As you might expect, the easiest time to add insulation to a home is while it’s being built. However, if you live in an older home that doesn’t meet today’s stringent insulation standards, your energy bills could be suffering. It’s possible to add more insulation to hard-to-reach places, including finished walls, if you use the right techniques.
How to Tell If You Need More Wall Insulation
The age of your home is your first clue.
- If it was built before 1960, you can almost guarantee the walls are not insulated.
- In 1965, installing wall insulation became the new standard. Still, unless you’ve added insulation since then, it’s probably only two inches thick.
- Starting in 1971, thicker fiberglass insulation began being used in walls. If your home was built after this date, wall insulation was definitely installed, but it may have settled or become damaged since then.
You can also check the insulation level yourself.
- Touch the walls when it’s bitter cold outside. If they feel cold to the touch, they’re probably not insulated.
- Aim a thermal-imaging camera at the wall on a particularly cold winter day. Dark areas on the wall show where more cold air is entering, suggesting that insulation is lacking in that spot.
- Remove an electrical outlet from an exterior wall (remember to turn off the power first). Shine a flashlight around inside and see if you can spot any insulation. It helps if you have a small camera you can insert into the wall cavity as well. Check behind several outlets around your home.
- Drill a half-inch or larger hole inside a closet or other inconspicuous spot. Shine a flashlight around inside (and use camera if you have one) to see what you can see.
How to Add Insulation to a Finished Wall
If you determine your walls could benefit from additional insulation, the best option is to install blown-in insulation. However, you should only pursue this option if your home has a vapor barrier. Otherwise, moisture from outdoor air will condense on the insulation, wetting it and inviting termites and dry rot. Professionals will be able to determine the best kind material for your home.
For more advice about how to add insulation to the existing walls of your old or historic home, contact Broken Drum Insulation of Bakersfield today.