It seems ironic to be in the middle of a heat wave and thinking insulation, but did you know that a well-insulated home will keep you more comfortable year round – and result in energy savings for heating and cooling? 

Insulating a home has become something of a science with many innovative products used in the building process including ICF (insulated concrete forms), SIP (structural insulated panel) construction, spray foam insulation and a variety of advanced framing techniques and insulation products. We will speak of a number of these systems in future blogs but thought it would be good to start with an insulatation primer from the CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation).

Insulating Your House (source: CMHC)

While previous generations may have been content to live in drafty houses, most people now want comfortable warm houses. A healthy house today is well sealed, well insulated and properly ventilated.

A well-insulated house is a bit like dressing for the weather. A wool sweater will keep you warm if the wind is not blowing and it is not raining. On a windy, rainy day, wearing a nylon shell over your wool sweater helps keep you reasonably dry and warm. A house is similar. On the outside, underneath the brick or siding, there is an air barrier that does the same thing as the nylon — it keeps the wind from blowing through. Then there is the insulation (like your sweater) and a vapour barrier, which helps keep moisture away from the house structure where it can do damage.

Signs of Insulation Problems

In the winter

  • walls cold to touch
  • cold floors
  • high heating costs
  • uneven heating levels within building
  • mold growing on walls

In the summer

  • uncomfortably hot inside air
  • high cooling costs
  • ineffectiveness of air conditioning system
  • mold growing in basement

Read further for information on various types of insulation and their effectiveness…

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