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How Does Poor Insulation Affect Air Quality?

Insulation being installed

Whenever homeowners think about insulation, they might just assume that its sole purpose is keeping their home warm and improving energy efficiency. However, as a leading insulation installation services company, we can say with confidence that poor insulation can have far-reaching negative effects on indoor air quality too. Here’s a quick rundown on why that is. 

Why Should I Care About Indoor Air Quality? 

The air in your home can actually be worse than the air quality outside. In fact, it can oftentimes have a concentration of pollutants 2 to 5 times higher than the air outside if you’re not proactive about maintaining it. Indoor air pollution can lead to a host of health issues if left unchecked. This is especially true for sensitive groups such as those with allergies or asthma. 

Poor air quality can result in:


  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue 
  • Coughing 
  • Sneezing 
  • Runny nose
  • Asthma complications
  • Exasperated lung and heart conditions
  • Itchy skin 
  • Cancer
  • Death 

Common Indoor Air Pollutants

Unfortunately, our homes are riddled with pollutant sources. Some of these pollutants are organic and others are man-made.  VOCs, second-hand smoke, radon, nitrogen dioxide, lead particles, asbestos or other building materials, mold, or mildew.

Insulation and Air Quality

Proper insulation protects your home in a range of ways. Aside from helping to regulate the temperature in your home, one of the most important functions your insulation serves is maintaining air quality. Here are some of the ways that poor insulation can negatively affect the air quality in your home. 

Poor Temperature Control

The most obvious effect of poor insulation is the lack of control over indoor air temperatures. Air will continually leak in or out of the home which makes it difficult to keep the air indoor within a comfortable range. Turning off the HVAC for just a few minutes will make a room either too hot or too cold for comfort.

Encourages Excess Moisture 

Oftentimes, poor insulation will give way to air leaks. This can create a multitude of issues including a reduction in your home’s ability to retain heat. Not only will this lead to an increase in your energy bill, but it can also let excess moisture inside. Eventually, you might experience a mold outbreak due to the increased moisture levels. 

Health Risk

The growth of mold and other types of bacteria on surfaces throughout your home can inadvertently cause respiratory or skin irritation. You and other members of your household may experience respiratory distress, skin irritation, headaches, or even death in some cases. Proper insulation, especially around hotspots such as heat pump systems and water heaters, can help keep the temperature below those mold-friendly levels.

Dust and Odors

Poor insulation makes it impossible for an HVAC system to completely filter out airborne particles such as dust and spores. This means the air you breathe indoors could feel heavy and uncomfortable. There’s also a good chance that unpleasant odors from outside the home will find a way to seep through the weak points in your home’s insulation. 

Avoiding Poor Insulation

Fortunately, poor insulation doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. With help from our team of insulation experts, we can find problem areas of your home’s insulation that need to be fixed or replaced. We can also provide plumbing services such as locating and insulating hot or cold water pipes. In addition, we’ll detect damaged vents that might be releasing harmful fumes to the indoor atmosphere.

Breathe easy with properly maintained home insulation. WM Buffington Company provides HVAC, insulation, and plumbing services in Harrisburg, PA. Get in touch today for a free quote! 


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