When heating and cooling your home, whether winter or summer, the insulation should help maintain a constant interior temperature without using the furnace or air conditioner. Insulate your home correctly to reduce energy costs while maintaining year-round comfort for living and entertaining.
When discussing insulation, it’s important to understand how it will impact the conduction, heat transfer, convection, and airflow, which will significantly affect your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
To better understand how home insulation works, we approach the experts to learn about the benefits and the correct way to insulate your home.
How can insufficient insulation affect your home?
Uninsulated or poorly insulated spaces lead to a substantial loss in warm or cool air produced by your heater or air conditioner. This causes your HVAC systems to work harder to maintain your preferred temperature, which wastes energy and drastically increases costs.
All external surfaces of your home should be properly insulated to maintain efficiency and comfort. This includes attics, basements, crawl spaces, add-ons, etc. If you’re noticing increased home heating and cooling costs or feel drafts throughout your home, it could be a sign of poor insulation.
R-value is a measurement used that will tell you how much insulation is needed in an area of your home. Local regulations do specify a minimum, but if you’d really like to increase home efficiency, going about 25-50% higher than this minimum is a good rule of thumb. For example, if the minimum is R-40 for attic insulation, using R-60 insulation is a smart choice.
Additionally, upgrading insulation alone won’t be an effective way to save energy if poor air sealing is present. Insulation’s job is to resist heat transfer, whereas sealing resists air movement. So, it’s important to ensure that your home is properly sealed and insulated, as both work together in harmony to maintain efficiency.
Before upgrading insulation, it’s also important to evaluate moisture and humidity levels. Adding insulation where there’s a potential moisture problem can make the situation much worse. So, it’s recommended to consult a professional on moisture control in this case.
If you have concerns about the efficiency of your home, a home energy audit is a great way to ensure that your home is properly insulated and sealed. Proper home insulation will do wonders towards keeping your energy bills low and your home nice and cozy.
Josh Green – Mysa Smart Thermostats
What are the benefits of an insulated plasterboard?
As everyone knows, insulating your home can be a time-consuming process; especially when you throw plastering into the mix. Not only do you have to consider drying times, but also the sourcing and fitting of different insulant materials. Insulated plasterboard provides you with the best of both worlds – insulation and plasterboard.
This easy, all-in-one product both insulates and dries lines in one simple solution. Not only is it a speedy alternative to traditional lath and plaster processes but it also thermally protects your home, welcoming a drop in your heating bills and an increase in your home’s energy efficiency.
So, what are the benefits?
- Performs two jobs in one single operation.
- Great way to increase insulation values in an existing building or property.
- Features a board of standard drywall plasterboard pre-bonded to a sheet of insulating material.
- Each board combines the low-heat transfer properties of insulation with the structural integrity of standard plasterboard
- Offers long-term energy-saving benefits
- Works well for refurbishment and new build projects to help meet U-value targets
- It’s quicker to install – generally installed via dot and dab, meaning you can get to painting and decorating sooner
- Added benefits such as fire/moisture resistance due to the addition of glass fiber and other additives
- Some boards incorporate a vapor control layer, offering high moisture resistance
Dave Ashbolt – Materials Market
How to do sound insulation with architectural glazing?
There are many factors that can affect the acoustic performance of a property, as well as things that can enhance acoustic performance. One way to reduce noise pollution using architectural glazing is to specify triple glazing, increasing the glass thickness and therefore the distance that noise must travel through to reach internal spaces. For better acoustic performance, acoustic reduction glass should be considered.
Acoustic reduction glass can be specified to improve the acoustic performance of your glazing and in turn your house, using PVB interlayers and laminated glazing to reduce noise transmission by approximately 10 decibels. The technical glass solution is perfect for projects located in densely populated or urban areas, reducing the volume of noise that can travel through the glazing and making any background noise insignificant.
Sound reduction glass works by decreasing the acoustic energy of the sound wave. This in turn reduces the level of sound that can be heard from inside the home due to the lowered decibels traveling through the glass. Although sound-reduction glazing cannot be used to eliminate sound completely, when specified correctly by an expert in glass specification, it can prevent noise pollution from becoming an issue in residential settings.
