Columbus Roofing: Article About Is Insulation Necessary In Historic Homes?
One of the most common complaints of people living in historic homes is the lack of insulation. Since most historic homes weren't originally designed with insulation, it's important to choose the type of insulation that's compatible with the home's existing materials. Consulting local Columbus roofing professionals will help homeowners choose the proper insulation for their home.
The first step homeowners should take is to evaluate the need for insulation in their homes. Some older homes are built well enough that regular maintenance and minor repairs can seal the home as well as insulation does. If there are any energy concerns or excessive utility bills, homeowners should schedule an energy audit with a professional who's knowledgeable about historic construction. These audits will include thermal imaging to see where the major temperature differences are and whether heat is being lost in the home.
If the energy audit shows that the home is in need of insulation, the attic is the easiest place to start. Attics typically don't function as living spaces, and there is usually less furniture to potentially disrupt the installation process. The insulation can be installed in the rafters or on the floor, but existing vents shouldn't be covered up. The basement is also another source of energy inefficiency.
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Unfortunately, most historic homes have basements that are nothing more than masonry or dirt walls, making it difficult to insulate them. Homeowners can choose to have insulation installed on the ceiling of the basement or between the first floor joists to block the escape of warm air from the home in the winter.
The best insulation materials will have good thermal properties while still allowing moisture to evaporate as necessary. Spray foam insulation is a popular choice in modern homes, but historic homes don't handle it well. This type of insulation can block air flow and will occasionally cause the home's timber framing to rot from exposure to moisture. Preservation experts agree that natural materials suit historic homes best, so homeowners should consider wood, wool or plant fibers for sustainable and natural options.
Any existing holes should be plugged up. These holes are commonly found around windows, around open dampers on fireplaces, around electrical outlets and between utility openings. Any existing systems should be serviced, repaired and updated. This includes the home's heating system, air filters on furnaces, cooling systems and distribution lines. If the rest of the home isn't made energy efficient, the amount of insulation in a home won't impact the area's energy efficiency. These areas will create significant energy loss with or without insulation. Installing necessary insulation will lower energy bills and reduce humidity and bad smells. Historic homes may be notoriously drafty, but they can be transformed into comfortable living spaces with the proper installations.