If you’re like most people, you know that your home needs to be well-insulated before winter hits. That’s because insulation keeps conditioned air (which includes heated air) inside and blocks outside air from changing the temperature in your house. But how can you check your home’s insulation? This guide explains.

In most attics and crawlspaces, the insulation is exposed – and that means the easiest way to check if those spaces are insulated is to climb in there and look. Usually, you’ll see exposed insulation unless the walls and ceiling are finished; in that case, you’ll have to take the steps outlined below. 

There are several ways you can tell if a wall is insulated. You can:

  • Remove an electrical outlet
  • Look behind your baseboards
  • Drill a small hole

Here’s a closer look at each. 

#1 Way to Check Your Home’s Insulation Before Winter: Remove an Electrical Outlet

Electrical outlets are pre-cut holes in your drywall, and if you remove one, you can shine a flashlight inside and check to see whether it’s insulated. This DIY job just requires a screwdriver and a few minutes; simply remove the faceplate of your outlet and pull out the electrical outlet box. Then, look inside to see if you can see any insulation peeking out.

Related: Two creepy-crawly bugs who want to get inside your house this winter and Two more bugs who want in

#2 Way to Check Your Home’s Insulation Before Winter: Look Behind Your Baseboards

There’s usually space at the bottom of your drywall where the baseboard connects the floor and the wall. If you can carefully pull back a piece of your baseboard, you should be able to see foam insulation or fiberglass insulation in the gap between them.

Related: 3 steps to prepare for a natural disaster

#3 Way to Check Your Home’s Insulation Before Winter: Drill a Small Hole

When all else fails, you can drill a small hole in your wall to determine whether there’s insulation inside. This is a bit more invasive than the other methods of checking, because you’ll likely need to drill an 0.75-inch hole and use an inspection scope. (Alternatively, you can stick a wire hanger in the wall and listen for it to scrape or tap on the insides of the wall; it won’t scrape or tap if there’s insulation, but it will if there isn’t.

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