How to Know if Your Roof is Properly Insulated

Did you know that your roof is responsible for 25-35%of your home’s heat loss and gain? More than any other area in the home, a well insulated roof will make a dramatic difference to temperature regulation inside your house.

However, if your roof is under-insulated, you could end up paying more for your electricity bill than you should be. Without proper insulation, it’s much harder to heat up your home on a cold day, or keep it cool in the blistering summer heat. If you are feeling the chill of winter or the heat in summer, chances are your roof insulation might not be working efficiently anymore.

How do you tell if your roof is properly insulated?

There are a few signs that your roof insulation isn’t working efficiently:

1.   You’re paying a lot for your energy bills

It’s no secret that well-insulated homes are more energy efficient. Insulation helps prevent heat escaping your home in winter, and slows down heat flow into your home in summer. The result is a well regulated indoor environment that requires less artificial heating and cooling. The less the air conditioner is on, the less energy your house is consuming, and the more you’ll save in your electricity bill.

If you notice that your electricity bills have been steadily increasing over the past few years, it might be an indication that your insulation isn’t as efficient as it used to be. Similarly, if you notice that your home heats up very quickly on a hot day, or is uncomfortably cold in the winter, it might be time to replace your insulation.

While you’re at it, you might consider installing some solar panels and investing in solar renewable energy plans, like those offered by Reliant Energy (which has price-protected plans on Home Energy Club). They will help you lower your power bills significantly in the future.

2.   Your insulation is old

Over time insulation becomes less effective at reducing heat flow, making your home less energy efficient. Insulation should be replaced or topped up every 20-30 years, depending on the quality of the insulation materials. If you bought an existing home, or it has been a few decades since you last insulated your home, it’s probably time to install new insulation.

Thanks to advances in technology, modern roof insulation materials and products tend to be more efficient and higher quality than older ones. In some cases, old insulation may not meet current standards and regulations and could pose a fire or health risk. If you have any doubts, it’s worthwhile getting your insulation assessed by a professional.

3.   Your insulation has suffered water damage

If your home has suffered water damage from a storm or other source, you may need to replace your roof insulation. Insulation that has been damaged by water can be rendered ineffective. Insulation batts rely on millions of tiny air pockets to resist heat flow. If the insulation becomes too wet, these air pockets may be compressed, and the insulation will not perform as well. Furthermore, trapped moisture can result in mould growth or leaks that damage your ceiling.

What is the best way to insulate a roof?

Roof insulation can be installed by a professional, or you can do it yourself. It is fairly simple to install if the roof space is accessible or if a ceiling is being replaced. There are two main types of insulation used in the roof: bulk insulation such as glasswoolbatts; and reflective foilinsulation which helps reflect radiant heat from the sun away from your home. Sometimes you won’t need to replace your roof insulation entirely: it may be possible simply to top it up with new insulation.

Kathy McDonough