The ins and outs of insulation for your home

Insulation is an important feature of your home and whilst you cannot see it, it will affect how comfortable you are, your energy bills and even the resale value of your home.

If it’s an area you are not familiar with, start by auditing your home to see how good your insulation is and where it may need to be upgraded.

How do I know if my walls are insulated

A person rolling out insulation in a home roof

Before rushing out and buying additional insulation for your home it’s helpful to assess your home to determine how well your current insulation is working.

Here are some of the things to look for when auditing your home:

  1. Temperature: If you have good insulation then you should have an even temperature all through your home. If some areas are significantly colder or warmer this can be a sign that you don’t have enough insulation or the insulation that you have is not effective.
  2. Rooms either hotter or colder than the rest of the house: even though they have good ventilation and are serviced by your heating and cooling, look at how they can be insulated better.
  3. Soaring bills: How much are you paying to heat or cool your home? If you can, compare energy bills over a couple of years, are there any significant increases that show a change in the effectiveness of your insulation.
  4. Surface temperature: In the winter do your internal walls, ceilings and floors feel cold to touch? Ideally, they should feel warm and dry if you have enough insulation in your home.
  5. Winter drafts: Even when your heating is working overtime do you still get spots in your home where you feel a draft sneaking in from outside?
    Windows and doors are often overlooked when looking at insulation and they are common areas where cold/hot air can enter your home if you don’t take steps to prevent it.
  6. Signs of rodents: If you have signs of insects or mice in your home, it means that you have areas that are open for them to get in. It may only be a small hole however if they can get in so can cold/hot air.
  7. Water stains: Check your ceilings for any signs of water entry. It may be a leaking pipe or it may be from your insulation being old and unable to prevent water entry.

You can complement your home insulation with other ways to weatherproof your home, including green walls that are fire tested and well suited for commercial apartments or buildings.

You can display them indoors or outdoors.

Benefits of insulation

Home kitchen open space with ceiling and insulation

Let’s have a look at why insulating your home is a good idea:

  1. Family comfort: Keep your family protected from the extremes of weather with a well-insulated home. Eradicate cold or hot spots in your home and ensure that your home is a haven for your family to enjoy.
  2. Save money: If your home does not have enough insulation you can lose up to 30% energy which forces your heating and cooling to work harder to keep your house comfortable. You end up spending more on your energy bills, money that could be better spent on other things for your family.
  3. Noise reduction: Good insulation helps to absorb sound, internal and external, and ensure quieter enjoyment of your home.
  4. Reduce your carbon footprint: We all need to look at ways of reducing our emissions. Climate change is an established threat to earth and reducing energy consumption is a great way to help lower your carbon footprint.
  5. Home resale: Insulation is a value add to your home and if you are selling it can increase the resale value of your home.

Sustainable insulation

If you are concerned about the impact of installing chemically-based insulation in your home, here are some ecofriendly insulation ideas for you to consider:

  • Sheep’s wool: A natural insulator sheep’s wool is a green alternative to some of the other products available for insulating your home. Its breathable and is able to absorb moisture while still retaining heat. Its outer layer is water resistant, and it is more fire resistant than most other products.
  • Cotton: Some scrap denim instead, of all becoming landfill, is recycled into insulation. They roll cotton into batts and the R-value of cotton is the same as fibreglass. However, cotton doesn’t contain formaldehyde and the fibres wont cause breathing issues.
  • Aerogel: Comes in sheets and is a form of silica. It is considered the super insulator because of its high rating.
  • Icynene: Is a spray insulation made from castor oil. Once it is sprayed into a wall cavity or a ceiling it expands and seals all air leaks. It prevents drafts, reduces noise and is the top of the line insulator. It seals so well that your home will also need a ventilation system if you have this installed.

What is the best home insulation

There are different types of insulation that you can consider for your home. What will suit you best is determined by the type of home you have, its surroundings and the climate that you live in. Though the climate is quickly changing in many areas and you need to factor that into your calculations as well.

To learn more about the types of insulation and insulation ratings, visit the governments my home website.

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