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Making The Code: Upgrading Your Insulation

New Zealand is made up of a multitude of dwellings, some dating as far back as the 1880s. Villas, bungalows, Art Deco style homes, state houses, and 1970s homes: all have one thing in common – little or no insulation. Chances are, unless your home has previously been renovated, it is in this category.

Let’s look at some ways to insulate your home starting at the top – Ceiling Insulation.

The majority of your home’s heat is lost through the ceiling, a whopping 30-42% to be exact. Combine that with 18-25% through walls and 12-14% through the floor, it’s going to be a very cold winter!

Most pre-1970’s homes have good access to the cavity in between the ceiling and the roof, with the exception of homes with a flat or skillion roof such as Art Deco homes. These as well as homes built in 1970-77 often need a suspended ceiling or alternatively a completely new ceiling in order to install the insulation.

The most common forms of insulation are Wool, Glass Wool, Polyester Blanket and Polystyrene, with different products working most effectively in different areas.  It’s important to have an understanding of each product’s R-Value to figure out what form of insulation will be best. The higher the R-Value, the thicker the product, therefore maximising the effectiveness of the insulation.  For older homes, depending on where you live in New Zealand, the recommended R-Value for your ceiling is from 3.2 up to 5.0. For any form of insulation to function at its best there must be minimal gaps or interruptions as these will reduce the product’s insulating qualities significantly. Correct installation is key. Pink Batts have preferred Pinkfit installers nationwide.

Pink Batts work with lighting companies to integrate insulation and  recessed downlights to create a superior thermal and efficient lighting solution. This is called the Pink Batts Brilliance Solution. This ensures minimal gaps in your ceiling insulation when using recessed downlights so your home performs efficiently and remains safe.

Next on the list are walls…

It’s scary to think that around 700,000 homes in New Zealand have little or no wall insulation. With no insulation and more often than not no building paper behind the walls it’s easy to see why up to 25% of heat is lost through walls.

Installing wall insulation is a little trickier than ceiling or underfloor due to the lack of access. With the majority of the types of insulation, the wall panels have to be removed so often it is best to have this done at the same time as a renovation. How difficult it is to install the insulation depends on the type of home you have. For example, villas often have timber sarking on the walls. Every second or third panel can be removed and this may be enough of a gap for you to push the insulation into the wall cavity. The recommended R Value for wall insulation is 2.2 – 2.8.

While renovating, also look at specially designed Pink Batts Silencer and GIB Noiseline which are great for effective reduction in sound transmission between rooms.

Not ready to renovate? There are ways around having to remove full wall panels such as foam insulation being injected into the walls.

The down low – Underfloor Insulation

From kauri, rimu or matai floors to concrete or particle board flooring, they all have one thing in common: they need insulation! Like the ceilings of older homes, the underfloor access is reasonably easy; most homes have a raised timber subfloor up to around 500mm.

Types of underfloor insulation are similar to what you can use in the ceiling, although if you have a concrete floor, it’s a little trickier… While concrete is an excellent source of thermal mass, heat can escape from under and around the slab, therefore you need to insulate not only under, but around the sides too. There is polystyrene insulation specifically designed for insulating concrete.

Installing underfloor heating is a great way to warm your home via radiant heating. This can be thermostatically controlled so you can manage the amount being spent on your heating each month.

The more insulation you can install, the more energy efficient your home will be. Heating costs will be reduced; your home will be warmer, drier and healthier, which means a better living environment for your family. Always install the highest R-Value insulation you can afford.

Let’s not forget about doors and windows, and if you have an internal access garage, the garage door.

Fairview branded Double glazed windows provide excellent insulation against heat escaping, and more so when teamed with thermally broken joinery. Insulated  doors are another smart choice to improve the thermal insulation of your home.

Garador have optional insulation kits which can be inserted into the back of any of their sectional garage doors to make your garage cosier so it can be used as an optional additional living area.

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Find out what you can do to be Energy Smart savvy in the articles linked below.


Making The Code: Upgrading Your Insulation
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