Know the Warning Signs!

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I was recently asked, how do you know if I need insulation or improvements to make my home more energy efficient.  Some ways we check is with a thermal Camera.  Thermal cameras can detect the slightest difference in temperature showing us leaks, missing insulation, poor seals and areas which need improving.  We also ask questions, like a detective would, to better understand the problems.  Do you need more insulation? Or better insulation? Odds are, if your home was not specifically built for energy efficiency, it’s a good idea to re-insulate.   However, there are other signs that will let you know if new or more insulation is needed.

In the Attic
If you detect moisture in your attic, or condensation on your vents, you’re likely to have insulation problems.  The recommended amount of insulation in your attic is usually about twelve to thirteen inches. You should also consider installing an insulated cap to the access door to your attic to keep out drafts and heat, if the access door is located inside the home.  While attic issues are very common in older homes, they can be present in newer homes as well.  So it’s always a good idea to check the attic!

High Energy Bills
You think you’ve done everything you can to keep your house running efficiently. But your bills continue to rise, which can signal that your insulation is failing you. If you notice your AC constantly running or if you turn it off in the summer it suddenly feels like a desert. These can be signs your insulation is failing you.  Cooling and heating systems are necessary to maintain a consistent level of comfort in your home, but they shouldn’t be working overtime.

Hot and Cold Rooms
If your living room is a sauna, and your bedroom feels like the Arctic, this is a major red flag. It happens because not all of your insulation will necessarily fail you at the same time. Some rooms may be perfectly comfortable, while others suddenly are not.  Check the walls of interior closets to see if they are hot. You may never have noticed it before. If you’re lucky, only certain rooms will need new or additional insulation, and the rest of your house may be fine.

Your Current Insulation
This one may be obvious, but if your insulation is crumbly, outdated and wouldn’t meet today’s building codes, you’ll need to replace it. If you know that the insulation is old, don’t take matters into your own hands, consult with professionals. The reason is simple, sometimes it’s best not to disturb older insulation, as it may contain toxic chemicals like asbestos. In these cases, professionals will apply new insulation over the existing insulation. If it’s safe to remove, let the experts remove it properly to eliminate any danger.

Cracks in all the Wrong Places
If you spot cracks around your doors and windows, this could be an easy, do-it-yourself fix. If they’re small cracks, apply some caulk to seal them. There’s no complex test for figuring out if you’ve solved the problem. Simply place your hand on the area to see if you feel any drafts. Whatever you do, don’t let these go unchecked. Sometimes a few cracks are all it takes to let enough cool air escape that results in high energy bills.

Last but not least, if you spot any mice droppings or other indicators that pests have infiltrated your home, this could seriously compromise the integrity of your building structure. Insects and other pests can eat away at what is called “the building envelope.” Another danger is moisture, which can cause some kinds of insulation to collapse when they become damp. This will create gaps that invite air through the building as well.

Chris Balzer is Founder and President of Emerald Coast Energy Solutions which is a Smile Provider Company.  We provide smiles to our customers after installing our high energy efficient products, increasing comfort and lowering energy bills.  For more information on how to save and become energy efficient schedule an inspection by calling (850) 588-2870, visit or email and Beat the Heat.

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