Warming Your Older Home

Have you ever noticed that older homes don’t seem to have the same warmth as newer ones do? They may seem a little draftier, and outside noises aren’t filtered as well as in newer homes. A common reason for this is the home is poorly insulated, or worse, not insulated at all! Walls that have poor insulation or no insulation are not doing anything more than keeping the outside out, and the neighbours from seeing in! The energy lost from a home in this situation is substantial. You may think that there is nothing you can do to remedy this situation. Possibly you have been told that you are going to have to remove the walls on the inside of your home in order to insulate the wall cavities. These ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a few solutions to this problem however blown-in insulation is by far the easiest.
What is blown-in wall insulation?
Blown-in wall insulation utilizes a material called cellulose. Cellulose is made up of recycled newspaper that is grinded into tiny pieces. It is then treated with borates to make it fire retardant, mold resistant, and pest repellent. This preparation is then packaged in vacuum-sealed bags for ease of transportation, space saving, and user handling. There are several brand names and R-values available from which to choose. Once the packages arrive at the home where they are to be used, they are cut open and broken up in to a blower machine that is used specifically for blowing in this insulation.
How is blown-in insulation installed?
Blown-in insulation can be installed in attics and wall cavities. In older homes that are lacking adequate wall insulation, the process of blowing in insulation is a job that should be undertaken by a reputable, professional insulation installer. These professionals have been trained to ensure proper installation and to avoid any damage to the interior walls and wiring that is contained within them. A thorough site inspection is undertaken and a plan is drawn up to identify obstructions such as wiring and pipes. These precautions are vital to ensure that no damage is done while drilling holes as well as to guarantee that the space above and below larger pipes is being filled with cellulose. Some wall cavities contain pipes for instance that will go through the middle of that cavity. Without properly inspecting the site, and making note of this, the walls may not be properly insulated.
Once the obstacles are determined, the installer will drill holes large enough for the installation hose in the exterior walls. In the case of vinyl siding, a few slats can be removed in the area where the holes will be drilled and then replaced once the job is done. For a wood-sided house, the holes will be filled with wood plugs and then sealed. Bricks can be removed and replaced, or holes can be drilled through mortar in the case of a brick home. The hose is then inserted into the hole and the insulation is blown into the wall cavity. Some installations start and the top of the wall and others go from the bottom up. The cellulose will stop moving through the hose once the cavity is full. Once all of the walls are filled, the installer will close the access holes, repair the intentional damage, and do an interior inspection for cellulose that may have come through. The installer should then explain to you what they have done, and show you that the holes have been repaired. All you have to do now is enjoy the comfort, and quiet of your newly insulated home.


Mike Holmes Official Insulation Contractor

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