Previous generations of homes were notorious for being drafty. Cold winters and hot summers are the norm for most people in Canada, especially Alberta. But with the advent of new technologies and building methods, homes that aren’t capable of withstanding Alberta’s harsh environment are a thing of the past.
At Action Furnace, we offer and number of home heating services and products to help keep your home comfortable at any temperature. One of the topics we’re routinely asked about is home insulation and how important is it to your overall home heating and cooling needs. Luckily we’ve come up with a guide to help you understand.
What is home insulation?
Think of your homes insulation as the layer you wear underneath your jacket to keep warm in the winter. Or the thin shirt you keep on in the summer so you can stay cool but still covered from the elements. Insulation is packed inside your walls, attic, and basement and acts as a barrier to other areas where the temperature is different from the internal living space.
The purpose of insulation is to resist the flow of air while also providing a way of exchanging temperature between indoor and outdoor environments. In order to keep you and your family comfortable, heat lost during the winter has to be replaced by your furnace, and during the summer your air conditioner has to remove any heat stored in the home.
Other things to know about home insulation
- R-value is a common term used for rating the value of insulation’s ability to resist the flow of heat.
There are multiple types of home insulation, each using a different material or method to insulate your home. No one method is perfect but they each offer their own benefits:
- Fibreglass is one of the most common forms of insulation. Consisting of glass fibres that are either placed by hand or blown into a space by a professional.
- Mineral Fibre is used in a similar manner that fibreglass, but it provides a lower R value with greater fire resistance and sound proofing benefits.
- Cellulose is a loose material typically used in attics and is sprayed into an area by a professional.
- Rigid Foam come in sheets and are used for the insulation of the foundation of a home. This type of insulation has some of the highest R- values but is more difficult to install.
- Spray Foam popularized on home improvement shows for its ease of installation is becoming a popular method of insulation. Spray foam has many benefits including a higher R -value than fibreglass and is resistant to mold, but most installs need to be done by a professional.
Benefits of a properly insulated home
Choosing the right insulation, and having it installed properly, will give you numerous benefits and ensure the longevity and health of your home. With new materials comes the idea of a complete package. Builders now look at heat, air, and moisture when considering what types of insulation to use.
Effective insulation, in conjunction with a well-maintained heating and cooling system, will significantly increase home comfort while minimizing utility bills.