When you have decided to replace your old inefficient heating system with a modern high efficiency furnace it makes sense to first of all make sure that thye insulation in your home is up to modern standards. Twenty or thirty years ago fuel was very cheap and houses were often poorly insulated . There was no need to have top grade insulation when you could buy fuel for pennies a gallon. Nowadays it is a very different story and fuel is expensive whether you burn gas or oil. It makes no sense to spend money on a high efficiency furnace if heat is leaking through the walls of your home to an inordinate extent.You should first bring the insulation up to standard in order to take advantage of the fuel savings you get with the new furnace. Here is the official details of the correct way to insulate your home. This is quoted directly from the CMHC website.
Wall Insulation for Existing Construction
The two most common wall types are wood-frame and solid brick. In a wood-frame wall, insulation (loose fill and some foams) is typically blown into the cavities through holes that have been drilled through the drywall or siding. In solid brick, the largest cavity is usually 25 mm (1 in.) wide, which is not enough for any significant increase in R value. The builder must create a cavity. Usually, a new cavity wall is built inside and insulated as a new wall, or board stock and new siding are applied to the exterior. When planning a cavity wall retrofit, remember the following:
The cost of getting at and repairing the walls is a significant part of the work and cost of the project.
Both air and vapour barriers are required. The interior painted drywall can be both an air and vapour barrier, but details at windows, electrical outlets, floors and other penetrations must be done carefully to reduce air movement through the wall as much as possible. Air movement can lead to mold growth and decay of the walls, as well as loss of insulation efficiency.
An insulation must be selected that will completely fill the cavity and not settle. Some insulations, such as foams, can provide reasonable air barriers themselves.
The attic is often the most cost-effective place to add insulation. Usually, a contractor blows loose fill into and over the top of ceiling joists. For the do-it-yourselfer, batts laid sideways on existing insulation are an easy alternative.
The air barrier at the ceilingline must be tight to ensure warm moist air from the house does not get into the cold attic and condense in the winter. Check ceiling light fixtures, the tops of interior walls and penetrations such as plumbing stacks for air leakage.
Ensure that soffit venting is not blocked by added insulation; baffles may have to be installed.
Basement walls are unique because they must handle significant moisture flows from both inside and outside the house. The preferred method, from a building science perspective, is to insulate the wall on the outside with rigid insulation suitable for below-grade installations, such as extruded polystyrene or rigid fibreglass.
The advantages are as follows:
Insulating the outside of the basement works well with dampproofing and foundation drainage. Rigid fibreglass or mineral wool acts as a drainage layer, keeping surface and ground water away from the foundation.
The basement walls are kept at room temperature, protecting the structure, reducing the risk of interior condensation and increasing comfort.
The disadvantages are the disturbance of landscaping, the need to cover the insulation above grade, and the relatively high cost.
Interior insulation can be used. This can be done when finishing the basement by using batt insulation in the stud cavities or by installing extruded polystyrene and strapping on the face of the perimeter walls. If the basement won't be finished, you can install rolls of polyethylene-encapsulated fibreglass over the wall. The advantages of interior installation are cost and ease of construction. The disadvantages of interior installations are as follows:
The basement walls are now at the temperature of the soil or the outside. Any moist air moving through the wall from the inside will condense on the wall.
Usually, there is a moisture barrier against the foundation wall and a vapour retarder on the room side of the insulation. As a result, the wall has poor drying potential.
Never apply interior insulation to a basement with moisture problems. Fix the moisture entry problems before insulating (see CMHC’s publication A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement).
Is it Cost Effective to Insulate?
The right insulation system can save you money, reduce the amount of energy you use and make your home more comfortable. Keep in mind that installation costs (including changes to the framing, cladding, and finishes) are usually the most expensive part of an insulation project. The local climate has an impact on the cost-effectiveness of any insulating project.
Check the cost, heat loss and heat gain of all available options. Review all details to ensure that moisture movement is handled correctly. You can then select theThe Final Analysis
If your home is poorly insulated, it usually pays to upgrade the insulation. If you are building a new home, it makes sense to insulate well now, so you don't need to retrofit later.
The picture is quite clear when you read the above material which is quoted from the CMHC website. Insulating your home is definitely a priority when it comes to saving money on your heating bill. With good insulation and a high efficiency furnace your fuel bill will be cut by 35% or possibly more, compared to using a low efficiency furnace in a poorly insulated home.
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