as seen on realestate.com.au – renovating.
Like a big fat blanket, a well-insulated home can keep you toasty in winter, but also cool in summer.
Australia can often present a harsh climate, so it’s imperative to get your home’s insulation right. Without it, we’d be a shrivelled mess in January and a Zooper Dooper by July.
In most houses in Australia, if you pop your head into your roof space, you’ll more than likely find a fluffy wool-type material or itchy fibreglass stuff. These are your insulation batts.
If there’s nothing but dust and old school reports, you’ll be surprised at how much extra comfort you can achieve in your home by adding a little insulation. This is just like a big blanket for your home.
And depending on what climate you live in, it will determine what type of insulation you choose.
There are generally five ways in which homes lose heat in winter and gain excessive heat in summer:
Air loss / gain
It’s pretty important to address all of these factors if you’re to ensure you stay warm.
Insulate your walls and ceilings with a ‘bulk insulation’, such as glass wool, wool or polyester batts as well as a reflective insulation (sarking) to have the greatest effect in keeping the warmth in.
You can also lose heat through floors, but to insulate them will depend on what your floors are constructed from. A concrete slab, for example, can be insulated with polystyrene boards; a timber floor can be insulated as you would a wall or ceiling.
Glass is a terrible insulator, so ensure your windows are double glazed. The use of curtains or blinds will go a long way in preventing excessive heat loss at night.
You also need to make sure you ‘seal up’ your home; a cool draft can chill a room quicker than a phone call from an ex.
So do your bit to plug up any gaps in doorways and window frames where cool air can often enter.
The material in your home will also have a huge bearing on its insulating rating (R-value). Without getting too involved, the more resistance the material has to heat flow (which is the R-value), the higher the level of insulation.
For example, carpet has a higher R-value than concrete, hence it’s warmer in winter and a popular choice for bedrooms and lounge rooms.
Check with your builder or certifier on the thermal mass and the R-value of the construction of your home and the local insulation requirements of your area.
*Written by Shannon and Simon Vos.