The best ways to insulate to avoid heat loss

Tired of exorbitant energy bills? The first step in remedying the problem is to insulate to avoid heat loss. Here are some tips to help you get started.

The hunt for leaks

First, check your home for drafts. You’ll need to seal any air leaks you find with an assortment of materials; you may need weather stripping, caulking, sealing gaskets or tape. The main places to check for unwanted drafts are near or around:

  • doors and windows
  • electrical outlets and switches
  • fans and exhaust vents
  • moldings and baseboards
  • interior walls and ceilings
  • the chimney damper
  • bathtub, shower and sink plumbing
  • basement pipes

The next step in insulating to avoid heat loss is to plug cracks in your interior and exterior walls with caulk. Insert foam pads (designed for this purpose) between electric outlet sockets and the wall; put outlet covers over sockets that aren’t being used. Caulk any windows that are never opened and that can’t be used as an emergency exit.

Is your basement well insulated?

According to Natural Resources Canada, 20 per cent of the average home’s heat loss occurs in the basement. You can re-insulate your basement from the inside or from the outside.

  • From the inside. Use rigid foam insulation panels and drywall or build a new interior wall with wood frame construction and insulation. You can also remove any flooring to lay insulation on the concrete slab.
  • From the outside. This involves excavating a trench around the house in order to waterproof the foundation and install insulation.

However, before you do any work, do a thorough inspection of the basement to make sure there are no structural defects or other problems, such as water infiltration and mold. Excessive moisture is usually indicated by mold stains, peeling paint or crumbly drywall.

Are your doors and windows keeping in the heat?

To improve the performance of your doors and windows, place more weather stripping around them. If a door doesn’t close properly, have it repaired or replace the frame and seals. You can also replace your windows with energy efficient models.

Is renovating on your to-do list?

If you’ve been planning to build a rec room or replace some wall paneling, or if you’re determined to fix your damp-basement problem once and for all, then this is also the perfect time to better insulate to avoid heat loss. The best way to keep your insulating costs down is to do the work at the same time as you do your renovations.

The best ways to insulate to avoid heat loss
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