Poor Home Insulation: How to Make Your Own Diagnosis?

Poor Home Insulation: How to Make Your Own Diagnosis?

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If you believe that your home insulation is deficient, you can confirm or refute your suspicions quite easily by taking note of certain revealing elements. Of course, you can seek the advice of an insulation expert, but the first diagnosis only requires a little observation and some common sense.


Presence of icicles on the edge of the roof. This clearly indicates poor attic ventilation and poor condition of your insulation. This is what is called heat loss. This heat loss is a worrying situation during the winter, because water may seep into the attic and exterior walls. If so, nothing will escape deterioration! Do not hesitate to compare your roof to that of your neighbours. If you observe an “ice dam,” the most effective short-term solution is to regularly remove snow from the lower parts of your roof. In the longer term, you’ll probably want to have a specialist diagnose and repair as needed.

Glaçons sur le rebord du toit

Lack of snow on certain areas of the roof. Temperatures stay below minus 5 degrees Celsius, and you notice that the snow has melted in some areas on your roof? The problem can be on two levels: whether it’s due to surface heat loss and your entire roof is poorly insulated, or it’s heat loss via thermal bridges. An inspection in your attic is necessary, and some non-conformity will surely be discovered.

Snow melting near the foundation walls. A poorly insulated home loses on average up to 15% of its heat through the basement walls. If you notice snow melting between the foundation and the ground, it’s a safe assumption that your home insulation is deficient. Call on the services of a specialist who will carry out the necessary work so that your concrete foundations are well insulated with type II sprayed urethane.

Variation of temperature inside the house. Do you notice that some rooms in your house are colder than others and more difficult to heat, even if you distribute the heat evenly (the same phenomenon also occurs with air conditioning)? Do you also notice a temperature difference between your floor and your ceiling? This is a sign of deficient insulation or that it’s beginning to lose its effectiveness.

Discolouration of paint on walls and/or ceilings. Generally, peeling, discoloured, or cracked paintwork indicates condensation and mildew problems related to inadequate insulation and ventilation. If this is the case, you will need, in addition to making the necessary repairs, to ensure better ventilation of the kitchen, bathrooms, attic (amount of air changes per hour (ACH)) and optimize insulation.

Traces of humidity or mildew in the corners of the walls. Clearly, this is a condensation problem caused by improper ventilation and lack of wall insulation. The phenomenon of condensation is very simple: as soon as the ambient humidity meets a cold wall, the water vapour condenses and turns into water. How to deal with this inconvenience? By properly ventilating damp rooms and opting for better wall insulation.


Here are 7 additional points that might give you a heads up:

– Your heating and cooling costs are very high compared to a comparable house because outside air enters in winter and in summer. You must therefore air-condition to cool and use more heating to counter the cold.

– You noticed the presence of insects or small animals. As they seek to reach the warmth of your home, critters infiltrate through small holes and tear through your insulation material. You will probably need to change it. Furthermore, small animal feces can affect the air quality in your home.

– The plumbing sometimes freezes in the winter.

– You notice that the floor is cold near the exterior walls.

– The temperature inside your home varies depending on the outside temperature

– You feel drafts in electrical outlets. (Opt for weatherstripping, they are inexpensively available at all major home centres!)

– You feel air infiltration around the windows. (The perfect solution: remove the frames and apply low-expansion urethane. If the leaks are coming from the window, they can be stopped with a change of thermos or a complete replacement of the window.)

If you want to go further in your investigation in order to get a clear idea of your home’s energy efficiency, you can contact us now to get a personalized quote.

This article was originally published on July 1, 2022 by Pierre Boucher