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4 Things to Understand When Improving Your House Insulation in a Contained Area

energy efficiency | FAQ | existing home insulation

4 Things to Understand When Improving Your House Insulation in a Contained Area Blog Feature
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on April 24th, 2019

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Insulating a problem wall or room that is constantly uncomfortable makes a lot of sense, but there are some things you need to keep in mind.

You are only noticing this insulation problem in one area, but it could be just a symptom of a larger problem lurking in your home. Inadequate or no insulation has a funny way of showing itself, so it’s something to consider when addressing these problems.

Now we’re not saying you always have to insulate your entire house all at once all the time. But what we are saying is to make sure you know what is happening in your home so you can make a plan of attack.

RetroFoam of Michigan has been helping homeowners make their homes more comfortable since 2002. We understand things like stack effect and building envelopes and what difference those things can play in the comfort of your home.

Let’s take a look at the things you need to understand when updating your home insulation in small, contained areas.

Adding House Insulation

Whether you’re looking to insulate the one wall in your home that’s always cold or the spare bedroom that serves as a sauna in the summer, there are some things to consider.

  • Are you insulating for savings on energy bills or comfort? These are both important issues to remedy in your home, but you have to take some things into consideration. If you insulate just one part of your house, the air leakage you’re experiencing will just move to another area, therefore not helping with those monthly bills. The exact same is true if you want to make just that one room more comfortable. We’ll talk more about the moving air leaks in just a minute.

  • Each area of your home works as a system. If you only insulate one room of your house, it can throw off the total system that is your house. There is a reason insulation contractors talk about the whole house system. When you insulate your home, you want to seal the building envelope. The building envelope separates your living space from the outside environment. If you only seal one room or area, you will eventually have to think about other areas of your home. If your expectation is an energy efficient home, eventually insulating the entire building envelope will be a necessity.

  • The problem could move to another area of your home. You thought you fixed the cold walls in your living room, but now you’re noticing more cold drafts in your bathroom. This is stack effect. Basically, the air finds its way in and moves throughout the house anywhere it can get. So, if you insulate the wall in your living room, that air will move around to the next uninsulated wall or uninsulated room.

  • Geography can play a role in your home’s comfort. Did you know the north side is colder and the west side of your home can be hotter than the rest of the house? These are also the areas of your home that can allow that air movement you don’t want inside. If you only insulate the north wall, the outside cold air can still get in through your crawl space, rim joist, or attic.

If you find that you are going to insulate your home in sections, there’s nothing wrong with that. The most important thing to keep in mind is sealing up the building envelope so the air you pay to heat or cool stays inside while those outside temperatures stay out where they belong.

Solving Your Home’s Insulation Problem

No matter what you decide to do when it comes to improving your home insulation, you’re already taking a step in the right direction.

Fixing the problems that pop up is the first step to taking back control of your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. If you want to see what other signs and symptoms could arise from lack of insulation, check out the checklist on our website.

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About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.