Most New Englanders are familiar with insulation and its crucial role in a household’s climate. Put plainly, insulation is the stuff that helps keep our home environment cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But there’s much more to it than that. And since it’s such an essential element of a house, it is indeed something inspectors examine during a standard home inspection. So, let’s go over the ins and outs of home insulation and what an inspector looks for.
Types of Insulation
There are many forms and materials that make up home insulation, each with their own benefits, drawbacks, and—in some cases—hazards. It’s a home inspector’s job to understand all of these types of insulation, but you can see it yourself, especially in an unfinished attic. Common materials include fiberglass, cellulose, foam, and rock wool, and can be applied to the space in blankets, blocks, concrete, spray-on, and loose, to name a few. Learn more about insulation types on the Energy.gov website.
What Does Insulation Do?
Aside from regulating a home’s climate, insulation and ventilation work in tandem throughout a house, fulfilling several key functions.
Promote Energy Efficiency
On top of maintaining temperature and reducing heat loss, insulation works to further save on energy costs by insulating hot water pipes.
Protect Against Moisture
Moisture is produced in a home by cooking, bathing, doing laundry, and even breathing. When in good balance, ventilation works to remove this damp air from the home while insulation keeps mold, mildew, and wood rot out.
Serve as a Noise Barrier
Insulation can serve as a barrier against sounds and prevent sound transfer, thus reducing noise pollution.
Where an Inspector Checks for Insulation
It’s an inspector’s job to ensure that a home’s insulation is sufficient and serving its purpose. You can expect them to look at all visible insulation, ventilation, and exhaust systems, typically found in the:
- Laundry room
- Other accessible, unfinished spaces, like a basement or crawl space.
Potential Problems Found with Home Insulation
Some problems an inspector may find with a home’s insulation are:
- Scarcity – Too little insulation
- Reversed Vapor Barrier – Barriers in fiberglass insulation installed the wrong way, leading to poor prevention of condensation
- Bad Condition – Over time, dust, debris, and even pest droppings can weigh down the insulation, making it dirty and saggy, causing poor performance
- Asbestos – Many homes built in the 1970s used insulation containing asbestos
Whether you’re buying or selling a house, Homeinex Corporation’s team of experts knows what to look for when it comes to insulation. They’ll be able to tell where to look for insulation, what condition it’s in, and how well it’s performing. When it’s time to book a home inspection, reach out to the professionals.