Homeowners can do a lot to their homes to increase its ability to stand up to the rigours of a Calgary winter. Making sure your home’s insulation is up to par can result in significant improvements in energy savings.
Insulation is designed to resist heat, so when your home is secured with adequate insulation, it will keep more of your heated air in — and you’ll be more comfortable. “Adequate” insulation is comprised of three basic elements: having enough insulation, putting it in the right locations and using the appropriate RSI values.
There are general guidelines you can follow for installing enough insulation. In general, insulation should cover the space you want to insulate completely. Don’t leave any areas empty or allow gaps. Avoid having insulation touch other solid materials. This creates a “thermal bridge” that decreases heat resistance. For instance, if a steel stud makes a bridge between the outer and inner envelope of the home, installing insulation on the warm side will create a reduction in heat flow.
The Right Locations
The home’s outer envelope should be insulated, as well as “mini” envelopes. So think in terms of “boxes.” Your attic creates a box, so the ceiling, walls and floors should be insulated. The outer walls of the home should also receive insulation, as well as the basement.
RSI values vary according to location, because thermal resistant is dependent on how well the type of insulation material resists heat and the ability of the building materials located around the insulation to resist heat. These RSI values are a guideline for the following locations:
- Walls: 3.6
- Basement: 3.0
- Roof or ceiling: 5.6
- Floors: 4.7
One thing to note is that insulation is marked with two measurements, RSI and R-value. RSI values are expressed using the metric system, while R-values are expressed in imperial measurements. That’s because older homes were generally built using imperial measurements. So be careful not to confuse the two.
Upgrade your insulation using RSI values, location and amount, and you’ll get big results from the upgrade. Doing this will assist in achieving optimal efficiency of your heating equipment.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.