How to Save Energy in Your Home During the Cold Months
For the professionals, the most important consideration when insulating the home is to stop air leakage. The problem in a typical home is that there are dozens and dozens of air leaks all over – holes and gaps and cracks that allow air to come in and out of the building structure without any constraint. In fact, the total volume of air leakage in a typical home is comparable to leaving the main door open all the time. Hard to believe, but it’s a serious waste of energy and money.
Some statistics show that up to 40% of home energy (winter heating and summer cooling) is lost because of air leakage. The solution, of course, is to seal the “building envelope” and prevent air from leaking in or out. For this, industry professionals are recommending Spray Foam Insulation, an application that seals and insulates at one time. SFI is used effectively in attics and walls, and even in basement foundations, sealing and insulating better than any comparable product.
When professionally installed, a one-time application of SFI can do it all - air sealing, moisture blocking, and insulating all at the same time. Spray Foam Insulation does not settle over the long term, and never needs topping-up or re-application. Once completed, the installation provides a very high R-Value throughout, making for improved energy efficiencies, and reducing seasonal energy usage, while substantially lowering winter heating bills and summer cooling bills.
Depending on the project, SFI products are selected based on the need. Two options are available, each with a different performance level, and each with different strengths when required as an air barrier, moisture barrier, or insulation envelope. The “Half-Pound” spray foam product is applied in liquid form, expands dramatically, and hardens into a semi-rigid finished application. “Half-Pound” spray foam has impressive R-Value and is recommended for interior use.
For higher performance, the “Two-Pound” spray foam product has better R-Value performance and is a more efficient air barrier. Professionally installed, this product does it all – it’s a very effective vapour-barrier; an excellent air barrier; and a high performance insulation envelope. No other insulation product can quite compare with the performance of “Two-Pound” spray foam. It’s the ideal for insulating below grade foundations and exterior foundation concrete.
Spray Foam Insulation is a premium product that may not suit every project budget. However, the long-term savings on heating and cooling costs will quickly offset the upfront cost of the installation. For the most part, the so-called “payback period” is as little as five years. The good news is that seasonal energy savings (on heating and cooling) will continue for years and years. It’s an application where the savings make the original investment well worthwhile.
When insulation professionals compare performance levels amongst the various products, Spray Foam Insulation invariably rises to the top. But it’s worth doing right from the start, with experts who are experienced with the product and the application. It’s not the right time for a DIY effort.