Canadian Home Insulation 101: Things to Remember
Most Toronto homeowners don’t put a lot of thought into the type of insulation installed in their homes. Often, it is forgotten that home insulation not only protects you from the winter cold, but it also keeps your house from turning into an oven in the summer heat. It is essential to understand the basic principles of insulating products before installing them.
Home insulation is important because it slows down the process of air escaping and entering your house. This is extremely helpful for the summer and winter seasons, whenyou want to keep your home’s temperature at a certain level.
The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation shares a statement likening an adequately insulated house to a human being aptly dressed for winter. Much like humans, a home needs proper protection from harsh outdoor conditions.
In the winter, you typically need to wear a nylon garment to protect you from getting wet from the snow while keeping you warm. However, this only works if you’re wearing a heavy sweater to keep the cold out underneath.
Much like humans, a house needs a protective barrier underneath the structure to keep moisture and cold winds from penetrating the crevices in your walls. In addition to a protective barrier, the correct insulation alongside a vapour barrier will help retract humidity and prevent it from entering your house’s structure. Appropriately protecting your house through proper insulation effectively prevents harsh outdoor conditions from doing damage to your home.
Usually, insulation products are rated through a measurement called its R-value. However, when dealing with insulation products like pink insulation, R-values are not as accurate when compared to spray foam insulation.
R-values have varying accuracy because lab tests often do not take into account air movement within the material. If air movement is not considered, it could significantly lower the performance of the insulation product.
Having said that, incorrect installation could also damage the performance of your insulation. It is important to thoroughly follow the instructions for installation provided or, better yet, hire a professional to do the job.
If your home is already insulated, it’s crucial to watch out for signs that suggest your home is improperly insulated. A poorly insulated home could start showing signs in the middle of spring, when you see a leaking ceiling. It could also mean feeling a cold breeze in your home during the winter or a sweltering heat in the summer months.
You should also look out for potential mould growth and excessively high hydro bills; these both could indicate that your house is not properly insulated. If your house is poorly insulated, you could also be experiencing uneven temperatures and difficulty cooling your home.
There are several types of insulation to choose from. The key is to know what your house needs. Most homeowners opt for pink fibreglass insulation since it’s the most common. However, there are a variety of insulation products you should consider as well.
Pink Insulation – Pink insulation, or fibreglass insulation, is the most common insulation product on the market. Pink insulation has an R-value of 3.0 to 3.7 for every inch and is available in battings or loose-filled insulation.
Mineral Fibre – Mineral fibre insulation is incredibly easy to work with. It is also easily accessible, much like pink insulation. However, it is given a lower R-value of only 2.8 to 3.7 for every inch.
Cellulose – Cellulose is a loose-fill insulation product. Do not try to install this by yourself because it needs to be blown into your walls. A professional will do the work faster than you can and will ensure it is properly installed as well.
Rigid Foam – Rigid foam is available as Expanded Polystyrene and Extruded Polystyrene. Rigid foam insulation is most commonly used underneath your home’s siding and to line the exterior of your basement’s walls.
Rigid foam protects against moisture incredibly well and has a high R-value of 4.5 to 5.0 for every inch. However, due to the process and chemicals used in the production of rigid foam insulation, you will need to ensure that it is completely covered to prevent health hazards.
Spray Foam – Spray foam insulation has lately hit mainstream media due to celebrities like Mike Holmes. Some home insulation myths will have you questioning the move toward spray insulation. However, it’s important to consider that spray foam insulation is now safer than it was in the 1970s.
Among the many benefits of using spray foam insulation is that it creates an airtight environment in your home. This means that your home is supremely insulated and, as a result, becomes mould-resistant. Spray foam insulation has the highest R-value at 5.5 to 6.0 for every inch.
While there are many DIY kits available for whatever insulation product you use, it is advisable to always consult a professional. You will only be able to fully access the benefits of your insulation if it is properly installed.