Home insulation is one of the main factors that determine your indoor comfort. By properly insulating your home you will increase the energy efficiency of the building. Thus, it is estimated that homeowners can save up to 20% on their energy bills.
The solution to having proper insulation is, of course, the expertise of insulation contractors.
Home insulation is a proper field of expertise. In the end, you don’t have to know all the trades involved. But you can do a pretty good job by simply avoiding some common mistakes that homeowners make.
Some common insulation mistakes you might be making include:
- Ignoring insulation regulations
- Choosing cheap insulation
- Using the wrong insulation
- Removing old insulation
- Putting too much insulation
- Considering it a side project
Ignoring Insulation Regulations
There are regulations in place for each home renovation project that you undertake. Ontario Building Code for example is an important regulator of the construction standards. These standards are being updated frequently. Keeping up to date with the latest changes will increase the safety of your home improvements.
But not all homeowners are aware of this fact. Some completely neglect construction standards.
They end up installing either the wrong type or the wrong quantity of insulation.
Attics for example require between 16” and 18” inches of blown in insulation. This feature is applicable to the Northern Climates. Failing to achieve the required insulation thickness will deprive you of the full insulation benefits.
Insufficient insulation means that air leaks have not been sealed properly. More energy is wasted and the HVAC system needs to work extra time to compensate for the heat loss. On the other hand, this translates into increased energy bills.
Choosing Cheap Insulation
Different types of insulation have varying prices. Insulation costs depend on the brand, manufacturer, type of insulation and the contractor service. Some customers direct their product choice based on price alone.
But cheap insulation might not be compatible with each area of your home. Areas like the basement, ceilings, and exterior walls require more dense insulation like spray foam.
Fiberglass and cellulose insulation might be cheaper, but energy costs in the long run will be higher.
Installing insulation with a high thermal resistance value will preserve more of the energy of the building. It will also isolate all the air leaks so there might be no need for an extra air barrier.
That’s why we always recommend the SOPRA-SPF 202 product by Soprema.
This spray foam product is designed for each type of residential or commercial building. It is dense, highly efficient, and compatible with most building surfaces. SOPRA-SPF 202 by Soprema has a high coverage rate and adds strength to the building structure.
Installing the Wrong Insulation
Using the wrong type of insulation might be a bigger problem than you think. Homeowners are not fully aware of the types of insulation out there.
You have to be very careful in selecting the right type of insulation for certain areas of your home. Attic floor for example needs cellulose or fiberglass insulation to be used. Other areas such as walls and ceilings need closed-cell spray foam insulation.
In the case of insulation top-up, what you add has to be the same with the existing insulation.
Other insulation materials might be highly flammable. Thus, it is better not to install these materials near heaters, furnaces or any light fixtures.
Light fixtures release a lot of heat and are a source of fire risks. Do you have light fixtures in between your home insulation? Then it is best to use an IC rated fixture. IC stands for “insulated contact”.
Another factor to consider is the ability of the insulation to retain moisture. Fiberglass for example is not adequate for basement insulation. It can retain moisture and be a promoter for mould growth.
Always contact an Insulation contractor when in doubt about the right type of insulation for your home.
Removing Old Insulation
Old insulation doesn’t need to be removed by default. First you need to assess its condition. The manufacturer also needs to approve the usage of new insulation over the existing one.
But there are cases in which old insulation has lost its efficiency. This can be due to mould and mildew problems. There have also been cases when older types of insulation are found to contain asbestos. Insulation that contains asbestos can release hazardous particles in the air if removed without due care.
If you are not sure about the conditions of your existing insulation, it is better to leave it as it is. Instead, you should call an insulation contractor. They will inspect the old insulation condition and will recommend whether you need to replace it completely or not.
Putting too Much Insulation
Let us assume that for the attic insulation you are using blown in cellulose. Blown in insulation is a loose fill material. You might be thinking that if you put more of the material and compress it, ultimately you will increase its efficiency.
That is because loose fill insulation creates countless small air pockets. It is exactly those air pockets which slow the flow of heat outwards. In case of insulation compression those air pockets will be closed. Blown in insulation will lose its efficiency and thermal resistance ability.
Putting too much insulation can also cause structural damage to your building. More insulation means more weight.
Considering It a Side Project
Finally, one common mistake that homeowners make is to leave insulation for last. In some cases it is even considered as a side project which they can do themselves.
But home insulation is a special field of expertise all on its own. It might seem as simple as rolling out some batts of insulation. Actually it is more complicated than that.
It requires the best of expertise and precision to create a solid insulation barrier. The aim is to seal all the air leaks and preserve the energy of the building.
Our advice to you is to pay maximum attention to your home insulation project. You will first need to consult an Insulation contractor. They will know what is the best type of insulation for your home.