HOW DOES INSULATION WORK?
The key to a warm, healthy, happy home is effective insulation. With warmer, drier air, you'll reduce home heating costs while warding off condensation, mould, mildew and unpleasant odours. Combine effective wall, floor and ceiling insulation and add double glazing or window treatments for extra protection, and you've got a warm winter ahead of you!
Your heating system needs a supporting insulation system
Insulation doesn't create heat - it acts as a barrier to heat flow.
Let's use your body as an example. You eat food - fuel - which your body converts into energy to create body heat and keep you functional. When you get cold, you put a couple of layers of clothes on to keep that heat close to your body.
Your home is really not much different. You can turn on your heat pump or light a fire which creates heat, but that heat will rapidly dissipate and your house will still be cold. You need to add some 'clothes' - insulation - to your home to keep the warmth in!
Why is my house losing heat?
Heat behaves in a predictable way - it flows from warmer to cooler areas until there is no longer a difference in temperature. For a home on a cold day, this means that warmth is constantly moving from heated areas to unheated cooler areas - inside your walls, attic, floors, even directly outdoors through your window glass.
An uninsulated home can lose up to 30% more heat than a properly insulated one.
How does insulation work?
Although moving air will whisk your warmth away, still air is actually a very poor conductor of heat. This means the cavities in the walls, roof and floor of your house are already acting as a type of insulation by creating air pockets. These air pockets are barriers to your nice warm air moving directly outdoors.
This is why curtains and double glazed windows act as a types of insulation - they trap pockets of air between your home and the outdoors, slowing heat escape.
Remember that it's the air that is insulating your home - not particularly the fabric itself. Some fabrics come with a 'thermal coating' which will block out light, but will not contribute much to keeping your home warm. Adding a layer of lining to your curtains make them far more effective by creating yet another pocket of air.
Ensure that your curtains cover the entire window and fit snugly to the frame - the more air you trap, the more effective they will be.
While blinds may be more convenient or fit the aesthetic of your home, they create no air seal and will not help to keep your home warm.
Bulky cavity insulation
In your wall, floor and ceiling cavities, you can do better than just a single pocket of air. By adding extra material - such as bulky insulation material or foam - you're creating thousands of tiny air pockets within the material.
This is why home insulation is large and bulky - it's the air trapped inside it that reduces heat transfer rather than the material itself.
Choosing the right materials
There are many factors that will help you choose the right insulation for your home, including the materials used and its installation, the construction of your home and the local climate. It's important to talk to a professional and have them come to your home to determine what's best for you.
Combine your insulation with an effective heating system, proper ventilation, and moisture control, and you'll be amazed at the difference.