fresh air from outside.
9. Critters like mice, rats, and yes, even cats…
Does your attic smell more like a bathroom than a fresh open space? Does your insulation look matted down or can you see droppings from little furry friends? I use the term “friends” loosely here. If so, not only has your insulation seen its last days, but you could also be living with a health hazard. As insulation breaks down over time, rodents and pests of all sorts break in and use it as a home base, but also as a bathroom. They are doing this all right next to your HVAC system that supplies the air to every room in your home. Yuck!
If you ever see or smell pest excrement in your attic space, we highly recommend you to first get a pest expert out to take care of the problem, but secondly, get a professional out to remove the old, compromised insulation. There are several companies out there (yes, we are one of them - yay, shameless plug!) that specialize in the removal of old insulation, but can also disinfect the attic space before air sealing it and blowing back in new insulation.
Remember, if your attic smells more like a bathroom than a fresh open air space, you could be living and breathing critter leftovers. We’ve seen it all, and even if we aren’t the ones to help you, please get someone out to remove the old insulation and disinfect your home so you can live more comfortably.
10. Outdoor noise invading your home
Do you hear sounds from your neighbors as if they were right next to you? If so, it may be a sign that your house is under-insulated. Insulation helps block outside noise and conversely, your noise from inside as well.
If you’re living near one of our many Houston highways or a bustling neighborhood like Spring Branch, Cy-Fair, or even the newer builds out in Bridgeland or Katy, then soundproofing your home with insulation materials like cellulose, rockwool, or spray foam will reduce any unnecessary noise.
If you think your house is leaking money and suffering from poor insulation because of the signs listed above, consult with one of our insulation experts as soon as possible. Just think, not only could you be saving money month after month, but you could be living more comfortably in your own home. That’s the true value.
Book your free insulation evaluation with one of our consultants today.
Koala Insulation of Northwest Houston
Delivering efficiency. Improving comfort.
We Provide Insulation Services to the Following Northwest Houston Areas
Houston, Spring Branch, Jersey Village, Willow Brook, Copperfield, Cypress, Mason Park, and Cinco Ranch
Harris County, Waller County, & Fort Bend County
77040, 77041, 77080, 77043, 77055, 77070, 77069, 77066, 77065, 77449, 77450, 77433, 77429, 77095, 77084, 77064