In every building structure, regardless of size, heat flows naturally from an area that is warm to an area that is cooler. In winter, heat from the warm indoors will flow out to the cold outdoors. Needless to say, that happens through the exterior walls of a building. In summer, warm air from the outdoors will flow into the cooler indoor space. In a typical house, energy experts estimate that exterior walls (depending on exterior insulation) can account for some 20% of heat transfer.
It’s hard to imagine what 20% heat transfer means, but bottom line, it’s wasted heating, wasted cooling, and wasted money. In years gone by, a residential home had very little, if any, insulation inside the exterior walls. There was little awareness of energy efficiency, and in most cases, attic insulation did the job of insulating the home. Not that anyone would notice, but heat loss in the winter and heat infiltration in the summer was substantial. At the time, this was not so costly.
Today, with the high cost of utilities in Toronto, and far more focus on energy efficiency, exterior insulation makes economic sense. Simply put, stopping heat transfer (heat loss) translates into less energy being used and therefore a reduction in utility bills every season. Installing exterior insulation can actually improve a home’s energy efficiency quite dramatically. And while most homeowners suffice with attic and basement insulation, insulating exterior walls can make a big difference.
Done professionally, exterior insulation can be effectively installed over an existing surface. Here, spray foam has proven to be extremely effective – a high-performance application that provides an air barrier, vapour barrier, and insulation envelope all at the same time. Using other insulation approaches will not be as effective as spray foam, mainly because of the potential for air loss and the lack of moisture control. With spray foam, total sealing of the “building structure” is assured.
Because spray foam seals and insulates simultaneously, R-Values are also maximized, allowing for better thermal performance in summer and winter. In fact, the substantial dollar savings on utilities can realistically offset the original investment of installing the exterior insulation. It may take a number of years, but the cost-benefit of insulating the exterior walls is well worthwhile. The important thing is to do it right, with seasoned installers who have experience and expertise.
With spray foam insulation, it’s not appropriate to look for price discounts or special deals. This is work for professional contractors who are trained and skilled with the product. Spray foam professionals follow the building code, install to the manufacturer specifications, and don’t take any shortcuts. Their aim is to do it right the first time, and deliver insulation performance for the long term. Anything short may well compromise overall energy efficiency of the home.
In Toronto, homeowners can count on Great Northern Insulation for quality exterior insulation. To arrange for a FREE in-home assessment, visit the company website at www.gni.ca or call toll free 1-888-778-9591.