If your energy bills keep going up, you might have an insulation problem. Over time, insulation wears down. Weather, critters and general age can degrade your home’s temperature protection. That said, you can find out how long your insulation will last before a swap-out is needed. Depending on your home’s insulation type, you’ll be protected for a few decades. That said, a few factors can greatly reduce your insulation’s lifespan.
Typical Insulation Lifespan
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors states that spray foam insulation, wrap tape and housewrap insulation can last for more than 80 years. At the same time, cellulose, loose-fill, foamboard, loose fill and rock wool insulation can last up to 100 years. This might seem like a long time, but many homeowners neglect their property’s history. Often, homeowners purchase a property with old insulation. When this happens, their estimation of their insulation’s lifespan may be overestimated.
What Affects the Lifespan of Insulation?
Your home’s insulation is durable, and modern insulation is resistant to weather and humidity. That said, all insulation is weak to several factors. Even if you’re using modern insulation, you’ll need to check for water damage. Roof leaks can cause insulation degradation over time, as forming mold can corrode the exterior and interior of insulation.
Additionally, any punctured surfaces can render an entire length of insulation ineffective. Batt insulation, such as cellulose or fiberglass, can fall down from ceilings and crawl spaces after about 15 years. If this happens, any “blank spots” created might harbor mold growth. Over time, these gaps can become dirty or be bogged down by dust. Dirty insulation segments are less effective than untouched sections, and they can quickly become degraded.
Installing the Best Insulation
While time can damage any type of insulation, different types of insulation have advantages against regular degradation.
Fiberglass is the most popular type of insulation. It’s inexpensive, and it’s easily installed in exposed attic ceilings and floors. It’s incredibly defensible against humid environments, and it’s highly durable. Easily installed, fiberglass can protect your home for many years.
Spray Foam Insulation
While spray foam insulation is a little more expensive than fiberglass, it’s better at sealing air leaks, preventing water leaks and avoiding mold growth. It’s a modern insulation choice, and its instant installation possibilities make it an incredibly popular alternative to other insulation types. Because it has fewer leaks than other types of insulation, humidity damage check-ups aren’t needed as often.
Cellulose insulation is crafted from recycled paper. It’s a green option, and it can be inserted into closed spaces, wall gaps and attics with ease. It’s also fire retardant. Next to foamboard insulation—which is compressed—cellulose insulation is your best bet for floorboard insulation.
Whichever insulation you choose, talk to your provider about constant check-ups. Your insulation can degrade over time, and it’s your responsibility to make sure it lasts. If you’re buying a used home, talk to the previous owner about their insulation. Or, access the household’s maintenance history. By keeping the insulation up to date, you can ensure a happy, healthy lifestyle.
MN, W. (2017). How Long Does Insulation Last?. [online] Window World. Available at: https://www.windowworldmn.com/Blog/entryid/120/how-long-does-insulation-last [Accessed 8 Nov. 2018].