Insulation provides the barrier for either heat loss or gain and is used in walls, roofs, floors and ceilings. Insulation is the most cost effective and practical solution when it comes to making your house energy efficient. Due to insulation, up to 80 percent of the energy generated gets saved, as insulation keeps the house cool during summers and warm during winters. It is not just energy saving, insulation (in conjunction with ventilation) also reduces condensation which further helps in avoiding or reducing the chances of mold formation.
Why is there a need for insulation and why is it so important?
Without insulation, the chances of energy leaking from the house are quite high. Due to insulation, the leakage can be stopped or slowed down which would further help in the following-
- saving money as the energy bill generated would be less
- reducing the emission of greenhouse gases due to use of greener measures
- reducing the reliance on cooling & heating systems
- improving the comfort of your home
Different types of insulations available
There are two main types of insulations available depending on the function they perform and the places where they are used.
- Glasswool / Mineral Wool / Polyiso insulation: This insulation acts like a hurdle to the heat which flows between your house and the outside. As a result of this barrier, the heat stays back in the house during winters and out of the house during summers. It comes in the form of rolls, boards, batts, spray foam insulation etc. and is made up of materials like natural wool, polyester, glass wool or recycled paper. This type of insulation is suited for hot and cold climates.
- Reflective insulation: This type of insulation deflects the radiant heat during summers and is available in the form of aluminum foil laminated on plastic or paper. This type of insulation is more suited for the sunny or hot climates.
When should insulation be actually done?
When we talk about insulation, the best time to do it is when the building is getting renovated or constructed. Insulation should be properly combined with the design and the surroundings such that it does the job properly all year round. Many states & territories have an energy efficiency standard for the new residential buildings coming up. With proper insulation, these requirements can easily be met.
If you need to retrofit the best time to do this is when the climate is at its mid cycle between not too hot or not too cold. You do not want to do this in the middle of a very hot summer or a very cold winter as the building will become uncomfortable to live in due to unstable temperature inside during these extreme external temperatures.
What are the things which can be insulated?
The following are sections in a home which can be insulated-
- Ceilings and Roofs: Without proper insulation of the ceilings and the roof, one might end up losing 40 percent of the energy. This energy which was lost could have been used to either keeping the house warm or cool. In case of Verandah roofs, when insulated, in hot climates, it not only cools the space underneath it, it also keeps the house cooler.
- Walls: When walls are insulated for heating and cooling 25 percent of the energy gets saved. Hence, if the walls are not already insulated, it is important for one to speak to an installer and get the walls retrofitted.
- Floors: Floor insulation can further add 20 percentage points to energy saving. The best way to insulate the floor is to add a carpet. However in case of hotter climates, this is not advisable as it may hinder the natural cooling of the ground and hence it is important to take the advice of an expert.
- Water pipes: It is important to insulate the water pipes and the tanks which lie inside the walls and the floor to avoid the loss of energy. Also for cold climates its very important to keep your water pipes well insulated to prevent them from freezing. If this happens when the thaw comes, your water pipes will leak due to the pressure of the freezing water causing ruptures in your piping.