Our Canadian climate produces some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet. With scorching heat in the summer and sub-zero cold in the winter, we have to rely on insulation that really works. Although all types of insulation products provide a resistance to heat flow, some insulation such as Therm-O-Light and Therm-O-Spray do a better job.
An efficient thermal insulation is one which has a high resistance to heat flow (loss). Although the same total thermal resistance can be installed for any type of insulating product, it does not mean that they are equally efficient. A better means to judge performance is through thermal resistivity comparisons. Thermal resistivity is the thermal performance of the material per unit thickness. The importance of high thermal resistivity comes into play where the space (i.e. thickness) is limited such as those found around the soffit areas of an attic. In most cases the roof slope limits the amount of insulation to less than the recommended thickness and if the insulation level is not high enough in such areas, problems such as ice damming can occur. Our products protect against such problems as it has one of the highest rated R-Values per unit thickness. Additionally, the Thermal Resistivity of our product does not degrade over time like foamed plastic products in which its performance can degrade over 20%.
Although heat loss occurs through conduction, convection and radiation, the thermal resistance of building insulation is determined from conductivity measurements since it represents the greatest percentage of heat loss in a building or structure. The thermal resistance of a material is simply the reciprocal of the conductivity. In order to make relevant comparisons, all insulation products are tested under similar conditions using standardized equipment and procedures. Unfortunately, the conditions used to establish R-Value are not necessarily representative of real world conditions. Currently, conductivity is measured in a heat flow with a warm temperature set to 35°C (95°F) and a cold temperature set to 13°C (55°F). This results a mean temperature 24°C (75°F) and temperature difference across the specimen of 22°C (40°F).
However, when tested under realistic conditions not all insulation perform the same and some insulation product's experience performance degradation. This is not the case with our product . Our product has been tested by an independent laboratory using a realistic indoor temperature of 24°C (75°F) and outside temperatures ranging from 13°C (55°F) to -10°C (14°F) and results have shown the performance of our products improves with decreasing outside temperatures.
Settling is a natural physical process whereby a loose material consolidates and reduces in thickness over time. It is common to all loose-fill insulation which are blown onto open surfaces and if it is not taken into consideration at the time of installation a lower thermal performance will result. As such, most reputable manufacturers will include an allowance for settlement when establishing their coverage chart. When in doubt check the coverage chart on the package. If the chart does not have an applied and settled thickness value or if the values in the columns are the same, then caution must be excersied.
It also worth noting that settlement is a function of where the product is used and how it is applied. For example, loose-fill insulation can be injected into wall, ceiling and floor cavities under sufficient pressure to prevent it from settling. Additionally, it can be spray applied with water or a water based adhesive in such a manner that it will not settle over time.
For open blown applications, the amount of settlement has always been a controversy. Many fibreglass and rock wool manufacturers claim their products do not settle. This is not true and contrary to claims, all unbonded loose-fill insulation will settle to a certain extent. Additionally, all loose-fill insulation is susceptible to compaction if used in an area where it is continually disturbed.
The degree of settlement, however, will vary and is a function of the fibre type and length and installed density. In the case fibreglass, settlement tends to be less since it is manufactured with a longer thinner fiber and is installed at extremely low densities. The density of loose-fill fibreglass can be as low as 0.5 lb/ft3 compared to our products which have an installed density of 1.6 lb/ft3 or greater. Does this mean it is a better product? "No", in fact you are receiving less insulative value as light density products are not resistant to air infiltration and therefore perform poorly under extreme temperature conditions.
Additionally, the long fibres used in man made products allow it to be installed at even lower densities than specified by the manufacturer. This results in a fraudulent practice known as "fluffing" in which a contractor installs as much as 20% less material than they are supposed to install. Unfortunately it also results in the consumer receiving substantially less insulation value especially under extreme conditions. Our products do not have this problem. They are manufactured from paper which is made up of natural wood fibre acquired from the sustainable harvesting of trees. The shorter hollow fibres have the advantages of filling very small voids and tight spaces and reducing air infiltration. Our product cannot be fluffed beyond the value on the chart and it retains its R-Value over a wide range of installed densities and under extreme conditions. Thus, provided the correct thickness of material was installed, there is no need to worry that you did not receive the correct quantity of material or corresponding R-Value.