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What to Know About Insulation When Buying a House

Real Estate | existing home insulation

What to Know About Insulation When Buying a House Blog Feature
Eric Garcia

By: Eric Garcia on August 31st, 2022

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Pressure mounts when you’re in the home-buying process.

There’s the stress of putting in your bid, researching the neighborhood, consuming as much knowledge about a home’s intricacies, and a lot more.

One detail you won’t want to overlook when perusing a house you hope to transform into your dream home is its insulation.

One of the first things you want to do when in the home-buying process is to ask the agent what type of insulation is in the home. Furthermore, ask for gas and electric bill history for the home. This will give you a good idea of how well the home’s insulation is functioning.

Anyone serious about selling their home should have this information readily available. If the current homeowner doesn’t have the info, a home inspector will be able to pull it up for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the other things you need to know about your dream home’s insulation.

Does the Home Have Fiberglass Insulation?

Fiberglass insulation is an old technology that is not as effective as other options.

There are a few signs that indicate insulation will need to be replaced or improved upon. Here's what you should look for.

Fiberglass in the Walls or Attic

Fiberglass in the walls or attic definitely needs to be updated since it’s been proven to break down and settle over time.

Because of this, its ability to insulate the home diminishes as its R-Value decreases by 40 percent – potentially costing you money that you could have otherwise saved.

Cold Temperature Reaction

When the temperature outside is below 20 degrees, fiberglass loses up to 40 percent of its effectiveness.

That percentage increases to 50 percent when the temperature drops below zero.

Install Must Be Perfect

Finally, with its lower R-Values, fiberglass must be installed perfectly to be effective at normal temperatures.

The material also allows for some airflow even when installed correctly.

Does the Home Have Cellulose Insulation?

Cellulose is not the best insulation for an attic. It’s acceptable – but you will have to maintain it.

Maintaining Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is only effectively used in an attic as long as at least 12-inches have been installed.

The material’s R-Value is generally around 3.7 per inch. However, it loses effectiveness over time due to settling and shifting.

Cellulose Can Leave a Mess

Additionally, as loose-fill insulation, cellulose tends to find itself throughout a home’s ductwork, walls, and fixtures.

More Isn’t Necessarily Better

A common insulation misunderstanding is that more is better, but that’s not the case.

Just because you get a peek within the attic and see a lot of insulation doesn’t mean you’re squared away, and everything is good to go.

Adding too much insulation potentially causes a slew of problems, including moisture issues, the insulation's weight, and structure damage from the material drifting.

More isn’t always better, but properly installed insulation is.

The Roof Can Signal Insulation Problems

The condition of the roof can also signal insulation problems.

If you notice the roof is shot, shriveled, or burnt from the sun, that is a sure sign of inadequate insulation or ventilation.

Find a Home Inspector Who Offers a Home Energy Audit

When it’s time for a home inspection, it helps to find an inspector who does a home energy audit.

A home energy audit provides insight through diagnostic testing into where and how a home loses energy. This will display the current insulation's effectiveness and if it will need upgrading or additional insulation in some spaces.

Buying Your Dream Home

Buying a home is about knowing what you’re getting into.

You most likely have a budget and need to consider all potential future costs, not just the price of the home.

Knowing the insulation situation saves you dollars upfront and in the long-term as you avoid any future problems.

If the insulation in your new home needs an upgrade, call us at 866-900-3626 to request an estimate or fill out the form on our website.

Related Articles

5 Things to Buy and Replace When You Buy a New House

Should I Replace Old Insulation in My Existing Home?

How to Tell if a Wall is Insulated

Home Insulation Find a RetroFoam Dealer

About Eric Garcia

Eric brings his knowledge and training in building science, training in spray and injection foams from the manufacturers, more than 8 years installing foam insulation, as well as selling and managing in the foam insulation industry. He is also BPI and Dale Carnegie certified and has taken several building science courses including air sealing and building envelope. Eric’s responsibilities include overseeing and giving support to all of the branches of the RetroFoam of Michigan company, office, estimates, and installs. He is also the Professor of Foam on our educational YouTube series Foam University. Even when Eric is off he is usually still “working” or thinking about work, but when he can get away he enjoys camping, hiking, hunting, and woodwork.