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Properly Rebuild, Insulate Flooded Homes

If your home was flooded, make sure it is rebuilt and insulated properly.

The desire to get flooded homes rebuilt before winter is understandable, but homeowners need to ensure they rebuild right so they do not create long-term problems, says Carl Pedersen, energy educator with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

Flooded homes will need to have the walls open to allow for proper drying, so this is an opportune time to ensure air sealing and insulating is done correctly before wall cavities are closed back up, he adds. Rebuilding and insulating your home properly now can reduce your energy use and save you money in the long term.

Homeowners also need to make sure contractors are using recommended building techniques. While local builders understand the proper way to build homes to withstand harsh winters, contractors from other areas may not have the same attention to detail.

Check out your provincial building codes for specific insulation requirements. The values in the code are based on the R-value of the insulation material, which is a material s resistance to heat flow. Basically, the higher the R-value, the better the material is at insulating.

Attics must be insulated to the recommended R-value and also above-ground exterior walls. Usually, by adding an inch of rigid insulation on the exterior of the home and then insulating the stud cavities, the homeowners should be able to reach an acceptable insulation level, Pedersen says.

Foundation and basement walls also need to be insulated to code, but homeowners have to select the insulating material carefully because of the moist conditions found in most basements. For example, fibreglass is not recommended in basements because of the moisture problems. Extruded polystyrene foam insulation is one good choice.

Air sealing can be just as important as insulating properly. Air leaking out of a home can carry moisture and heat into wall cavities that are not constructed properly. The leaking air will not only cost the homeowner money in heating expenses but could create hazardous conditions due to mould growth.

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