It looks like we’re coming out of this extreme cold snap here in the UK and pretty much all the conversations I have heard or been part of are around what else we can do to keep our homes warm. Insulating your house is definitely a smart decision if you can. It will save you some money on energy – up to 15% of your monthly heating and cooling costs or about 11% of your monthly energy bills. Plus, it’ll keep you warm during cold winters, protect your health from cold-related diseases, and even help save the environment.
However, insulating your house is a big project with many requirements and implications, so it is important to plan well. Here is a brief guide on the important considerations to make during planning.
Doing Your Due Diligence
Before you decide to insulate your house consider these 8 factors:
R-value is the measurement used to determine insulation’s resistance against heat flow – it indicates how well the insulation can prevent heat from escaping. Overall, a higher R-value indicates greater insulation power. Insulation materials with higher R-values are recommended for houses in locations that regularly experience extremely cold and hot temperatures – and vice versa.
Insulation Material Type
Insulation materials come in varying types, all available at Materialsmarket.com. The different types vary in design and have unique advantages and shortcomings.
Loose-fill (blow-in) insulation, for instance, is excellent for irregularly shaped and hard-to-reach areas. In contrast, rolls are effective only in unobstructed areas. Materials are also priced differently. You should choose materials based on the design of your home.
Insulation Installation Points
It is possible for heat and cold to escape or enter your house through tiny spaces or openings. Every part of the house should be insulated, including the attic, basement, and crawl space.
Combining different insulation types and materials is usually necessary when insulating the whole house. For example, blow-in insulation is ideal for use in the attic and crawl spaces because of the tiny spaces and irregular shapes, while rolls are ideal for use in the walls and other flat surfaces.
There are some insulation materials that are easily flammable, while there are others that are fire-resistant. There is a risk and a fire hazard associated with the former insulation type, whereas the latter can help reduce fire-related risks and damage. Fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose, and fibrous mats are among the fire-resistant insulation materials.
Nonetheless, cellulose is only fire-resistant (up to 300 degrees) when treated with fire-resisting chemicals. Due to the fabric used during installation, fiberglass also poses a slight fire hazard.
There have been reports of allergic reactions and allergens associated with some insulation materials. When small particles of fiberglass insulation break off and get into the air, they can cause rashes, itching, and irritation of the skin. As well as cellulose and rock wool, other insulation materials are associated with allergens.
Some insulation materials are considered anti-allergen. Injection foam, for example, integrates into the wall, keeping allergens out, and it doesn’t shed like fiberglass and most other insulation materials.
Insulation not only conserves heat, but also acts as a soundproofing barrier. You can take advantage of this if you live in a noisy area such as the city or near a busy street.
There is a wide range of soundproofing capabilities among insulation materials. Overall, fiberglass and blow-in cellulose insulation materials have the best soundproofing properties. Nevertheless, these materials are not 100% soundproof, so additional soundproofing solutions, such as secondary glazing, should be considered.
Insulation Contractor or DIY
Insulating a house is a complex project with many moving parts. For example, you will need to access spaces between the walls, which requires technical skills. If the insulation project is superficial, or you possess the necessary skills, a DIY approach might work.
For complex insulation projects, a professional insulation contractor is always recommended. Ensure that the contractor is licensed and insured.
Insulation materials usually last a lifetime. It may, however, be necessary to perform occasional maintenance. It depends on the quality and type of insulation and building materials used to determine the maintenance requirements. It is also possible for an incompetent contractor to make mistakes that require repairs and maintenance on a regular basis. Investing in the best insulation materials and services is always a good idea.
Check All Boxes
Ideally, your house’s insulation should last a lifetime with minimal maintenance. It depends, however, on how well you plan and install the insulation. Therefore, you should consider these eight factors before insulating your home. I hope this has been a useful guide to help you create a warmer space at home.
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