Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about our insulation and services? Check out our frequently asked questions or contact us today for more information
Why Do I Need Proper Insulation?
Insulation is one of the essential components of a building envelope, or the physical separation between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building including its resistance to air, water, heat, light and noise transfer. Adding insulation to your home’s building envelope addresses heat conduction which can be one of the most cost-effective ways keep heat where it belongs: on the inside in the cold winter months, and on the outside during the hot summer months. Addressing conduction by means of insulating your home properly will improve the energy efficiency of your home or building, essentially reducing your heating and cooling utility bills.
What is R-Value?
You may have heard of the term “R-value” in discussions of thermal insulation. R-value is essentially a measure of thermal resistance, and in the case of insulation as a building material, it is a measure of its effectiveness to resist heat transfer. The higher the insulation’s R-value, the more resistant it is to the movement of heat. Provincial buildings code, for example, the Ontario Building Code, prescribes the minimum R-value that an insulation installed in attics of new homes or retrofitted homes must achieve, currently R-60 value. Please refer to our cellulose insulation Manufacturer’s Contractor cards for more info.
How Do I Find Out The R-Value of My Current Insulation?
You may be able to determine the current R-value of the insulation in your home by providing answers to a few questions about your home:
- Do you know the year your home was built?
- Has your home undergone any insulation upgrades since it was built?
- Has your home undergone any renovation since it was built?
- Do you know what type of insulation product was used in your attic?
Tropical insulation provides free no-obligation at home estimates to help you determine if your attic insulation is insufficient. In most cases, if your home has 6 inches or less insulation in the attic, it’s time for an upgrade (retrofit). You might also be interested in having a home energy audit performed to evaluate the energy efficiency in your home and become eligible for the many Ontario sponsored rebate programs in effect. Please visit our insulation rebate page for more information about how to proceed.
How Do I Know it's Time to Upgrade or Replace the Insulation in My Home?
To determine if it’s time to add more insulation to your attic or walls, or completely replace it, answer the following questions:
- Do my energy bills seem to be higher than usual for no apparent reason?
- Are my energy bills escalating higher than normal given the rates of increase?
- Do some rooms in my house seem cooler than others (in Winter)?
- Do some rooms in my house seem hotter than others (in Summer)?
- Do I have drafty, uncomfortable rooms in my home?
- Does my furnace/air conditioner seem to be running endlessly?
- Is snow melting on my roof overall or in spots in the Winter?
- Is there ice or icicles forming on my eavestroughs/gutters in the Winter?
- Was my home built before (need to fill in date here)?
- Do I have vermin or pests in my home?
- Has my home or building undergone damage due to water or fire that has affected the walls or attic?
- Has it been determined that vermiculite insulation was used in my attic?
Do I Have to Remove the Insulation That is Already in My Attic?
Removing the insulation already in your attic is not always necessary. In many cases, insulation can be added on top of existing insulation, especially in the case of blown-in cellulose insulation which is the ultimate retrofit insulation. In both attics and walls, adding insulation on top of existing insulation increases its R-value. An experienced insulation estimator will be able to determine how much you will need depending on the time of insulation currently in installed.
Some cases that require insulation to be removed include evidence of mold or pests (squirrels, rodents, etc), damage to insulation caused by improper ventilation or physical tampering due to renovation, improper installation, damage caused by water or fire, or, the existence of asbestos. Insulation removal should be done by a professional who can then properly prepare the attic space for a new insulation installation.
Can Insulation be Harmful to Me or My Environment?
The answer depends on the insulation used. Tropical Insulation has had a long-standing commitment to installing cellulose insulation for its extensive benefits, including those relating to public health, the health of our installers, environmental sustainability and its eco-friendly attributes. Cellulose insulation is considered one of the safest building materials on the market. With no known off-gas effects often found in other building materials, and because of its particular ability to control air moisture, preventing the formation of mold spores, cellulose insulation is often the insulation of choice when “building green”.
Fire safety is another important consideration. According to National Research Council of Canada, cellulose fiber insulation provides up to a 55% increase in fire resistance.* It is widely accepted that the existence of cellulose insulation in an attic of a burning building can actually resist the spreading of fire more significantly than any other insulation material, giving occupants greater time to evacuate the threat from fire. To learn more, visit the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturer’s Association webpage.
Most cellulose insulation is manufactured with a minimum of 80% recycled paper, mostly newsprint, making its recycled content the largest of all insulations on the market (compare to fiberglass whose maximum recycled content is 50%). The insulation we install, Climatizer Plus cellulose insulation, is manufactured in Canada (Ontario) from 85% locally sourced, post-consumer paper/newsprint waste. If not used to manufacture insulation, this newsprint would be brought directly to landfill to slowly decompose releasing the greenhouse gas methane into our atmosphere, contributing to global warming and the degradation of our environment. As well, cellulose insulation is considered to have the least amount of embodied energy to manufacture it, especially when compared to fiberglass or spray foam.
We are thankful building green has moved beyond trend, and is truly being embraced by the building industry as we move forward towards greater efforts to achieving environmental sustainability.
Is Cellulose Insulation Just Shredded Paper?
Indeed cellulose insulation is manufactured using post-consumer recycled paper or newsprint, that material undergoes processing through advanced fiber technological equipment in a process called “fiberization”. Fiberization essentially breaks up the paper to such a degree that its natural fibres are restored and exposed, giving cellulose insulation its superior air filtration properties. Non-toxic fire, pest and mold retardants (borates) are then applied to the open fibres, generating the product known as loose-fill (dry) cellulose insulation. Cellulose insulation manufactured in Canada is subject to rigorous legislative requirements for its manufacture and distribution.
What is a Rebate?
Provincial and municipal agencies partner with utility companies to offer homeowners and property owners incentives to upgrade certain materials and equipment in their buildings to improve the energy efficiency, lower energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These are known as “Rebate Programs”. Typically, a home energy audit must be scheduled with a professional energy advisor licensed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN). The energy advisor will visit your property and assess its current energy efficiency and suggest improvements.
Please visit our Rebates page to find out more information.