Insulation used in building is generally use to prevent the transfer of sound, heat or cold. Typically the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation. Some insulation are designed to perform more than one function.
Insulation in buildings will increase the comfort level for the occupants. Insulation reduces heat loss or gain and is a factor in energy conservation in the building. such as: cellulose, glass wool, rock wool, polystyrene, urethane foam, vermiculite, perlite, wood fibre, plant fibre (canabis, flax, cotton, cork, etc.), plant straw, animal fibre (sheep’s wool), cement, and earth or soil, but it can also involve a range of designs and techniques to address the main modes of heat transfer – conduction, radiation and convection materials.
The requirements for insulation is regulated by building codes. For example a home built in the 70’s in Barrie, ON would only require R-28 but any home built after 2006 will require R-40 insulation in their attic. The basement walls are also required to be insulated down to with a couple of inches from the floor. As energy becomes more expensive the Building Codes are requiring more energy conservation from builders and designers.
In cold conditions, the main aim is to reduce heat flow out of the building. The components of the building envelope – windows, doors, roofs, walls, and air infiltration barriers are all important sources of heat loss. Thermal Imaging is one method of identifying all these areas of heat loss. The Barrie Home Inspector www.barrie-home-inspector.com performs a Free Thermal Imaging Scan with every home inspection.
Most houses built from the 1990s onwards were built with insulation in the walls to keep the heat in, but if your house is older than that it may not have any wall insulation at all. If this is the case then you’re paying good money to heat the outside air, instead of just heating your home.
Another major cause of heat loss and gain are drafts. They are caused by gaps left at doors, windows, electrical fittings, hatches, wall penetrations and wall and ceiling joints. A good caulking gun and spray foam are two great products for stopping most drafts which will make your home more comfortable and more energy efficient.