Insulation basics: 3 steps to smart savings

June 23, 2015

One of the most efficient ways to save energy and money at home is to insulate your house properly. Follow the 3 steps below to start your journey toward dramatically lower heating and cooling bills.

Insulation basics: 3 steps to smart savings

1. Ask the right questions

Before you purchase insulation materials, take a look at your environment, the orientation of your house, potential causes of heat loss and what is possible given the state of your home.

  • Think about your local climate and what you want to achieve. Is it more important to limit heat loss in winter or heat build-up in summer?
  • Consider how easy it will be to install insulation. The easiest time is during construction or renovations. However, ceilings and floors can be insulated at almost any time, so long as there is access to an attic or crawl space.
  • Factor in long-term savings. Overhauling your home insulation may seem expensive and time-consuming, but it can pay for itself over time in the form of reduced heating and cooling costs.
  • If you have existing insulation that is inefficient, consider adding another, thicker layer to improve its performance.
  • Make sure you insulate all areas of the home – floors, ceilings and walls – completely. A 5 percent gap can reduce potential benefits by up to 50 percent.
  • To maximize the effects of insulation, check that all air outlets, such as chimneys and vents, are shut off when not in use.

2. Know your insulation

There are two main types of insulation materials, which can be used either separately or together.

  • Reflective insulation is usually made from aluminum foil laminated onto paper or plastic. It works by reflecting and resisting heat. It is highly effective at preventing summer heat gain via the roof.
  • Bulk insulation works by trapping small pockets of air, which in turn inhibit heat flow. It can be made from a variety of materials, including glass fibre, wool and cellulose fibre, and comes in several forms, such as batts, loose fill and boards.
  • Products combining the two types of insulation are available. For example, you can buy foil-backed blankets or foil-backed batts.

3. Start saving

Good insulation will keep heat inside in winter and outside in summer. As a result, you won't need to use nearly as many energy-hungry heating and cooling devices. This means that effective insulation can result in dramatic reductions in your energy bills.

  • Insulating the roof and ceiling will save you approximately 20–40 percent of your heating and cooling costs.
  • Insulating the walls can cut the same costs by another 10 percent or more.
  • Insulating the floor can reduce the same costs by 5–10 percent.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your energy usage and save money in your monthly budget, the insulation in your home is a great place to start!

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