Most homeowners are aware the need for great insulation, but rarely realize they may need it or what signs may indicate their house isn't operating at maximum efficiency. If there are cold spots in specific areas of the home, there may be a need for insulation or it may be caused by a window draft or even an improperly designed HVAC system. In general terms, a contractor who specializes is typically needed to conduct an evaluation to determine if extra insulation may benefit your house in the long term.
Why Add Insulation
When the house was built, it had to meet code for insulation in order to pass inspection. That's not the end all, be-all, to whether your house is adequately insulated. Codes may have changed with increased knowledge as to more efficient designs or the insulation may have been compromised at some point in the house's history. Adding insulation can lower your heating and cooling bills while making the house more comfortable for your daily life.
Testing Your Home's Envelope
If you feel your house may benefit from additional insulation, the way to start is for a contractor to conduct an inspection of the house including a test of your home's envelope. Such a test can determine if there are any major shortcomings in your home's overall efficiency and the inspection can pinpoint the problem and determine a means to correct it.
Attic insulation is nearly always going to improve your home's efficiency by keeping heat from rising out of the living area during the winter and separating the unfinished attic area from the living area during the summer. Attic insulation is not difficult to install and provides immediate benefits you'll feel in comfort and see on your next power bill.
Another simple means of improving your home's insulation is with upgraded siding, especially if you currently have a basic aluminum or vinyl siding. The house wrap under the siding can be reinforced during the change, or you can consider improved siding systems. Modern vinyl siding is available with built-in insulation, or Hardie Board or specialty sidings can inherently provide better insulation.
If you have drafts, cold spots, or seem to be paying higher power bills than you would expect for a house the size of yours, you may want to consider adding insulation for comfort and efficiency. It's always a good idea to discuss your options with a licensed and reputable professional remodeling contractor.