Insulation is crucial for houses located within Canada. It is very well known that the country experiences extreme climate changes. This constant change in temperature may cause your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to run inefficiently without proper insulation. The cost of your energy consumption increases when your HVAC systems run poorly. One of the best forms of insulations being used is known as spray foam insulation. However, people are curious on how spray foam insulation differs from other forms of insulation and how long it lasts compared to the other alternatives. This will be discussed more in this article while also giving you further details about spray foam insulation.
Things to Know About Insulation
Knowing more about insulation is crucial in understanding why spending for installing such materials in your house is necessary. The following discusses some of the important things you should know about home insulation:
- According to the laws of thermodynamics, hot air is known to flow or transfer to areas where the temperature is lower. Insulation is used to prevent this transfer of air from happening.
- HVAC systems are greatly affected when the house is not properly insulated. The cooling systems usually work best during the summer. This is because the temperature outside is higher. Without proper insulation, hot air coming from outside can leak into the house through open spaces, holes, or cracks on the walls. This would make the cooling systems run inefficiently since the pre-set temperature on the thermostat cannot be achieved due to the formation of hot air pockets inside the house. So the air-conditioning system will try to produce colder air until the hot air pockets disappear. Insulation materials are used to seal these areas that would allow hot air to flow into the house. By doing so, the air-conditioning system will automatically turn off whenever the temperature set on the thermostat is achieved. During winter, the heating system would be the one that would run inefficiently as the warm air inside the house would try to escape the house. These can be the reasons why the energy bill is relatively high.
- There are many forms of insulation materials developed throughout the years. Depending on the budget and areas that need to be insulated, a person may need to use a specific insulation material over the others.
Spray Foam and Other Insulation Materials
Being able to determine between the different forms of insulation materials is important to avoid wasting money on purchasing incompatible materials. Below are the most common forms of insulation materials:
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF)
o Spray foam insulation material is created when isocyanate and resin mix, expands, and then hardens after being sprayed to the wall cavities, basements, ceilings, or attics. Isocyanate is an irritant and is toxic when inhaled or ingested, which is why during the process of application, the installer needs to wear protective gear. At its hardened state, the spray foam insulation material will only be toxic if ingested.
o The insulation material is able to penetrate areas that are hard to reach. It can be effective in sealing any cracks or holes where hot air can seep through.
o There are two types of spray foam insulation material. These include:
Open cell spray foam
- Insulation is measured by its resistance to conductive heat flow. This is done by rating it with its thermal resistance, also called R-value. Having a higher R-value means the material has a better insulating capability.
- Open-cell spray foam has an R-value within the range of 3.6 to 3.8 per inch.
- The material is soft and has a low-density.
- It is best utilized for interior application.
Closed cell spray foam
- Closed cell spray foam produces a material that is rigid with a medium density. It has a closed composition of cell, which makes it a better option to keep moisture out.
- The R-value of closed cell spray foam can be more than 6.0 per inch.
- It can be used internally or externally.
Blanket rolls or batts
o This is the most widely known type of insulation material.
o A blanket roll may be composed of materials like fiberglass or any other plastic fibers.
o It can be easily cut to be installed on smaller areas of the house.
o This is best applied on surfaces with larger areas of coverage.
o It is usually placed in between beams, studs, and joints.
o One of the disadvantages of using fiberglass blanket rolls is that glass fibers may irritate your eyes, lungs, or skin. Another is that if it is not handled carefully, the material may be easily ripped or torn apart.
o Foam boards are insulation materials that may be composed of polyurethane, polystyrene, or polyisocyanurate.
o This may be placed anywhere in the house. These can be specifically placed on wall sheathings.
o This provides good thermal resistance to the house.
Loose-fill and blown-in insulation
o This type of insulation material is made from small pieces of fiberglass, mineral wool, or cellulose.
o The material is blown into the wall cavities, or areas that have very small openings.
o Since the materials used may be made from fiberglass, the possibility of irritations to the lungs, skins, or eyes may happen.
o These are used for insulating air ducts. This is one of the better options to be placed in areas with high temperatures.
o A fibrous board can be made from mineral wool or fiberglass.
o It may have a thickness range between 1” to 2.5”.
o This type of insulation material can be placed in front or at the back of a wall.
o It is complicated to install concrete blocks. There may be a need for professionals to apply this type of insulation material.
How Long Does Spray Foam Insulation Last?
Spray foam insulation is one of the best materials that can last for longer periods of time. If the insulation material is not hit by external forces, the material can last for more than 30 years. Once the material has hardened, it is known that it will not degrade over time. However, it can easily be damaged or broken when hit by humans or animals. This is why it is important to reinforce the spray foam insulation material since rodents and animals can easily eat or scratch through it. Also, if you have pets, you will need to ensure that they will not be able to bite or break off any part of the insulation material as it is toxic whenever they ingest it.
Benefits of Applying Spray Foam Insulation to Your House
Spray foam insulation is known to be one of the costly types of insulation materials. However, it has a very good cost-effectiveness due to the multiple benefits it is able to give you. Below are some of these benefits:
- It is able to prevent the entry of moisture into your house. When water leaks into your house, it may cause the formation of molds and mildew. With spray foam insulation, water is not able to seep through the material.
- Being an excellent insulation material, it ensures you savings on your expenses with regards to your energy bills. The HVAC system will be able to operate optimally since hot air will not be able to move in and out of your house.
- It is one of the insulation materials that may be applied easily. However, since this deals with chemicals, there is a need for a protective suit to be used during implementation.
- When the spray foam material has been properly applied, it will harden without giving out a bad odor. You can be assured that your family will have better living conditions during summer and winter.
- As discussed above, it can last for a longer period of time if it is not physically damaged. This is why it is a cost-effective option since you will not need to spend again within shorter periods of time.
- It can be used to insulate your garage as well. If your house is connected to your garage, air and water will not be able to leak from the garage into the house.
- This type of insulation material is able to absorb sound waves. This will help lessen any noise coming from outside to enter your house. By using closed cell spray foam, more noise is absorbed, which means the least possible amount of sound will be able to pass through.
Spray Foam Insulation is Your Best Choice in the Long Run
With spray foam insulation, you are assured that you get the most out of the money you spent on having it installed. You should be cautious if you apply the materials yourself. It is highly advised that you hire a licensed contractor to do the job to avoid any health hazards. Professional installers are already equipped with the best gear and tools to properly apply the spray foam material.
You may contact the Foam Insulation Company at (416) 880-1927 if you need any help with the insulation of your house.