You know winter is just around the corner when you start piling on extra layers. While you’re doing that you might find yourself asking, “Why am I living in such a cold house?”. There are a number of factors that could influence this however, the most likely cause is poor insulation.
We’ve been insulating homes for many years and we’re sorry to say older New Zealand homes are generally poorly insulated. For most of our customers, we find there’s poor insulation in the roof, and it might have deteriorated over time. We also find there is little to no insulation in the walls and floors leading to a cold house. This usually means large energy bills over winter because all your heat is quickly escaping through gaps in your home’s thermal barrier.
In these uncertain times, staying well is of paramount importance and we love helping our customers create warm, dry, and healthy homes. If you’re considering insulating or re-insulating your home here are a few things worth considering.
This might involve a trip to the attic. Grab a ladder and poke your head into the ceiling and shine a torch around. Can you see any insulation in the roof? This might look like insulation blankets placed on top of the floor joists or a loose-fill material that covers the ceiling.
Have a look at the condition of any existing material. Is there a good amount or has it started to deteriorate? If your ceiling
insulation is less than 200mm thick it might need to be upgraded. If heat is escaping through your roof it’s going to create a cold house that’s costly to heat up.
Between 40-50% of your home’s heat loss occurs through the roof, so it’s important to make sure the roof cavity is well insulated. If you’re unsure, take a few pictures and send them through to us and we can help provide some advice and direction.
If you’ve got a cold house, this might be caused by a lack of wall insulation. It might be difficult to find out if you have wall insulation, and usually, you’ll need to remove your wall lining to know for sure. You’ll generally be able to tell if your walls are uninsulated because you’ll usually find they are damp or wet on a winter’s morning. Another way to see is simply by tapping on the walls – do they sound hollow or have an echo?
If your walls are insulated, you’ll usually find the noise is deadened but most walls in older New Zealand homes have never been insulated. It’s important to fix this as soon as possible as between 30-40% of your home’s heat loss occurs through the walls.
If you’re unsure, have a chat with our team and we’ll be able to arrange a free home assessment. We’ll come and inspect the home and make sure your walls are insulated.
If you’re able to get under your house have a look to see if there are insulation blankets under the floor. Is the material in good condition or are there gaps?
Having underfloor insulation is important to complete your home’s thermal barrier as between 5-10% of your home’s heat loss happens through your floors.
So you’ve checked your home and you’ve found some issues. If parts of your home are uninsulated, this will lead to gaps in your thermal barrier. Over winter, your warm inside air is always going to try and escape outside and insulation creates a barrier that stops or slows this process from occurring. Any gaps in your thermal barrier will mean that air can easily escape out the home and this is why your home is so cold.
By fully insulating your home you’re effectively sealing your thermal barrier which not only creates a nice warm environment inside but also reduces your home’s energy costs as you’ll be putting less effort into heating and cooling your home.
One of the added advantages of insulation is that it helps create a barrier that reduces noise transfer, particularly in your walls. Because the insulation is such a dense material, sound waves find it hard to penetrate and once your home is insulated, you’ll notice a reduction in the amount of noise that enters your home.
All your home hardware stores will sell insulation and if you’re brave and you know what you’re doing you can try installing new insulation yourself. We’ve found DIY insulation has mixed results as if it’s not installed properly you can still end up with gaps in your thermal barrier.
The best and most effective solution is to contact us and we’ll make sure a qualified installer does the job the right way. Usually, the process of fully insulating your home only takes a day or two. Insulation can be easily installed without removing the linings from your walls/roof and once we’re done, the only evidence we were ever there will be the cosy inside environment you’ll now be able to enjoy!