Why Is My Home So Cold?

If your home in the Northern Virginia area is staying at frigid temperatures, even if your heat is on, you might have problems with your insulation. Insulation is a material that is placed inside attics, walls, ceilings, floors and sometimes crawl spaces that acts as a barrier between the harsh temperatures outside that minimizes heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer. Insulation is the most effective, efficient way to heat a house, more effective than doors or windows. Insulation also works in tandem with your heating and cooling systems, preventing the heating and cooling energy from leaking out of the home. Insulation can greatly improve your energy usage, but if you can’t get your home’s insulation under control, then an improperly insulated home might be to blame. 

Improper Insulation

According to research done by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), 90% of homes in America are not properly insulated. Most homeowners do not think of insulation as important, as insulation is “out of sight, out of mind”, underestimating the true impact that insulation has on energy usage and comfort level in their home. Because of this, most homes have substandard insulation. There are various different types of insulation, with varying r-values. R-values measure heat resistance, aka how effective the insulation is at preventing heat from entering or leaving the house. Batts and rolls, also known as blanket insulation, is the rolled up fiberglass insulation that looks like cotton candy, and this type is probably what you think of first when you think of insulation. Batts and rolls have an r-value of about 3.2 per inch, and this type is ideal for when you need to roll out long pieces of insulation inside flat surfaces like walls, floors, and attics. If your batted insulation is installed poorly, it can begin to settle, becoming less effective as its r-value goes down. One of the easiest solutions to this problem is to install more insulation over the older material. Blown-in or loose-fill insulation is a type of insulation with an R-value of around 2.4 per inch that is typically made of loose, shredded cellulose, which can be blown in loose piles as opposed to the structure of rolls and batts. Blown-in insulation is often used to supplant settling batted insulation, but this insulation is also excellent for getting into angled or hard to reach places that batts and rolls can’t fill. A source of cold air in your home could be one of these awkward nooks or crannies in your home that isn’t covered by your batted insulation, and a few inches of loose-fill insulation could solve your problem and get your home back to being properly insulated and energy efficient. Another form of insulation that can get into hard-to-reach places or stick where batted insulation can’t is spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation can either be closed cell or open cell. Closed cell insulation, which is denser, has completely closed cells that form a rigid, stable barrier that completely prevents all air and moisture from getting in, and this type of spray foam typically has a very high R-value of 7 per inch. Meanwhile, open cell insulation is less dense but far softer and more flexible, with an average r-value of around 3.8 per inch. If your home is not properly insulated due to hard-to-reach places that aren’t being covered by your current insulation, spray foam insulation is a great solution that can help you get your home’s temperature under control. 

The Stack Effect

The Stack Effect refers to the movement of air throughout a home that is not properly insulated. Air molecules do actually have weight and density to them, that fluctuates based on temperature. Hot air has lighter molecules, and therefore will rise throughout the building to the top. Cold air has denser molecules that are tightly packed together, and therefore will sink to the bottom. This is why during the summer, typically the basement of your home is colder and the upper floor of your home is warmer. The flow of hot air will actually pull cold air from the ground into the lower levels of your home. If your home is not properly insulated, then this hot air is allowed to escape easier, which can significantly affect the temperature of your home, raising temperatures in the summer and lowering temperatures in the winter, making your whole house much less comfortable as a result. Not only that, but your higher heating/cooling usage as you try to make up for these temperature fluctuations can lead to much higher energy bills. 

What Proper Insulation Can Do

If you are experiencing temperature instability in your home, you might have improper insulation. This can be caused by the wrong type of insulation being installed, or if the insulation was installed improperly. This can also be caused by insulation settling over time. Properly installed insulation however can create an effective barrier to heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Heat will always travel to the cooler area, which means it’ll travel outside during the winter, and inside during the summer. In the summer, when the hot sun beats down on your roof, that roof will absorb all that heat energy, which can heat up your home and create uncomfortable conditions. In the winter, the Stack Effect sucks the heat out of the home, bringing it outside, chilling the home and creating very uncomfortable, freezing temperatures in the home. Good insulation will prevent heat from traveling through the roof/walls, so the heat stays INSIDE during the winter and OUTSIDE during the summer. Proper insulation regulates the temperature in your home far better than doors, windows, or air conditioning. 

Insulation Installation in Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria and Fredericksburg

If you need insulation removal, replacement or installation in the Northern Virginia area, contact the experts at Summit Environmental Solutions. We have years of experience in insulation installation, and we can install all types, including spray foam, loose-fill and the classic fiberglass batts and rolls. We can remove your current, outdated insulation and replace it with newer, more effective material. If your home is already insulated but needs a bit more to be fully effective, we also offer supplemental insulation to get your home’s temperature regulated. If you are building a new home and need new insulation installed within the attics, walls and floors, we offer that service as well. Call us today for a FREE estimate at 703-520-5868 or fill out a contact form! 

Our Affiliates