Home insulation is not only good for the environment, but also for your wallet. By insulating your home, you can reduce your heating and cooling costs, improve your comfort and health, and increase your property value. Now who doesn’t want that? But how do you choose the right home insulation for your home? In this blog post, we’ll explain the benefits of home insulation, the types of insulation materials available, and the grants and subsidies that can help you pay for it.
Why insulate your home?
Insulating your home can have many benefits, such as:
- Saving money: Insulation can lower your energy bills by keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), on average, insulation can save you up to $560 per year.
- Improving comfort: Insulation can make your home more comfortable by reducing temperature fluctuations, dampness, and noise.
- Enhancing health: Insulation can prevent mould growth and improve indoor air quality, which can reduce respiratory problems, allergies, and asthma.
- Increasing value: Insulation can increase your home’s value by making it more attractive to buyers and meeting the minimum standards required by law.
What are the types of Insulation?
Some of the most common insulation materials in New Zealand are:
- Fiberglass: This is a synthetic material made from fine glass fibers. It is lightweight, easy to install, and has a high R-value. However, it can irritate the skin and lungs, and may lose its effectiveness if it gets wet or compressed.
- Polyester: This is a synthetic material made from recycled plastic bottles. It is soft, safe, and durable, and does not absorb moisture or support mould growth. However, it is more expensive than fiberglass and has a lower R-value.
- Wool: This is a natural material made from sheep’s wool. It is breathable, fire-resistant, and biodegradable, and can regulate humidity and temperature. Earthwool® glasswool is our first choice for insulation products, but we do also install polyester insulation when required.
- Paper: This is a natural material made from wood or recycled paper. It is treated with fire retardants and insecticides, and can be blown into wall cavities or laid as loose fill in attics. However, it can settle over time and lose its R-value, and may be affected by moisture or vermin.
What does R-vlaue have to do with Insulation?
The R-value of each insulation material depends on the type, thickness, and density of the material, as well as the temperature and humidity conditions. However, here are some approximate R-values for some common insulation materials in New Zealand:
- Fiberglass: R-value ranges from 1.5 to 3.5 per 50 mm of thickness.
- Polyester: R-value ranges from 1.3 to 2.5 per 50 mm of thickness.
- Wool: R-value ranges from 1.3 to 3.6 per 50 mm of thickness.
- Paper: R-value ranges from 2.0 to 3.8 per 50 mm of thickness.
The required R-values for insulation varies depending on where it is to be placed in a house, the location in New Zealand, and the house construction type. You can find the minimum R-values for wall, roof, floor, and glazing required in different parts of the country for non-solid (timber-framed) construction houses here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/insulation-buying-guide#article-r-values.
How do I know if my home is properly insulated?
There are a few ways to check if your home is properly insulated:
- You can use an electrical outlet to check if your exterior walls have adequate insulation. Turn off the power to the outlet, remove the outlet cover, and shine a flashlight into the crack around the box. You should be able to see if there is insulation in the wall and how thick it is.
- You can use a thermal imager to detect areas of missing insulation by looking for temperature differences. For best results, you’ll want at least a 20 degree temperature difference between inside and outside. This can be achieved by heating your house up on a cold day or turning on the air conditioning when it’s hot outside.
- You can inspect your attic, basement, and crawl spaces for signs of insulation. Look for gaps, holes, or damage in the insulation, and measure its thickness and R-value. You can also check for air leaks or moisture problems that can reduce the effectiveness of the insulation.
If you find that your home is missing or has insufficient insulation, you may be eligible for grants or subsidies to help you pay for insulation improvements. You can find more information about these options here: https://www.govt.nz/browse/housing-and-property/insulation-and-energy-efficiency/paying-for-home-insulation.
Or get in touch with G-Force and we can arrange a time to visit and provide free advice about your insulation needs.
How long will it take to insulate my home?
The time required for home insulation installation depends on the type and format of the insulation, the size and accessibility of the space to be insulated, and whether you hire a professional or do it yourself. Some general estimates are:
- Installing ceiling insulation can take 2 to 4 hours for an average-sized home, depending on the type of insulation and the access to the roof space.
- Installing underfloor insulation can take 3 to 5 hours for an average-sized home, depending on the type of insulation and the clearance under the floor.
- Installing wall insulation can take 1 to 2 days for an average-sized home, depending on the type of insulation and whether you need to remove any cladding or plasterboard.
If you hire a professional installer, they may be able to complete the job faster and more efficiently than doing it yourself. However, you will also need to factor in the cost and availability of the installer.
Get in touch with G-Force and we can arrange a time to visit and provide free advice about your insulation needs.
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