Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need different types of insulation for each season? At Effective Thermal Solutions Ltd., we offer insulation for year-round use. It keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter! Read our Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about our products.
Basements are subterranean structures, they are inherently cold and damp. Therefore, insulation products that absorb moisture should not be installed in basements. All batt insulations soak up water….there are no exceptions. The Quik-Therm Concrete Basement Insulation System will not absorb moisture. Quik-Therm CIS has been uniquely designed for interior basement and concrete walls.
Labelled or Nominal R-value – is the current industry standard for all building codes. Soon, (late 2013) Effective R-Value will become a recommended industry standard. Labelled R-value is the tested ability of insulation (by itself / no building materials) to resist the flow of heat energy. The temperature range is not conducive to real world environments. Typical testing temperature range: Warm side +21°C Cold side +10°C.
Effective / Performance R-value – is the tested ability of “Full Scale” real world wall assemblies including building materials and insulation to resist the flow of heat energy. The temperature range (-18°C to +21°C with a 22 KPH wind / -31°C Wind Chill) provides the real world (Effective) R-value of wall assemblies in predominately cold climates, i.e.: Canada. Results from this method of testing are highly reliable and are presently recognized and accepted by most building code jurisdictions. Click here to read what building science engineering says about R-value.
ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) states the Effective R-value of a wood frame wall assembly including 1/2″ sheetrock, vapour barrier, R-20 fiberglass insulation and 7/16″ OSB is ONLY R-15.8. The US Department of Energy claims it is only R-13.7 as commonly installed.
The Effective R-value of a wood frame wall assembly including 1/2″ sheetrock, empty wood stud cavity, 7/16″ OSB, 2″ Quik-Therm MPI or Quik-Therm Connect is R-13.2.
Quik-Therm CIS is an all in one composite insulation system that deals with all three forms of heat transfer – Conduction, Convection and Radiation. High performance insulation panels keep walls warm. The panels are foamed together; consequently there is no air leakage; and engineered reflective facers send radiant energy back to its source. Basements with Quik-Therm CIS are typically 3 to 5 degrees warmer than basements with batt, poly and studs.
Is a double Vapour barrier created when foam insulation is added to the outside of framed walls?
The real answer is yes. Typically, homes and buildings have interior poly vapour barriers and fiberglass insulation in the wall cavities. The poly is designed to stop moisture from entering the wall cavity and does a darn good job of it – but it’s not perfect. Some moisture always gets in, and some is inherently built in. It’s just the way it is; assuming framed walls continue to be constructed the way they are.
When rigid foam insulation is attached tight to exterior wood sheathing the walls drying path is totally cut off. That means some moisture will be trapped within the wall cavity; it also means humidity in the cavity will be higher. Moisture and mold go hand in hand.
When installing continuous insulation on the outside of batt filled framed walls, follow these instructions and the walls will be energy efficient and healthy. Create at least 1/8″ airspace (no more than 3/16″) between the exterior sheathing and the rigid foam insulation and buy quality rigid foam
insulation that is at least 1.5″ thick.
The double vapour barrier wall design can work, provided the rigid foam insulation is at least two inches thick and all joints, cracks and seams are taped and/or foamed. It works, provided the wall is tight. Attention to detail is critical.
Thermal bridges, also known as cold bridges, are areas where framing members, etc. break up the continuous flow of insulation. It is easier for heat to flow through dense framing materials. For example, heat energy loss through steel framing is far greater than energy loss through wood framing. Adding Quik-Therm MPI to any structure will significantly increase its energy efficiency, by as much as 35% or more.
The dreaded double vapour barrier syndrome has been a topic of building construction conversation for decades. The theory is; when two vapour barriers are part of the same wall assembly (one on the outside of the wall and one on the inside of the wall), moisture may be trapped between the inside and outside vapour barriers; thus reducing the wall’s ability to dry. We will attempt to make this explanation simple but first it is important to understand some basic physics. We refer to this as Thermodynamics 101.
Migration – Warm air migrates to cold air and high pressure areas move to lower pressure areas. In the winter, the inside air of a building is warmer and its pressure is higher than outdoor air.
Diffusion – Diffusion is moisture moving through (penetrating) building materials. Vapour barriers slow moisture transfer/diffusion down but never really stop it.
Air Pressure – Warmer higher pressure air moves to colder lower pressure areas by the easiest path possible. This happens through breaches (tiny holes and crevices) in building envelopes.
Condensation – As air warms, its ability to hold water vapour increases; as it cools it decreases. Relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture that air can hold at a specific temperature. When warm moist air meets colder air or objects within the wall cavity, it condenses and turns to water, frost or ice. This is referred to as the “dew point”.
What happens: in the heating season the inside of buildings are warmer than the ambient temperature outdoors. Consequently, through crevices and tiny holes, the warmer higher pressure air migrates towards the colder lower pressure air. When the warm moist air meets the cold air (or objects) within the wall cavity, it condenses and turns into water, frost or ice. The results are wet insulation, framing and building materials. Long term consequences are mildew, mold, wood-rot and potentially serious health problems.
Try this: Blow into an empty Coke bottle. Because there are no holes other than the one you ary trying to blow in – the warm pressurized air from your lungs is unable to replace the cooler stable air in the Coke bottle. In other words, because there is no leakage (holes), the air from your lungs cannot replace the air in the bottle.
Conclusion: High performance impermeable insulation (minimum 2″ thickness) installed on the exterior of a wall assembly stops air leakage and keeps wall cavities above the dew point temperature. If exterior continuous insulation is less than 2″ thick, the potential for significant condensation exists.