There are several reasons buying an old house is an attractive prospect: history, architectural details, and probably even a stable foundation. But an often overlooked aspect of old houses is its energy efficiency. Since old houses were built at a time where modern insulation like blown-in insulation wasn’t the norm, installation or replacement is a likelihood when you buy an old house.
Fortunately, adding insulation is relatively easy and can be completed within a day. But why would you need the added insulation in the first place?
Insulation and Energy-Efficiency
The objective of energy efficiency is to reduce the required energy to accomplish a task. Insulation reduces the energy requirement for interior cooling and heating, which makes a home more energy-efficient. The outer energy envelope—the attic, walls, siding, doors, windows, and skylights—require proper insulation for maximum efficiency.
Common Problem Areas
Attic – Attic insulation is traditionally installed either on the attic floor or between the rafters and trusses if the homeowner used the attic for storage. Sheet insulation is the traditional choice. While it is relatively easy to install, it’s not as effective as it tends to leave gaps that can compromise its overall performance. Fortunately, blown-in home insulation can replace old roll insulation.
Exterior walls – Uninsulated walls are easy to test during winter or summer; if the wall is as cold (or hot) as outside, then it is inadequately insulated. Unlike the attic, exterior walls will require some sort of access for blown-in insulation, either through especially-sited holes or—worst case—it may require a major renovation, depending on the condition of the walls themselves.
Crawl space – For structures with crawl spaces, make sure the floor is insulated. Crawl spaces tend to be neglected through the years and can benefit from fresh insulation.
When you’re unsure whether your old home has proper insulation, consider having your a Home Energy Efficiency Audit conducted on your home. Our home energy specialists are Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified, and can conduct a whole house energy audit, find problem areas, and prepare a plan that will focus on improvements that your home will need the most.
WMGB Home Improvement serves Grand Rapids, MI and nearby areas. To know more about our services, including ice dam removal, call us today at (616) 328-6625 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation quote.