Why Your Home Is Still Cold, Despite Turning Up The Heat
Turning up the heat during winter is simply a way of compensating for heat loss. It signals two weaknesses in the home. To begin with, heat loss is a result of a poorly sealed building envelope. As well, it’s a sign that insulation is either inadequate or poorly performing. In particular, it’s the attic that is most responsible for heat loss, because it’s a space that allows air to leak. Insulation in the attic is actually designed to “blanket” the building structure, and prevent heat loss.
The tendency for many homeowners is to make home improvements that are aesthetic in nature, while underestimating the mechanical systems in the home. For example, the HVAC mechanicals (heating, air conditioning, ventilation) are highly reliant on the performance of home insulation. And in the attic, insulation performance will have serious impact on the overall energy efficiency of the home, and a direct bearing on utility consumption throughout winter and summer.
In any home, the indoor environment is impacted by warm air that rises, and cooler air that falls. The idea of insulation is to keep warm air inside during the winter, and cool air inside during the summer. In the attic and roof cavity, insulation is critical in achieving those goals. A properly insulated attic will provide an air barrier, a vapour barrier, and thermal insulation all at once. It’s really the only way to ensure a high level of insulating performance, from season to season.
For professional installers, attic insulation always begins by air sealing the space tight. An airtight space will prevent the intrusion of air (incoming and outgoing). And because this prevents heat loss, heating and cooling cycles are better balanced, and energy usage reduced. An airtight space also allows installed insulation to better perform and deliver the highest possible R-Value. In short, air sealing and thermal insulation work together as a “system”, especially in the attic.
To achieve optimum energy efficiency throughout a home, the entire attic space should also be effectively ventilated. This will complete the “system”, providing both home comfort and utility savings right around the year. But importantly, attic insulation requires a professional touch for the best results. It’s about choosing the right product for the job, the right install for the space, and an assurance of long-term performance from reliable and reputable insulation contractor.
Clearly, there are many insulation products available today. But for the professionals, spray foam insulation has become a “go-to” product, simply because there are many more benefits than other products. In the attic and roof cavity, spray foam is an ideal application – it air seals and insulates simultaneously. And it creates an “envelope” that covers everything - attic floor, plumbing pipes, wooden beams, electrical wiring, and every little nook and cranny throughout the attic.
Spray foam also delivers higher R-Values than other products. And while product and installation are somewhat costly, the savings on heating and cooling make for a project that is both cost-effective and cost-worthy. It’s very much a long-term investment, with a “payback” period that can be achieved in a few short seasons. It’s a project with relevant homeowner benefits.