Cooler weather makes it more comfortable to check your insulation in the attic and walls. Homes that were built before the 1980s when energy was cheap may lack either one, which drives up heating and cooling costs. Of all the energy efficiency improvements homeowners make, increasing the insulation provides the highest financial return.
Checking the Attic
Given the dusty nature of Yuma, you may want to wear a face mask and protective clothing when checking the attic. You’ll need a ruler or metal tape measure to find the depth throughout the attic. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that homes in this region have between 13 and 20 inches of fiberglass batts or loose insulation for adequate thermal protection.
The insulation should be spread evenly across the attic, and the soffit vents shouldn’t be blocked. Over time, loose insulation can shift from strong winds. Look for areas that appear exceptionally dusty, damp, or moldy. Roof or plumbing leaks can damage insulation, and dusty areas may indicate ductwork leaks.
Inspecting the Walls
The most effective way to assess wall insulation is to remove the face plates from electrical outlets that sit on exterior walls. After turning off their circuit breakers and removing the plates, look inside. You might be able to glimpse the amount of insulation inside that particular area.
If not, use a barbed plastic plumbing snake designed for clearing drains. When you use them to check your insulation in walls, insert them beside the electrical box and pull them out. They will grab the insulation on each of their barbs, giving you an idea of its depth.
Some handy do-it-yourselfers can add attic insulation, but increasing wall insulation is more challenging. When the pros do it, they use hole saws and blow in loose insulating products. They might also use expanding foam, although this is the more expensive (and effective) choice.
The time you take to check your insulation will give you an idea about how well your home resists temperature change. For more information, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company, providing HVAC services for Yuma-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.