Top Three Effects of Your Home Being Under Insulated in Houston
Insulation may not be the first thing you think about for home repair. So if your house is under insulated, what is the worst that can happen? Well, did you know that a house that has insufficient insulation is almost as good as a house with no insulation at all.You might be shrugging off temperature fluctuations in your home but ignoring these signs can have negative consequences for your health and home.
We have listed the top three consequences of under insulation below, keeping in mind that each can lead to a chain of negative issues within your home.
1. Mold Growth
Insulation helps a home stay dry. It controls moisture levels, helping to prevent humid conditions.
If you live in an under-insulated house, you may find mold growth in your walls or ceilings.
Humidity encourages moisture and for molds to thrive, they need plenty of it.
Molds are the fuzzy or velvety spots that may appear as white, yellow, green, blue or black in color. They thrive in the damp and dark places of your home and can also form on ceilings, walls, joists and other moist surfaces like your bathroom and basement.
Inhalation of mold spores can trigger allergic reactions and asthma. Continuous exposure to mold can induce coughing, decongestion, sore throat, skin rash, headache and lung irritation.
People with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of developing fungal infection.
Effects on your home structures
Early infestations of mold appear as discolorations that can be removed by a mold cleaner. If left alone to its devices, mold can spread through drywalls, ceilings and hardwood floors. You need to replace your drywall once mold has settled deep into it.
Mold feeds on organic matter such as wood but they don’t necessarily cause wood rot. Where there is mold, there is moisture which speeds the decay of wood structure.
A history of mold growth can also lower the value of your property, should you want to sell it in the future. Prospects may view your home as unhealthy, dirty and rather uncomfortable.
Cleaning the mold can pose respiratory risks and skin irritation, so contact a professional services or make sure you wear an N95 mask, safety goggles, and protective clothing.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that if the mold coverage spans more than 10 sq feet, you should call a professional remediation company to remove the mold.
After you’ve removed the mold in your house, it’s important to deal with what may have caused it: under insulation.
2. Swelling building components (sticky doors and windows), damaged attic floor/ceiling
Sticky doors and windows
We talked about how under insulation can increase humidity and contribute to condensation build up in our, ‘Is it Humid in Here to You?’ blog, but condensation doesn’t only appear as water droplets on your window. It also affects wooden doors, windows, trim, and much more.
The wood absorbs the moisture causing it to swell and the door can then become sticky and hard to open or close.
If your door is always sticky and the season doesn’t have anything to do with it, look if the hinges are secure and in good condition. If yes, then maybe your door has expanded due to high levels of humidity indoors.
Do not shave your door as a solution to stickiness. Once the climate or surrounding conditions are dry, the wood will shrink and may have gaps where outside air can enter.
Damages on attic structure, floor/ceiling
Hot air permeates holes and gaps of an attic without proper insulation. Even with passive ventilation, the hot air will persist and moisture will continue to accumulate. Once the air reaches the limit of water vapor it can hold, condensation occurs. Condensation then affects the structural materials of your attic. The moisture speeds up wood rot and rusting of metal components like nails.
Plus, the condensation can form on your attic’s floor and leak to your ceiling.
Sealing the air leaks and insulating your attic with the right R-value will prevent these problems in the first place.
3. Condensation and Frozen Pipes
Air Ducts and pipework with no insulation is more prone to condensation and freezing.
When the cold water from outside flows into an indoor pipe where it is hot and humid, condensation or sweating occurs. Water droplets form and drip on nearby surfaces. This can introduce moisture in your home and depending on the pipe’s location, the water leaks can deteriorate drywalls, ceiling, or wooden floorboards.
You don’t want condensation on your pipes. The ever-present moisture incites mold and bacterial growth and poses possible health risks if the pipes have leaks from which bacteria and mold can enter.
Condensation added with oxygen from the air corrodes metal pipes leading to rusting and reduction in the thickness.
The same is true for your HVAC air ducts running from the unit to the A/C vent connection in the home. These lines must be insulated without any exposed metal or protrusions to the hot attic air. If there is any part of the vent lines that is uninsulated or not properly sealed, the hot attic air will be touching the cool metal of the ventilation line and cause condensation. This condensation will then drip down the vent causing rusted A/C vents in the home, water droplets falling into the home, and even mold. If you have ever seen rusted A/C vents, leaking A/C vents, or smell that musty, damp air in your home, it could be because of poor insulation and exposed air ducts causing condensation leaks.
Pipeworks in attics, basements and crawl spaces are at a greater risk of freezing if there is no insulation.
Pipes freeze starting from 20°F and below. As the temperature drops, water expands and puts an intense pressure on the pipes. And the ice growing in the pipes causes cracks, speeding up the pipe burst. Does this sound familiar...Houston’s Snowmageddon of 2021?
Leaving your pipes uninsulated is a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. Pipes with insulation can take 5 hours before freezing while poorly insulated pipes freeze within only 3 hours.
According to The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a pipe burst can incur more than $5,000 worth of water damage. You’d want to take preventive measures before your pipes freeze and cause you unnecessary costs.
To prevent frozen pipes, disconnect outdoor hoses and drain water from pool and sprinkler supply lines. Usually, caulking cracks and using pipe sleeves help insulate the pipes. Still, the proper type of insulation depends on the location and type of pipes.
If you are too late and your pipes have freezed, never use open flames to thaw them. You can use electric heating pads or a hair blower around the pipes instead. Keeping your faucet on will help melt the ice while you thaw the pipes.
What have we learned?
Dealing with mold growth, damages on building components and structures, and frozen pipes can be a hassle and waste of money when you could have prevented them in the first place.
A one-time installation of proper insulation will help you in the long run. Think of insulation as a barrier that protects your house from heat and moisture.
Book your free insulation inspection with one of our Koala Insulation consultants today! You may thank us later!
Koala Insulation of Northwest Houston
Delivering Efficiency. Improving Comfort.
Koala Insulation of Northwest Houston is an insulation contractor providing high-quality insulation services to homeowners, contractors, and property owners. We work with new construction, retrofit applications, and properties affected by natural disasters or that have suffered significant damage.
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