It goes without saying that insulation upgrades and new installations are big jobs that require a clear understanding of the structure being insulated. Simply laying down a few batts between studs in the attic, or injecting spray foam or blowing in fiberglass fill, without studying the building, can be a recipe for questionable efficiency and lost money.
One response to this approach might be, “yes, but the building has to breathe, so we don’t want to seal things up too much!”
Actually, you do. The notion of allowing a building to breathe is an outdated old wives’ tale (old insulators’ tale?) that, today, actually contributes to higher heating and cooling bills.
The tighter the building, the more efficient the insulation will be. Some of the reasons for this approach include:
- Reducing energy consumption.
- Avoiding moisture condensation problems.
- Eliminating drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outside.
- Determining how much mechanical ventilation is needed to provide acceptable indoor air quality.
“Natural ventilation,” which is air that leaks in through cracks and crevices, is unreliable and does not provide inhabitants with enough fresh air. It also reduces indoor comfort -- think cold drafts and uneven temperatures -- and wastes energy.
Ideally, the air inside of a building, whether it is a home or a commercial building, should be fully controlled, thus allowing you to control where air comes from and at what rate. Controlled ventilation ensures that the air entering a building is filters and conditioned. It also prevents the exhaust from combustion appliances -- such as space heaters, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers, to name a few -- from decreasing the air quality of your home or business.
But it is not just a case of saving energy. While that is important, taking care of the building itself and protecting the integrity of the structure are equally vital. Uncontrolled airflow and too-drastic temperature variations can cause moisture to condense in the walls -- creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, and creating conditions that can lead to rot.
All of this leads up back to the beginning: the need for testing. Koala Insulation uses thermographic imaging to find the leaks and help demonstrate the difference that insulation can make.
Thermographic imaging uses infrared video and cameras to “see” the heat in a building. It is a quantitative measure of the leaks and illustrates just how bad they are. The resulting images, called thermograms, will show us where heat is being lost as well as where air leaks exist.