While older homes may have more character than new constructions, they are often drafty during winter months and too hot in the summer due to window air leaks and lack of insulation. This problem is particularly common in houses built before the sixties when insulation was a luxury only for the elites.
Heating and Cooling Options If There Is No Insulation in House
While there are alternative heating and cooling options to HVAC–e.g., ductless mini-split heat pump and AC, attic fan, and even the good ol’ windows–HVAC and insulation company Sharpline Mechanical warns that these are not enough to compensate for a poorly insulated home.
According to its website, a poorly insulated home will force the heating and cooling systems to work harder than necessary, which over time can affect their lifespan and result in an expensive electricity bill.
Simply put, insulation and cooling and heating systems should always go hand in hand.
Once you have installed insulation in your home, you may opt for these more practical–and usually more affordable–cooling and heating systems.
During summer and rainy months, too much humidity may accumulate in your attic, resulting in mold and uncomfortable temperatures. To maintain a more even temperature, you may want to install an attic fan to circulate heat throughout your house.
The use of ductless mini-splits to heat and cool your home is an excellent alternative to a centralized HVAC system if you want to be more energy-efficient.
During the sweltering heat of the summer months, cracking your window open at night can lower your home’s indoor temperature, whereas installing window films can reduce solar heat by up to 78%.
Weather-proofing or sealing the areas around your windows is also a great way to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
What Is the Best Insulation for Older Homes?
If you want to insulate an old home without damaging its craftsmanship and charming design, the general rule of thumb is to hire a professional contractor who has been handling remodeling projects for years.
The Attic and Roof: The Most Important Part of Remodeling
If you live in a region with a mild climate, you may do away with the traditional in-wall insulation and just rely on a heating and cooling system to enjoy a comfortable home environment. However, never skimp on attic and roof insulation if you want to maintain a comfortable temperature and pay for an electricity bill that does hurt your budget.
Studies have shown that, on average, a quarter of home’s heat is lost through the roof and attic, making insulation a necessity rather than an option if your goal is to reduce your energy consumption and enjoy a comfortable home environment. With proper insulation in this “critical area,” it is estimated that homeowners can save up to 20% on energy consumption.
If you add insulation to your roof and attic, you will also need ventilation to prevent too much humidity linked to mildew and mold growth. Prolonged bouts of excess moisture can also ruin the paint of your house, ceiling, and even its structural integrity, especially wood components.
A professional will pay close attention to the gaps around the ceiling fans, light fixtures, chimneys, exhaust fans, wiring, and ductwork in the roof to prevent air leaks. He will also check for crevices and cracks around the vents and windows to further improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Preventing Air Leak in Basement and Crawl Spaces
Sealing the crawl spaces and basement is another cost-effective way to install insulation to an existing home. The idea is to close any cracks and gaps around the air vents, basement windows, pipes, and wiring using waterproof sealing compounds. For additional protection, you can add a moisture barrier to your floor and wall.
Just like the attic, crawl spaces are also prone to excess humidity that causes mold and mildew, which can lead to serious health risks. To prevent condensation and mold growth, a professional will cover the insulation with a vapor barrier.
Cavity and Solid Walls Insulation
While you might be tempted to DIY your in-wall insulation, for the most part, it is better to hire a professional to do this “tricky” project. Take note that many homeowners have made the “expensive” mistake of drilling holes in walls to blow in cellulose insulation and then sealing the holes back. This DIY project often leads to condensation, which eventually ruins the walls, paint, and wood, and also causes mold growth.
Meanwhile, the solid walls of an existing house are generally more difficult to insulate. But if you’re on a tight budget, you may opt for internal insulation; however, you have to keep in mind that it is less energy efficient than the more expensive but better performing exterior insulation.
If you need HVAC or home insulation service, contact Sharpline Mechanical at 530-248-2131. For over 15 years, the company has served thousands of residential and commercial clients in Northern California.