Blog by Kylene Shannon

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Proper Insulation

Insulation: The Key to Lowering Energy Costs

In a country where as much as 80 percent of your household energy consumption goes toward heating and water heating, you want to know that your home is as efficient as possible. Improving your home’s insulation makes all the difference in slowing the process of heat transfer, which could save you a lot of money on heating or cooling.

What Is Heat Transfer?

Heat transfer is a simple way to describe the way that heat tends to move from one side of an exterior wall to another. During the summer, you try to slow heat gain, which can occur from the ambient air outside, or from solar heat. In wintertime, you want to keep the heated air inside the home as long as possible. Your home’s exterior provides protection against heat transfer, primarily through its insulation. Without effective insulation, you would spend a great deal more on heating and cooling throughout the year.

When Do I Need Better Insulation?

Unless your home is quite new, you could probably benefit from the addition of insulation. After several years, some materials used for insulation can settle down, decreasing the insulation’s efficacy for your home. There are a few simple ways to know for sure, including:

  • high heating and cooling costs
  • rooms that get uncomfortably cool or warm
  • cold interior walls and flooring during winter

If you notice any of these problems consistently, you should consider either adding to or replacing your home’s insulation.

How Are Insulation Values Determined?

Insulation materials are rated, since there are several possible types of insulation you can use. There are two systems of ratings that provide an estimate of the insulation capability of particular materials. R-value refers to the resistance that the material provides against heat transfer. It is based on imperial units. Canadian standards also require the use of R-value Systeme International (RSI), which is the resistance of the same material calculated using the metric system.

The R-value for a single material is significantly lower than its RSI, due to the system for calculation. As such, if you are looking at several insulation products to improve your insulation, you should compare one material’s R-value to another’s R-value, and the same with RSI. If any product has only an R-value listed, you can multiply it by 5.68 to get the approximate RSI.

Which Materials Are Used to Make Insulation?

Insulation may come in several formats. The best known is fibreglass insulation, which is pink and fibrous. Insulation may also be made from mineral wool, cotton, cellulose, polystyrene or polyurethane. Some materials can come in different forms, such as fibreglass batting, loose fill or board-stock.

In many cases, you are not required to use the same type of insulation in one space. Some homes have solid insulation put together with batting, loose fill or spray insulation in addition. Although improving your insulation is a big upgrade that homeowners can do themselves, you should ask an expert about the types of materials that are best for your home before you start.

How Much Insulation Do I Need?

The amount of insulation appropriate for your home depends heavily on the climate. The colder the region, the more insulation required. Building standards divide the country up into several zones to guide the amount of insulation that is appropriate for new construction. The zones are based on the number of degrees that the mean temperature of a given day differs from 18 degrees Celsius. Each degree of difference counts as a single “heating degree day” (HDD). Vancouver, with less than 3,000 HDD in a year, is Zone 4. Quebec’s HDDs in the 5,000s puts it in Zone 7A. This zone calls for attic insulation with an R-value of 60, compared to R-50 for Zone 5.

Improving the insulation for your home comes at a relatively minor expense, but could significantly improve your heating and cooling efficiency throughout the year. By considering the types of insulation and ensuring that you have adequate insulation in your home, you may save money and make your home more comfortable.

/** DO NOT COPY THIS PART AS HTML **/ /** SUGGESTED TITLE, KEYWORDS AND DESCRIPTION **/ Meta Title Does My Home Need Better Insulation? Meta Keywords better insulation, heat transfer, fibreglass insulation Meta Description Did you know that better insulation for your home can decrease heat transfer and save you money on heating and cooling? This guide shows you how.