OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - Canadian homeowners are becoming increasingly interested in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. This is a particular concern for Canadians who live in older houses that may not be as well insulated and air sealed as newer homes.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on your energy bills and reduce your energy consumption is by adding or retrofitting insulation to your home. To help you improve the energy-efficiency of your house, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips:

-- Before doing any retrofits to your home, hire a qualified residential energy service provider to carry out an EnerGuide for Homes energy audit. This audit provides guidance on how to reduce the energy consumption of your home by adding insulation, improving airtightness, and updating space and water heating appliances.

-- Before you add insulation, inspect for, and correct, any pre-existing problems - especially water leaks. To fully assess your home, talk to a qualified contractor or home inspector and find out more about the necessary precautions. Often problems can be fixed as a part of your insulation retrofit project.

-- Adding insulation to the attic is often the best and least expensive place to start, if space permits. Before adding insulation to your attic, ensure air from your house is not leaking up - gaps and holes around attic hatches, electrical boxes, wiring, pipes, ducts and chimneys should be sealed using caulking, spray-in foam insulation or other appropriate material. Check for and solve any moisture problems as well. Target having at least as much attic insulation as required for new houses, and ensure the newly installed insulation does not block the flow of air from the soffits into the attic.

-- Unfinished or lightly insulated basement walls are also good places to add insulation. Make sure there are no water leaks or other moisture problems before you start otherwise you risk losing your investment if rot sets into your newly insulated basement.

-- Insulation can be added to either the inside or outside of the walls of your home. An interior insulation retrofit can be done any time of the year, generally won't affect the exterior cladding, and doesn't reduce the distance between your home and your property line. However, adding insulation and a new air barrier system from the outside can often be easier and less disruptive for people living in the home. The choice will largely depend on such factors as your home's external and internal finishes, the layout of your house, your tolerance for mess and disruption, and your renovation budget.

-- When adding insulation, choose the type and amount of insulation that provides the thermal resistance you need and is appropriate for the application. For instance, mineral wool may be a good choice where moisture resistance is needed. Spray-in foam insulation offers high insulating value and air sealing in difficult locations where space is tight. Blown-in cellulose or fibreglass insulation works well in attics.

-- To keep costs to a minimum, remember that the best time to insulate and air seal your house is when you're carrying out other renovations that need to be done anyway. If you're planning to fix any water leaks, improve your home's comfort or update any of your interior or exterior finishes, it could give you an ideal opportunity to improve your home's energy-efficiency and airtightness. Plus, in addition to reducing your heating bills, improving your home's building envelope can also result in fewer drafts and cold spots, less exterior noise, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, a more comfortable living space for your family, and a potentially higher resale value.

To learn more about insulation retrofit options, download a free copy of the CMHC "About Your House" fact sheet, Energy Efficiency Building Envelope Retrofits for Your House.

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To download a free copy of the "About Your House" fact sheet Energy Efficiency Building Envelope Retrofits for Your House, or for information on sustainable technologies and practices for your home, visit our website at

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