Insulating your home:
So, you’ve had your home energy audit (see previous post), and found out you need to insulate. Oh, if only it were as simple as calling up your local insulation company and blowing some cellulose into the attic! Yes, that will help, and of course we have a directory full of insulation companies that will assist you in your quest for winter warmth and summer cool. But, it’s a bit more complicated than that. It turns out that insulation works in conjunction with three other components in your “building envelope.”
Specifically, the four factors that affect how warm and cozy you are in the winter are:
- air infiltration
- moisture and
Because each component affects the others as they are modified, a contractor should take what is known as “the whole house approach” when insulating a home. For instance, if, after a home become has been insulated and air leaks have been plugged, the home could be too tight, producing poor indoor air quality – like those “sick buildings” that were common in the ’70s and ’80s. If this happens, mechanical ventilation will need to be added.
Familiarize yourself with the different types of insulation available and which one would work for the areas that need it. You can do this by talking to the insulation professionals, but having a smidgeon of knowledge ahead of time will help the whole process go faster.
There are three common types of insulation:
- cellulose and
(There are other types, such as mineral wool and denim scraps, but the above are by far and away the most common.)
There are four different forms of insulation:
- bats or rolls,
- loose fill,
- rigid board and
- spray foam.
Insulating your home is not your typical do-it-yourself project. Licensed technicians have the equipment and knowledge on how to install the insulation and understand how it affects your home. They will also be aware of moisture issues, air and vapor barriers and how to install them along with the insulation.
Grants for insulation: Both the Canadian federal and provincial governments have rebate programs available. Be aware that the grants are only valid if you’ve done an energy audit before you’ve done the work. Below is a link to the ecoAction website which explains how much you’ll get back depending on the work you do.