How Often Should Insulation Be Replaced?
The savings from good insulation are significant, lowering your bills for both heating and cooling. Making sure that the insulation in your home is not damaged or degrading over time is a priority.
So, does insulation need to be replaced, and how often?
Fact: Under the right conditions, insulation can last 80 to 100 years. But when rodents or moisture are a factor, insulation can degrade in as little as 15 years. Insulation that has been damaged so that it no longer gives you insulating value should be replaced.
The lifespan of Insulation Materials
Insulation is installed to last a long time. However, this is only sometimes the case. Insulation loses effectiveness when it can no longer provide airflow resistance. This means higher energy costs. The two most common causes of degrading insulation are animals and water.
Let’s look at the different types of insulation below.
Spray Foam Insulation: How Long Does it Last?
Reliable, durable, and airtight, spray foam has become very popular in new home construction. Another excellent feature is that spray foam insulation is resistant to mold and won’t absorb moisture. It can last a lifetime. Once it is installed, it needs to be cut away to remove it.
Animals can disturb your home’s spray foam insulation as well as other construction jobs. Otherwise, you may never have to replace spray foam insulation if not disturbed.
Fiberglass Insulation: How Long Does it Last?
Another popular choice is fiberglass insulation because it is easy to work with and is cost-effective. Batt insulation or blown in are two types of fiberglass insulation. These may last for 80 to 100 years unless it is exposed to moisture or mold and becomes damaged. When damaged, fiberglass insulation can start failing in about 15 to 20 years.
The biggest problem that damages fiberglass insulation is moisture. This insulation must remain fluffy and light to maintain the insulating R-Value. It is very absorbent, so if there is water, it can begin to grow mold. A roof leak or damp crawl space can cause moisture, and replacement is necessary regardless of age.
Suppose age compresses your fiberglass insulation (by age or storage in attic space). In that case, it loses effectiveness and needs to be replaced.
Cellulose Insulation: How Long Does it Last?
Made from recycled materials, cellulose insulation is eco-friendly. By blocking air movement, it is considered more effective than fiberglass insulation.
Cellulose insulation has a lifespan of only 20 to 30 years and will begin to degrade naturally about 15 years after installation.
Cellulose insulation works well as secondary insulation type that is blown in over fiberglass batt or other insulations that have a longer life. So, it is more environmentally safe, but it only has about twenty-five percent of the life expectancy of other types of insulation.
Like other common types of insulation, cellulose insulation is vulnerable to mold growth due to damage from moisture. If cellulose insulation gets wet, it needs replacement regardless of age.
Mineral Wool Insulation: How Long Does it Last?
Mineral wool is considered to be a durable insulation type that is available in batts, rolls, and blown-in.
Mineral wool insulation lifespan can be from 30 to 80 years, and depends on what base material is used, like glass, slag wool, or rock wool.
Mineral wool insulation is also vulnerable to mold growth due to damage from moisture. Regardless of age, if this happens it needs to be replaced.
Mineral wool insulation is an acceptalbe secondary insulation that is blown in over fiberglass batt or other longer-life insulations.
Before New Insulation is Installed Does old insulation need to be Removed?
Yes, you can install new insulation over existing insulation in attics, provided the insulation doesn’t have water damage or mold present. Experts suggest that adding new insulation over the existing insulation is acceptable. Installing new insulation over existing old insulation applies to attic insulation. You should replace crawl space insulation and wall insulation.
How Long Does Exterior Wall Insulation Last?
Wall insulation should last the life of your home. There is less exposure to animals and weather, but if it was not installed well, it may end up degrading faster than it should.
Wall insulations can last up to 80 years or longer without needing replacement.
Unless you live in a hundred-year-old home, you probably won’t need to replace your exterior wall insulation. Old houses are not as energy-efficient because they allow the free flow of air. Older homes have lower insulation levels and are less airtight than newer construction.
Opening exterior walls require removing outer wall siding or plaster from the interior wall. Because of the problems with exposure to asbestos or lead-based paint, many people choose to live in draftier older homes.
At Installed Services, we insulate new homes using traditional batt insulation, blown in fiberglass for walls and ceilings, and foam insulation for your protection from air infiltration.
Our professional Energy Consultant will inspect your home from the attic to the basement.
Our trained professional installers are courteous and will always clean up after the job is done.
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