How does insulation deteriorate over time?

First, it’s important that you understand exactly how insulation works. To put it simply, it’s a layer of protection between your walls that keeps your inside temperature comfortable by taking the beating of hot air in summer and cold air in winter. Since insulation is always taking the heat for you— literally— installing it is not a one-time thing, although many homeowners forget to include insulation in their regular maintenance checklists.

Some of the major culprits in the deterioration of your insulation are moisture, dirt, chemical deterioration, exposure to sunlight, and natural wear and tear from aging. You can’t be sure that you don’t have any of these factors creeping in on your insulation until you check for yourself.

There are plenty of signs to look out for, like feeling a draft or noticing that your energy bills have skyrocketed, but you should also check your insulation when your home has been hit by an extreme storm, even if you haven’t noticed any signs yet. You could save yourself a lot of money and heartache if you catch a leak or potential leak before it soaks your insulation (which also leads to dangerous mold!).

Another threat to your comfort and also to your health are rodent infestations. Sometimes, especially in the winter, little furry friends will burrow through unnoticed openings that lead to your insulation. In the process of making your insulation into its perfect winter home, the rodent will have weakened the integrity of your insulation and implanted its diseases into your home.

Cellulose insulation actually repels rodents and insects, because of its active fire retardant, borate, which is also the most common ingredient in many household insecticides. We intentionally choose cellulose insulation with borate for this reason, as many other cellulose insulation options use ammonia sulfate as its fire retardant, which not only does not repel insects but has also been found to corrode metal.

While mold and rodents may have you checking your insulation every weekend, it may be deterioration over time that creeps in without you even noticing— until you find yourself shivering indoors and paying too much for energy bills.

Our experts say the quickest way to know that you need an insulation tune-up is to take a peek into your attic. If the beams and floor joists are showing, it’s time for new insulation!

Go ahead and check your home today. If you find areas where your insulation is deteriorated or has been damaged, you should call in an expert to carefully replace that insulation. Your biggest mistake would be to try to patch the damaged areas and create more opportunities for damage than you had before.

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