For the most effective results, acoustic interlayers should be laminated between toughened panes of glass during the glass manufacturing stage. The PVB interlayers are designed with sound insulating properties and are then installed into a double or triple-glazed laminated unit for external use or installed as internal partitioning elements for interior glazing. The acoustic interlayers reduce sound transmission through the glass to between 35Db and 49Db, depending on the glass makeup.
Noise-reduction glass can be specified in a range of applications, from simple casement windows to entire elevations of floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The interlayers do not change the appearance of the glass and when used with structural glazing solutions, maintain uninterrupted views of the outdoor environment from within the home.
Carly Coren – IQ Glass
How does home insulation work?
Insulating your home helps regulate the temperature: it prevents heat loss (during the winter) and heat gain (during the summer).Most of the heat loss in your home is from conduction, the flow of heat through solid materials. Think about the last time you touched the inside part of a window during winter: it was cold even though you were heating the air around it. That’s an example of conduction. Conduction makes the heat flow from the inside part of the window to the outside extremely fast, cooling the window and the area around it. Insulation limits this flow of heat. It traps the heat in the walls, floors, attic, or wherever you have insulation installed, slowing the rate at which it goes outside—and allowing you to save energy.
Michael Thomas – Carbon Switch
What’s your best choice for insulating floors?
A fantastic all-around floor insulation option is cork.
It has an R-value of 3.6 to 4.2 per inch so it provides even greater insulation than your typical fiberglass insulation, but with neither the negative health effects encountered when installing it nor the impact on the Earth due to it.
It’s a natural material that’s well known for its soundproofing ability. Cork can absorb up to 70% of the tones in the 400 to 4000 Hz frequency range (the most common frequency range in the human ear picks up) – so it’s great for blocking out unwanted sounds from both inside and outside the house.
Cork is naturally resistant to moisture. Used as stoppers in wine bottles, cork does not require a separate moisture barrier to prevent rot, and it resists mold and mildew.
Cork insulation also meets the European Class E designation for fire resistance, and it is also unattractive to termites and mice, which can save homeowners some potential major headaches.
Cork also happens to be a popular flooring option (in addition to the aforementioned benefits, it cushions your feet as you walk, it’s warm underfoot, easy to install and replace, etc.) so you could go all the way with cork for both insulation and flooring or you could just use it as an underlayment underneath your tile, hardwood, etc. and it will still provide you with a number of benefits.
Lastly, people insulate to save money on home heating/cooling costs as well as to do their part for the environment by using less energy. If the second of those reasons is of importance to you, consider that cork is a 100% natural, renewable product that is both recycled as well as recyclable – plus it’s biodegradable, and it also sequesters carbon!
Cork trees are harvested by hand every nine years, and the trees last hundreds of years, so they can be harvested time and again, making cork one of the absolute most environmentally sound insulation options.
So what do you think – ready to pop the cork on your next insulation
Kiva Bottero – Green Home Gnome
Why is it important to insulate the roof and rafters?
There are two main reasons for insulating the roof and rafters: to keep the heat in during winter and to keep the heat out during summer. In winter, heat rises and escapes through the roof if it is not properly insulated. This causes your heating bills to go up as you have to use more energy to keep your home warm.
If your attic is a liveable space, insulation also helps to keep some of the noise from outside from coming in. Good acoustic insulation installed correctly works as a sound barrier, blocking out some of the noise. This is important if you live in a busy city or near a highway.
Roof insulation helps to keep your home cool by reflecting heat away from the house. In summer, the sun beats down on your roof, and the heat radiates into your attic if it is not properly insulated. This makes your home hotter and more difficult to cool, driving up your energy bills.
Proper insulation of the roof and rafters helps to ensure that your home is comfortable all year round while also saving you money on energy costs. It is absolutely essential if you want to turn your roof area into a comfortable usable space.
Even if you just use your attic for storage, insulation is still important. The space can get very hot in summer and very cold in winter, which can damage stored items. If you have a furnace or water heater in the attic, good insulation helps to keep them working properly and efficiently by preventing temperature fluctuations that make them work harder, use more energy, and wear out faster.
Diarmuid Kidney – Insulation 4 Less
What are the main benefits of loft insulation?
