5 Things to Know About Home Insulation
When the temperature outdoors is below freezing and the air has an arctic chill, even your daily commute can be hard. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing better than coming home to a warm and toasty home.
These days, it’s easy to take the comforts of a warm winter home for granted, but the reality is that just a few generations ago, drafts and cold spots were a part of life. Thankfully, with all of the high-performance innovations in insulation, siding, and windows over the past few decades, Minnesota homes are more comfortable than ever.
At Powers Premier Contracting in Minnesota, our insulation installation team is happy to answer all of your questions about insulation and siding. In this post, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about home insulation from how it works to the types of siding available for Minnesota homes. To learn more about insulation installation services or schedule your insulation update, give our contractors a call.
- Inadequate insulation can lead to mold problems.
When most people think about insulation, they’re thinking of how it works to limit the transfer of heat between spaces, keeping a home’s ambient temperature at a more comfortable and stable level. But high-performance insulation also serves another important purpose: to keep moisture outside of your home.
When older or degraded insulation begins to wear down over time or has gaps, the outside air that comes in can condense, leaving moisture inside the insulation or walls. And where there is moisture, mold frequently appears, often in tight and easy-to-miss spaces. Not only can mold cause all sorts of damage to the materials it encounters, but it can also lead to allergy and asthma issues or even significant health problems.
Some types of mold can even attack a person’s central nervous system, making them highly toxic. Worse, once mold gets into your home, remediation can be a long, expensive, and difficult process. The best defense is a good offense, so be sure your insulation is in good shape to prevent mold problems in the first place.
- There are several types of commonly used home insulation.
The type of insulation you need to protect an area in your home can depend on the space. In addition to traditional insulation batts, wall insulation sheets and spray foam insulation are common options. Spray foam insulation is sprayed into walls where it completely seals up the space unlike any other type of insulation material.
- You can check your own insulation for gaps and weak points.
Although there’s no substitute for a professional insulation inspection, homeowners can give their insulation a check by following a few simple steps. Start by making a diagram of your floor plan including the location of your ceiling fans and lights, plumbing, vents, and chimneys. All of these areas represent potential points of vulnerability and should be examined closely.
Next, perform a visual inspection around all of your attic insulation, especially those vulnerable areas identified in your diagram, keeping an eye out for wet, dirty, or damaged insulation as well as poorly insulated areas and gaps.
Finally, use a box fan to pressurize your home and identify any attic leaks. Place the fan in one of your windows and tape cardboard around it to make sure it’s completely sealed. You’ll need to make sure all of your other doors and windows are completely closed and sealed for this to work correctly.
After turning on the fan, you should be able to identify areas where air is coming into your home easily because there will be a breeze where the air is pulling in. Snap photos of those areas and take down notes for your insulation contractor.
- Ice dams are a sign of poor insulation and ventilation.
When you think of a traditional Minnesota winter, you likely conjure up an image of snow-covered trees and glistening white roofs with icicles dangling off the eaves. While this iconic image is lovely, in reality, icicles are often associated with ice dams, which can cause serious damage to your roof.
But did you know that ice dams are caused by inadequate attic insulation and ventilation?
Here’s how it works. When your home heats up during the winter months, that heat rises through your attic. When your insulation is working as it should, it prevents that heat from flowing through your roof. However, poorly insulated and ventilated attics allow heat to conduct through your roof, where it melts the snow and ice that’s settled there.
As that snowmelt encounters the edge of your roof, it refreezes, where it creates ice dams that prevent water from running off your roof and through your gutter system. When water from your roof has nowhere to go, it seeps into your shingles, where it refreezes and causes the shingles to push up or pop off entirely. From there, it can damage your underlayment or even seep into your home.
If you’re concerned about ice dams, talk to our insulation contractors about a roof and attic inspection.
- R-value is important.
The insulating performance of a siding or insulation material is measured in R-value. R-value refers to how effective a material is at limiting the conduction of heat. The type of material, its density, and its thickness are all equally important when it comes to heat transfer.
A higher R-value offers better insulation, whereas a lower R-value is less insulating. In a climate as cold as Minnesota’s, a higher R-value insulation material is a must.
Get an Insulation Inspection and Update
Are drafts or cold spots maxing out your monthly energy costs? Talk to our insulation installers at Powers Premier Contracting to get a home energy audit and insulation inspection. We can recommend energy-saving solutions that help you tighten your budget while creating a more comfortable environment inside your home.
Call Powers Premier to connect with our insulation and remodeling contractors at 612-710-7283 or contact us online for a free estimate on home insulation services.