• Home Envelope
  • Home Improvement

Continuing to Seal the Envelope

By The Reid Household

Way back in the home envelope challenge we decided to do a few incredibly low cost upgrades, including some interior caulking and the addition of weatherstripping around doors and some foam inserts for outlets and switches that are on exterior walls.  We also decided the time and opportunity—rebates and the federal government’s interest-free Canada Greener Homes Loan—were right to also do a couple of more costly upgrades, including a huge bump in our home’s insulation and a bunch of new windows to replace our largest, least-energy-efficient, old ones.  Those things take time to either manufacture or to fit into the company’s schedule, so we’re super excited they have been completed and installed.

One thing that emerged from this for us was that sometimes things aren’t as they appear.  We had a really obvious attic hatch that appeared to be the primary access (in the time I have lived here there hadn’t been occasion to actually go into the attic), so it was with some surpise that the insulation installers discovered that the access was false—it was sealed off from the main house and probably existed from 40 years ago when an addition was put on the house!   We needed to go hunting and found another access inside an upstairs closet that was previously hidden by ‘stuff’—the takeaway here is that you should make sure you know where your access to your attic is just in case!  Sounds obvious I know, but it got us!

This is all from the past couple of days so there hasn’t been a ton of time to provide anecdotal feedback, BUT in the living room where we had three very large, single-pane windows we already can stand there and feel the area is warmer.  Amazing!  We also learned a cool trick that maybe everyone knows, but in case it’s new to anyone else here’s the trick: hold a lighter up to the window and you will be able to count the reflections of the flame—I tested this on the new triple-glazed and on some double-glazed windows and it was super cool to see it reveal the panes of glass!

For the difference in home comfort from the new insulation I think it might take a bit more time to really notice it, but we’re very excited about going from what the installer thought was R20 (at best!) to the new R60 rating throughout the house.  Along with the spray-foam insulation in the crawlspace we feel good about having sealed up and improved more of our home envelope.

Written by The Reid Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

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