Moderation is a virtue, excess a vice. Itâs a golden rule of life. But does it apply to your home insulation too?
Right off the bat, we want to tell you that âIs it possible to over-insulate my house?â probably isnât the first question you need to ask.
As weâll see below, most people in Colorado are nowhere close to over-insulating.
But maybe youâre one of those theoretical types who want to know whatâs possible, even if it isnât likely.Â How much is too much? And what happens if you go insulation overboard?
Too Much of a Good Thing
Look, this guy built his whole house out of foam, so we arenât going to tell you that you canât. To each his own.
But if your home is a little more conventional, youâre probably looking to find that sweet spot between âenough insulation to protect my home, reduce my energy bills, and keep me comfortableâ on the one hand and ânot spending my life savings on spray foamâ on the other.
There comes a point where too much insulation starts to have a negative effect â financially, environmentally, and in terms of the longevity of your home.
So yes, it is possible to over-insulate your house. Fortunately, insulation fixation is a monkey not many people have on their backs.
The Point of Diminishing Returns
Thereâs no reason that insulating a Colorado home canât be affordable. In fact, when done right, installing new insulation should save you money in the long run â significantly so.
Reasonable investments in insulation yield steady and appreciable returns.
Eventually, though, your house becomes so well insulated that adding additional material isnât all that helpful. Any minimal insulating benefit you might gain is offset by the cost of installing it.
Thatâs because of how R-values work.
âR-valueâ is a rating system that tells you how well a layer of insulation reduces heat flow. The greater the R-value, the more effectively that piece of insulation will resist the conductive flow of heat. In other words, insulation with high R-value provides better thermal insulation.
So highly thermal insulation is very good for your home. But each time you add another layer of insulation, that latest layer is doing a lot less work for you because there isnât as much heat flowing through it to begin with. The first few layers already did the heavy lifting, so the new layers canât bring as much value to the table âÂno matter how high their R-value is.
Now, that doesnât mean one layer is always enough. Our point isnât that you shouldnât add more insulation to your house. On the contrary, as we will see below, most of the houses in Colorado actually need more insulation. But only up to a certain point. Eventually, extra insulation becomes relatively superfluous and therefore a waste of money.
Properly insulating your house generally has a positive environmental impact. By making your home more energy efficient, you are able to reduce the amount of energy you consume each month, as well as the amount of energy you waste. Thatâs good for the environment as a whole.
But just as insulation costs money to produce and install, thereâs also an environmental tradeoff that happens when itâs manufactured. Making insulation requires energy and, depending on the materials used, can involve the use of natural resources and/or the emission of greenhouse gases.
With reasonable amounts of home insulation, that tradeoff works in favor of the environment. There is a net reduction in energy usage. Even better, if you choose environmentally friendly materials, you can make your insulation extra environmentally friendly.
If youâre over-insulating, however, youâre consuming those materials without any real environmental offset.
Mold in the Middle
It is possible to over-insulate your house so much that it canât breathe.
The whole point of home insulation is to tightly seal your homeâs interior. But if it becomes too tightly sealed with too many layers of insulation, moisture can get trapped inside those layers. Thatâs when mold starts to grow.
Moreover, over-insulating your house means youâll have a harder time achieving a consistent temperature throughout the home, and youâll also be breathing in lower-quality air.
You Probably Don’t Have Too Much Insulation
The problem weâre describing in this article is largely theoretical in nature. Is it possible to over-insulate a house? Sure. Are you in jeopardy of that? Probably not.
On the contrary, most homes have too little insulation, not too much. Especially here in Colorado, where the climate is colder for much of the year and insulation really matters.
Hereâs the thing: having too little insulation can cause all these same problems and more.
Without adequate insulation, youâre looking at higher energy costs, reduced home comfort, uneven temperatures, a negative environmental impact, mold growth, critter invasion, and a host of other issues.
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Answer
Do you have enough insulation on your house right now? Too much? The right type? Are you wasting energy or spending too much on your monthly bill?
That analysis is going to look different for every house and every family. The best way to find out? Bring in an expert to look around and give you their opinion.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit in Denver or Fort Collins, CO
We encourage you to contact our office and schedule a home energy audit. Weâll send a certified building performance analyst to evaluate your homeâs current energy and insulation situation.
REenergizeCO is a Colorado-based home energy efficiency company that helps homeowners increase their comfort, decrease their energy bills, and prolong the life of their home.
Weâve conducted countless home energy audits across Colorado. The process is quick and easy, and it can tell you a lot about your homeâs ongoing energy expenditure âÂall with a view toward increasing your quality of life and decreasing your monthly expenses.
Learn more about a home energy audit in Denver, CO and contact our office to schedule yours today.
We are here to answer any questions homeowners may have about home insulation, energy audits, and solar power.