How Long Does Home Insulation Last?
How long home insulation lasts depends on the material and various factors that can reduce its lifespan. Some materials hold up longer than others. Nonetheless, home insulation doesn’t last forever. If you have an older home or insulation that was installed decades ago, you should consult with a home insulation contractor. Here’s a closer look at how long it may last and when to consider replacing it.
Average Lifespan and Insulation Type
Every insulating material has its benefits and expected lifespan. Therefore, knowing the type of insulation in your home helps determine whether to look into replacing it. Here are some common insulating materials and their typical lifespans:
- Polyurethane Foam: Otherwise known as spray foam insulation, it can last a lifetime. It does not hold moisture, is mold-resistant, and does not move on its own. However, extreme weather, construction activities, or pest infestations can cause problems, resulting in the need to replace polyurethane foam insulation.
- Fiberglass: This cost-effective insulation can last 80 to 100 years unless it’s damaged. But fiberglass batts vary in quality, so they may start to fail after 15 or 20 years. Therefore, schedule an inspection or energy audit if it’s been that long since it was installed. Fiberglass batts should look fluffy, dry, and free of mold.
- Cellulose: Eco-friendly and effective at blocking air, cellulose insulation is resistant to degrading over time. It’s made mostly of recycled materials. Typically, it can last 20 to 30 years but can start to degrade by 15 years. Cellulose is often installed as a supplement to other materials, but if it degrades, you can start to feel the effects.
- Mineral Wool: This durable and increasingly popular form of insulation can last several decades. Various factors can shorten its lifespan. Even if you have longer-lasting insulating materials elsewhere, deteriorating mineral wool can cause problems, especially if other materials are compromised or were improperly installed.
Signs It’s Time for New Home Insulation
Insulation is hidden in the walls, ceilings, and attic of your home. You can’t usually see it deteriorating, but there are signs that suggest it may be time to call a contractor to take a look. Here are some reasons to call:
- The temperature in your home fluctuates or is uneven.
- Your home is always too hot or too cold.
- There are drafts throughout your home.
- Sudden or gradual increases in your energy bill.
- Frequent allergies or illnesses in your household.
- Condensation, high humidity, or frequent water leaks.
- Problems with mice, rats, squirrels, insects, and other pests.
- Ice dams form on your roof in winter.
- Insulation is sagging, shifting, breaking down, falling, or wet.
The location of the signs you notice can point to where the problem is. For example, if your floors are cold, insulation in the crawl space may be sagging or breaking up. If your walls are cold to the touch or surfaces or dishes in kitchen cabinets are cold, have a contractor check the insulation in the exterior walls. Meanwhile, temperature control issues throughout your home or ice dams on your roof indicate an attic insulation problem, which allows warm air from the inside to escape.
Deteriorated insulation can create a wide range of issues. If you can see your home insulation (it’s typically most visible in the attic), it should look fluffy and uniform. Replace it if it’s saturated with moisture, full of mold, has shifted to one side or another, or if it’s formed a big pile in the middle.
What Causes Home Insulation to Deteriorate?
No matter the expected lifespan of an insulating material, it can deteriorate depending on the conditions. It will have to be replaced sooner if:
- Water has leaked from the roof or the roof is water-damaged.
- Temperature fluctuations have caused condensation, which in turn causes mold to grow in insulation.
- The insulation has been punctured or otherwise damaged.
- Dust has built up on the insulation, making it less effective.
- A storm or fire has damaged your home.
- You have an older home that may have shoddy, poorly installed insulation.
- Batt or loose fill insulation was used.
Schedule a Home Insulation Audit or Replacement
Insulation is found throughout your home, including in exterior walls, floors, attics, crawlspaces, basements, foundations, and air ducts. NexGen is the #1 HVAC contractor in Southern California and specializes in installing and replacing home insulation. We can determine where your insulation needs to be replaced and the best insulating materials to use to improve comfort, safety, and efficiency. The right insulation can keep heating and cooling costs under control. To learn more and schedule an appointment, call (833) 729-9735 today.