Preparing Now For Those Cooler Months

June 27th 2011
Preparing Now For Those Cooler Months

Upgrading your homes insulation is one of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bill while keeping your family warm this winter. Insulation and ventilation work together to make your home comfortable.

Many homes have insufficient insulation, another source of heat loss. The average home should have between R-40 (12 inches) to R-50 (15 inches) of insulation in the attic. Insulation is measured in "R-Value" which is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

There are significant rebates available through the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program when upgrading your homes insulation. Please keep in mind, you need to use the proper insulation product for the proper application to ensure you do not cause any negative unintended side effects when upgrading your insulation.

Various Types of Insulation

Fibreglass and Cellulose: These are the most commonly used for insulation in todays homes. Fibreglass insulation is spun from molten sand and recycled glass into fibre. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspapers, which is treated with a chemical flame retardant. Both fibreglass and cellulose insulation can be made into "loose-fill" insulation, which can be blown into areas such as attics and walls using a blowing machine. Fibreglass insulation also comes in "batts" which are pre-cut pieces of insulation that vary in width and length. These products are great for use on all unfinished walls, floors and ceilings.

Mineral Wool (Roxul): Typically has better fire resistance and soundproofing qualities than fibreglass. Roxuls mineral wool insulation has two product variations: Flexibatt thermal insulation for exterior walls and Safe and Sound Noise and Fire Protection for interior walls. Mineral wool insulation is made from a combination of natural basalt (or volcanic) rock and recycled slag. This product is ideal for areas susceptible to moisture.

Rigid Board Insulation: Commonly made from fibreglass or polystyrene, this product is available in a variety of thicknesses. This type of insulation is used for flat roofs, unvented low slope or flat roofs, basement walls and as perimeter insulation at concrete slab edges of your homes foundation.

Spray Foam Insulation: Applied by a professional applicator using special application equipment. Once sprayed into wall, ceiling, and floor cavities it expands to fill every crack and crevice. Acts as a complete insulation and air barrier to minimize air leakage and seal the building envelope. This product is most commonly used in unfinished attics and other hard to reach places.

Reflective foil insulations (Reflectix): Foil faced insulation. It acts as a radiant barrier, which are sometimes used in buildings to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss.

Attic insulation: Ventilation is necessary in unused attics where insulation has been added to prevent heat from leaking out of the rooms underneath the attic in the Winter. Ventilation plays the role in controlling attic moisture during the Winter, and hot air during the Summer. Care should be taken to seal around all the openings in the attic floor, such as ceiling light fixtures, plumbing stacks, exhaust fans and chimney chases. Otherwise, warm moist air can escape into the attic, where it can condense and cause moisture damage. Before leaving the attic, remember to weather-strip the hatch and latch it snugly.