You may not often correlate your insulation with the air you breathe in your home. After all, insulation is just to keep your house warmer in the winter, right?
Wrong! Insulation works all year round to keep your home temperatures stable, by preventing heat from escaping in the winter and heat from infiltrating in the winter. However, old, outdated insulation can also negatively affect the air you breathe and even increase the negative health symptoms you experience at home. Here are the three ways your old insulation can impact your indoor air quality (IAQ), and how upgrading your insulation can help.
1. Water Damage & Mold Issues
Time will erode the effectiveness of most insulation. But one thing that will, without fail, render insulation useless is moisture.
Water will deplete the heat-resisting qualities of both fiberglass and cellulose insulation, and can accelerate the mold growth process. Unattended wet and moldy insulation can cause a number of symptoms for the people in your home, such as:
Runny nose and postnasal drip
Coughing and wheezing
Itchy and dry eyes, nose, and throat
Dry skin and irritation
Mice, birds, insects, and other pests may be better suited to survive in the harsh New England winters than us humans are, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t tempted by a cozy home made up of the fuzzy insulation in your attic or crawl space.
Pests can introduce unwanted particles into your home, which can be sucked into your breathing air or even your ductwork. If you have noticed pest feces, or are hearing something skittering in the walls, professional pest removal should be your first immediate step.
From there, you will need to replace the outdated insulation rendered useless by the pest infestation, and seal up any existing air leaks that may have allowed pests inside in the first place.
3. VOCs & Indoor Pollutants
You may have already heard about the vermiculite insulation that was contaminated with asbestos for most of the last century, but that isn’t the only reason why old insulation can cause poor IAQ. As insulation deteriorates, it can introduce more dust particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your air.
This can exacerbate allergy symptoms and allergic reactions, especially in older homes.
The Solution? Upgrade your Insulation!
Your health isn’t the only reason to upgrade your insulation — if your outdated fiberglass batt or blown in insulation has deteriorated to the point of affecting your IAQ, it is also likely affecting the overall comfort of your home as well. Professionally installing new insulation will stabilize your indoor temperatures, and save you money on your heating and cooling bills throughout the year!
The team at EnergySmart of Vermont can locate and diagnose your insulation issues through our professional energy audit, and recommend the right type of insulation for your unique needs.