Insulation is intended to keep a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Insulation is intended to keep a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Insulation should be installed between heated and unheated areas, meaning in the walls, attic and floors. However, many homes either do not have insulation in all the recommended areas or the R-Value of the insulation is too low. This is critical to the amount of energy you use. For example, an un-insulated basement can account for up to 20-35% of a home's total heat loss and leave the house feeling uncomfortable.
Know your Options
Insulation is rated by its "R-Value" and the higher the value the better it is. All insulation that's sold in Canada will display an R-Value right on the packaging. Most insulation in Newfoundland and Labrador is either fiberglass batt (works best in studs and floor joints), rigid board polystyrene (often seen on the exterior and interior of basements), and loose fill (typically used in the attic).
The type of the insulation you choose and its R-Value will depend on the area you wish to insulate and sometimes there are structural issues that limit your options. For example, fiberglass batt insulation gets thicker with higher R-Values, so there could be limitations on how much you can put in a stud wall. In some cases, different types of insulation could be combined to increase your insulation, such as rigid board and fiberglass batt on interior basement walls.
How you install the insulation will have a major effect on how well it functions. In any location, there are space limitations and obstructions such as pipes, ducts and outlets, and care must be taken so that gaps are not left. For instance:
- Batt insulation should fit snugly between studs, but should never be squeezed into place (that will reduce its effectiveness). Vapour barriers should also be used to prevent warm moist air from entering cold wall cavities.
- Rigid board insulation should be cut carefully to ensure it has full coverage and it should then be glued into place.
- Loose fill should be installed evenly to an adequate depth in order to achieve the desired R-Value.
The entire job should be done safely with gloves, goggles, respirators and proper, full-coverage clothing, especially when dealing with fiberglass batt and loose fill insulation. Additionally, air leaks and drafts should be sealed around exterior wall outlets and switches.