Installing loft insulation has many benefits:
Improved energy efficiency
Your loft insulation has more to do with your home’s energy efficiency than you might expect. By preventing heat loss through the roof, the amount of energy required to heat and maintain the temperature in your home is significantly reduced.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of a home’s heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home.
Loft insulation plays a significant role in keeping heat inside during the winter months while preventing too much heat from building up during the summer months. This makes your home more comfortable all year round even without air conditioning or heating.
This in turn means less C02 is produced to heat and cool your home. Carbon dioxide savings of 1300kg per year are achievable in larger homes, making your home much more environmentally friendly.
Since more heat is retained in your home, you’ll spend far less money on heating. The same applies to cooling your home, too. This can equate to savings of over £580 per year in larger homes in the UK.
Increased home value
Loft insulation improves the EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of a home, a measure of its thermal performance, and as a result, can also help to increase its value.
An indirect benefit of loft insulation is noise reduction. When the loft insulation is correctly installed, you’ll find that it does a great job of preventing noise from the roof and loft area. If you have sound issues, loft insulation can make a big difference.
Easy DIY job
Perhaps one of the main benefits of loft insulation is that it is an easy, relatively inexpensive DIY job that if installed correctly should pay for itself many times over in its 40-year lifetime. Once installed, make sure not to squash the insulation. If you need to use your loft for storage, then a raised storage platform can be created on Loft Legs.
With energy prices increasing at unprecedented rates a more energy-efficient
home with loft insulation will benefit the planet and your wallet
Matthew Driver – Loft Leg
The crucial role of insulation in home insurance
When it comes to protecting your home and mitigating risks, insulation might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the quality and effectiveness of your home’s insulation play a significant role in determining your home insurance coverage and premiums. Understanding the importance of insulation in the context of home insurance can help homeowners make informed decisions and potentially save on insurance costs.
Enhanced property protection: Insulation acts as a barrier against extreme temperatures, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. This protective function directly impacts the potential risks your home faces. Adequate insulation reduces the likelihood of issues like frozen pipes, which can lead to costly water damage. By investing in proper insulation, homeowners minimize the risk of such perils and subsequently reduce their insurance claims and associated costs.
Risk reduction: Insurance providers assess a property’s risk profile when determining coverage and premiums. Well-insulated homes demonstrate a reduced likelihood of certain perils. For instance, insulation can help prevent fire spread, reduce the risk of mold growth caused by moisture, and deter pests that may cause property damage. By actively addressing these risks through insulation, homeowners may benefit from lower insurance premiums.
Energy efficiency: Effective insulation not only protects your home but also contributes to energy efficiency. By minimizing heat transfer, insulation helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature and reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling. Energy-efficient homes are not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective for homeowners. Insurance companies recognize the value of energy-saving measures, including insulation improvements, and may offer incentives or discounts to policyholders who prioritize energy efficiency.
Claims coverage: In certain scenarios, home insurance policies may cover insulation-related damage. If a covered peril, such as fire or a severe weather event, damages the insulation, the policy might include provisions for repairs or replacement. However, coverage specifics vary based on policy terms and the circumstances of the damage. Reviewing insurance policies in detail and discussing coverage options with insurance providers is crucial to ensure homeowners have the appropriate protection.
Long-term savings: Investing in quality insulation benefits homeowners by reducing insurance costs and offers long-term savings. By optimizing energy efficiency, insulation helps lower utility bills and enhances the overall value of the property. The upfront investment in insulation pays off over time through reduced energy consumption and increased comfort, making it a wise financial decision.
Insulation is essential for homeowners seeking comprehensive coverage and cost-effective home insurance. By prioritizing proper insulation, homeowners can protect their properties from potential risks, enhance energy efficiency, and potentially reduce insurance premiums. It is advisable to consult with insurance providers or agents to understand specific policy requirements and leverage the benefits of insulation for a well-protected and cost-efficient home.
When considering hiring a professional, there are a few things you should take into account. Any contractor you hire should be fully licensed and insured in case something goes wrong. Check their reviews to find out if they’re reputable. Do they have references they can provide? How long have they been in business? Do they have worker’s compensation insurance? Who exactly will be doing the work? These are all great questions to ask any professionals you’re considering hiring.