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Forgot about the 2019 insulation requirements? It could cost you several thousand dollars!

Forgot about the 2019 insulation requirements? It could cost you several thousand dollars!

While renters may be rejoicing about the new insulation requirements for winter of 2019, for landlords who haven’t got around to updating yet, have you checked the calendar recently? It’s 2019 already, and July is just around the corner! If you’re a landlord with an uninsulated or under-insulated rental property, you have less than half a year to make the deadline. It might cost a little to add the required insulation, but not doing so could cost a lot more… Up to $4000!


Although the deadline is close, you still have time to get your rental home up to par. But don’t procrastinate too long; even the most efficient insulation installers can only work so fast, and they’re bound to be booked up quickly when the date gets closer.


So do I have to insulate my entire house?

Not necessarily. While insulation for the entire house has numerous benefits such as keeping away moisture and lowering energy bills, adding it to a home without any can be a big upfront cost. It’s a good investment if you have the means to do so, but if not, the new legislation doesn’t require insulation in any walls. Instead, every home needs to have both ceiling and underfloor insulation where there is adequate access.


How do I know if I have insulation or not?

The easiest way to find out is to go and take a look! You check for ceiling insulation yourself with a ladder by checking in your roof space. See nothing but wood and beams? Then you probably don’t have any. For the floor, the best place to check is a crawlspace or an access point beneath the floor which you can often find outdoors. From there you should be able to see whether or not you have insulation. Typically, you’ll find either foil or bulk insulation such as fibreglass or wool.

I already have insulation, does that mean my house is all good?

Even if you have insulation, the type that you have might not meet the new standards. The insulation has to be in good condition—so no gaps or missing sections—and it has to be at least 120mm thick. Damaged sections can be repaired if possible, so you might not have to replace whole sections if a small part is damaged.  MPIE also requires minimum R-values that must be met to make sure that the insulation works well enough.


Because foil insulation isn’t the greatest (and can give a shocking surprise if you touch it), damaged foil needs to be replaced instead of repaired when possible. Do not touch foil insulation because of the high risk of electrocution. Instead, let the trained professional make sure it’s replaced safely.


What if it I can’t add insulation for some reason?

Some homes weren’t built with insulation in mind, and this makes it so that there’s no good way to access the ceiling space or underfloor area to add insulation. If the home is on a concrete slab or would require extensive renovations, you may be able to get an exemption, but you can’t make the claim on your own; a professional insulation installer has to write up the claim for you. For more information on exceptions, see the MPIE guide to exceptions to insulation regulations.


Do you need professional assistance?

If you’re not one to climb ladders or crawl into a small, dark, questionable space, you can always have an expert come by and take a look. They can check whether or not you have insulation, and if you do, if that insulation meets the requirements. But make sure to act fast—the closer it gets to July, the less chance you’ll be able to schedule for installing insulation, which comes with a fee of up to $4000. And it’s definitely better to put the money towards improving your property than to use it for a government noncompliance fee!

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