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5 Cost-Effective Retrofits that Will Enhance Existing Home Insulation

July 14, 2017

Across Canada, more and more homeowners are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. It’s a matter of reducing utility costs, improving indoor comfort, and protecting the environment. The bigger question is how to get it all done – and here, it’s matter of priority. For many professionals, the best approach is to make retrofits that will enhance the existing home insulation. In this way, issues like air leakage and air sealing can be addressed effectively.

Older homes are typically drafty and poorly insulated. This directly contributes to high levels of air leakage and higher energy bills in winter and summer. And while newer homes have better insulation and better airtightness, there are still a good number of retrofits that can be initiated to enhance existing home insulation. What’s most important is to hire qualified home energy specialists to do the work (recommended by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation).

Attic Insulation Retrofit

In the attic, one of the most cost effective retrofits is to top up existing insulation. However, even newly installed home insulation will not perform optimally unless the attic is properly air sealed and ventilated. This is where an air barrier/moisture barrier is essential to energy efficiency.

Windows/Doors Retrofit

Ideally, replacing existing windows and doors will make a big difference in energy efficiency. For most homeowners this would entail double or triple-glazed units, argon-filled, and with low-conductivity frames. Here again, wall-window air sealing is key to stopping air leakage.

 Wall Insulation Retrofit

Because every home is built differently, insulation retrofits to “above-grade” walls will differ. Beyond the specific home insulation product that will be installed, it’s absolutely critical to install an effective air barrier/moisture barrier to stop air leaks and prevent moisture buildup.

Foundation Wall Retrofit

Where possible, and where the budget permits, re-insulating foundation walls (“below-grade”) can dramatically improve energy efficiency. In a basement, for example, high performance home insulation and appropriate air sealing can make the entire home far more energy efficient.

Basement Floor Retrofit

Clearly, this is one of the major retrofits. Insulating the basement floor will substantially enhance indoor comfort, while reducing both winter and summer utility costs. Done professionally, this type of insulation retrofit may be the ideal opportunity when doing significant home renovations.

Home insulation experts will generally encourage homeowners to upgrade their insulation and air sealing while doing other home renovations. It’s an ideal opportunity to combine the work and enjoy a more cost-effective experience. When walls are down or exposed, for instance, this is an ideal time to add insulation and install an air barrier – both of which will enhance the overall energy efficiency in the home. Needless to say, going with a professional approach is preferable.

For homeowners focused on improving home energy efficiency, the insulation experts at Great Northern Insulation offer an easy online tool to move things forward. By using “My EnergyXpert”, homeowners can assess their home’s performance and identify areas of improvement. With GNI, cost effective retrofits can be implemented to enhance a home’s energy efficiency. For more details visit www.gni.ca or contact Great Northern Insulation directly at 1-800-265-1914.

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