“How do I know when to replace my attic insulation?” Homeowners always ask me this question, especially those with older houses.
Replacing old insulation is crucial to protecting your home (and your energy bill) from outside elements. Here are four clues that it’s time:
1. Upstairs feels colder
Copyright Rachel Coleman, 2010.
If you think about it, your attic insulation is like a winter hat for your home. If the hat is worn out, you’ll feel it near the top of the house.
This may mean colder bedrooms upstairs, cold closets, or chilly floors. This may also be a situation in which you need to seal air leaks in your attic.
Note that in the summertime this is reversed. Upstairs will feel warm because the cold air is escaping through your attic.
2. Energy bills increase
If your energy bills have gone up, this could be a sign that your insulation is getting old. As fiberglass insulation ages, it degrades, leaving gaps where air can escape.
In other words, your heater or air conditioner needs to work even harder to maintain the temperature inside your home. Replacing insulation is a great way to keep your conditioned air inside and lower energy bills.
3. The insulation looks old and ugly
Copyright Sealed Inc., 2016
Like many of us, insulation doesn’t age well. Attics are open to the outside air, leaving them vulnerable to dust, mice, roaches, raccoons, dirt, wind, heat, and cold. Unsurprisingly, old insulation will sometimes lose its yellow or pink hue and become gray and dusty.
Go up into your attic and take a peek. Like what you see? If not, it may be time to replace it.
4. It does not meet Department of Energy (DOE) standards
The DOE has spent a lot of money researching effective insulation levels. Why not take advantage of those studies?
For New York and New Jersey, the DOE recommends 15 inches of attic insulation. Anything below that number may lose you money and conditioned air.
You may not need to replace your insulation—you may just need more of it. Check out the DOE’s website to see the recommended level for your region. It’s likely you’re under-insulated.