Could heat be leaking from your home? When you turn up the thermostat, you want to heat your home, not the entire neighbourhood. That is precisely what happens when your home is under-insulated. Often, poor insulation is an inexpensive issue with a quick fix – if you act fast! It is possible that a mild leak could lead to a safety hazard and soaring energy bills if not repaired quickly. The more serious the insulation issue, the more likely you will require a professional’s help.
The following are ten indicators of poor insulation to watch out for and how to fix them.
As a first step, you can try a thermal leak detector (which will make undertaking your insulation inspection easier and cost nothing to try) if you suspect you have insulation problems. Touch the walls around your home next. If the walls are much colder than the surroundings or if they feel damp, you should suspect insulation problems.
The cold walls indicate that the heat you are generating by your furnace won’t stay around long enough to warm them. Additionally, as warm air comes into contact with the cold wall, it is cooled as well.
As the temperature of a room and wall equalizes in a properly insulated house, the air in the room will be contained. The lack of insulation creates a vicious cycle in which your furnace has to work overtime to keep the temperature up.
As this is just the beginning of insulation problems, you’ll want to rule out any unnecessary upgrades or changes first. Cold walls may be accompanied by some of the following more serious signs of damage.
Hailstorms, accidents and anomalies can leave your exterior walls damaged. Looking at that hole in your siding should really prompt you to patch it up immediately. A wall’s job is to keep the air inside. Consequently, that hole you’ve been procrastinating about fixing is a way for warm furnace air to escape.
Spackling paste from a hardware store can be used to fill holes or cracks that are less than ¼ inch wide relatively quickly, easily, and inexpensively. In the case of vinyl siding, if the gap is not too large, find an extra piece of siding and use spackle to cover the hole. A carpenter can replace panels damaged by more extensive damage without requiring the wall to be repaired completely.
Do you see little visitors living rent-free in your house? If they’re coming inside, then the warm air is going outside. Check for gaps where doors and windows meet the wall. If you see mice scurrying around or notice mice droppings, look for any mouseholes they have used for themselves (or any other entry points).
Thermal leak detectors can be very helpful in this situation, as they help you pinpoint any holes in the walls that would cause the temperature to change.
You can fill in small gaps along window panes and door frames with the help of a little painter’s tape and caulking. Spackling paste and wall repair kits, available at hardware stores for a reasonable price, can be used to fill in small and medium-sized holes.
There are many forms of internal moisture. This can be seen as puddles accumulating around your house or condensation forming on your window panes or sliding downpipes. When something is constantly colder than the ambient temperature, it works against the room’s temperature just like cold walls do.
Exposed pipes will likely burst, freeze or leak during colder temperatures, which will require more money to repair. Additionally, moisture can become a more complicated problem in a short amount of time.
For exposed pipes, you can buy pipe insulation foam which is very inexpensive. A window insulation kit can also be purchased from hardware stores at a reasonable price and completed in approximately 30 minutes.
Mould can impact your walls, floors, or insulation fibres if you see recurrent puddles accompanied by green, grey, or black spots. Those who are sensitive to mould may suffer respiratory issues as a result of this toxic substance. Shortness of breath or worsening asthma are some of the symptoms, as well as eye irritation, a runny nose, phlegm in the throat, and chronic cough are other symptoms. It is imperative to eliminate mould immediately after it begins to grow. Cold walls and condensation provide the perfect habitat for these fungi, hence why they may be a sign of larger insulation issues.
Start by identifying where the moisture in your home is coming from. Wearing disposable N95 masks, safety goggles, and household gloves is recommended while cleaning mould. A complete guide to washing mould off walls is available from the Government of Canada. If the mould is extensive, however, professional help is needed.
When you feel a strong wind or current in your room, it means cold air is coming in. Essentially, your warm air is being expelled. You can sometimes feel cold air currents around closed windows, doors, and light switches in older houses.
Seal all the exits that your warm air is escaping to. It is easy to caulk over small leaks around your light switches and around windows. Be sure to check your weatherstripping (the rubber seal) around your windows and doors if there are larger leaks. However, if you are renovating, think about upgrading your windows and doors to higher energy-efficiency ones. The same is true for storm doors, which are designed to provide ventilation when desired and keep the outside air out.
Ice dangling from the eaves can be expensive very quickly. An ice dam can fall onto pedestrians below, taking the house’s eaves with it. When the heat from the attic escapes, the bottom layer of snow on the roof is melted, forming icicles. After the water meets the cold air along the eaves, it refreezes. When you chip away at ice dams, you may damage shingles on your roof below or get hurt from the falling ice and snow.
By using a combination of insulation foam and caulk in the attic, you can ensure your warm air doesn’t escape and remains trapped within your attic. You can also vent the roof, which will allow any warm air that might have escaped the attic walls to run while drawing in cool air to keep the snow chilled.
You notice that your insulation looks dull, grey, wet (or worse — mouldy!) Do you know how often insulation should be replaced? The answer is approximately 15 years.
The job should be handled by a professional. That way, it’s a lot safer. Asbestos or fibreglass may be released during DIY insulation removal, particularly in older houses.
There is no doubt that asbestos is associated with lung diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer. Still, fibreglass fibres can also irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs and intensify respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. Because of this, municipalities typically regulate the way fibreglass is disposed of. Hiring a professional inspector will be more expensive, but you’ll be safer.
To find out more, call Scarborough Disposal at (416) 265 7979 or contact us here. When people move, they often take the opportunity to declutter and get rid of many items they don’t need anymore.