When you live somewhere like Red Deer, losing heat in your home is no joke. Especially during the winter, when your furnace is working overtime. When you’re losing heat, you adjust your thermostat but the temperature doesn’t rise (although, your utility bill does), and you’re still not getting the warmth you need. To address this problem, we need to talk about insulation. Here are 3 things you need to know about your insulation to avoid losing heat in your home this winter.
One thing to note before we talk more about insulation is R-value. R-value refers to the capacity an insulating material has to resist heat flow. The higher R-Value, the better the material can insulate.
1. Seal Your Vapour Barrier
Vapour barriers are installed along, in or around walls, ceilings or floors to prevent moisture from spreading and potentially causing water damage. Damage from water condensation due to water vapour movement can wreak havoc on the sturdiest of homes and threaten the effectiveness of insulation.
Another key way to seal off your home from potential damage caused by moisture is by using spray foam insulation. Holes and cracks in your walls and crawl space can allow entrance to water and moisture. Spray foam insulation is impermeable to water. This means that not only will spray foam thoroughly seal and protect your home from airborne moisture and leaks, but if flooding should occur in the area, spray foam insulation will not absorb the water like other materials will. Even 2 inches of foam removes need for other sealant wraps.
2. Save on Energy with Spray Foam Insulation
There are two types of spray foam insulation: Closed Cell and Open Cell
- Open cell foam is permeable to moisture, but impermeable to air, while closed cell foam stops air and moisture.
- Closed cell spray foam provides the highest R-Value offering a value of up to 7 per inch.
- Here, we will be referring to closed cell spray foam insulation.
While spray foam is more expensive than other insulation options, it is such a powerful insulator that in the long term it will save you a lot of money on energy. It has even shown to provide energy savings at an average of 50% or more, unlike other types of insulation that average a savings rate of about 30%.
Further, the inert polymer that spray foam insulation is made of allows it to have an indefinite lifespan. When you invest in spray foam insulation, you can save money over the course of years by avoiding the need to re-insulate.
3. Stay Away from Styrofoam Insulation
While styrofoam insulation helps to increase wall R-values and lower heat losses, it can also compromise your home’s infrastructure long term. In a cold climate (like Red Deer in the winter) during the heating season, moisture vapour inside a home is driven outward into exterior walls. When it reaches the surface that’s below the dew point, the vapour condenses into a liquid. Styrofoam insulation creates a vapour-impermeable barrier, so the wall has limited drying potential.
There are better ways of increasing R-values and reducing thermal bridging, than using styrofoam insulation. These include, using double-framed walls or foam board on the interior. Also, cellulose insulation and other natural materials are better than petrochemical plastics because they are more forgiving of the inevitable moisture problems a house will encounter over its lifetime.
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