Insulation is an important system in our homes, and in most buildings, the entire home is covered in it. In Australia, most insulation comes in the form of blown-in fiberglass batting, but it is not even close to the best insulation option. In order to insulate your home properly, you must use the best insulation available, which is blown-in fiberglass.
The most noticeable signs of an inadequate home insulation system are drafts and noise. Most homes have insulation in the attic or walls, but many also have ceiling insulation, which can be a dual or triple layer system. The layers are separated by a barrier or a vapor retarder, which is a material that absorbs water vapor at a fairly low rate, yet does not provide enough insulation to prevent heat loss.
The loose-ceiling problem is when air leaks into your attic, usually from holes in the drywall or ceiling of the attic. The air then settles in the attic, often forming an insulating blanket called a “shroud” that traps heat and makes the attic more difficult to control. Over time, the shroud can add up to as much as 20% to the insulation value of the existing attic insulation, increasing the energy cost of your home.
Problems with Fiberglass
Fiberglass is a well-known insulation material that has been used for decades. It has good thermal resistance, but can be expensive, and is not commonly used in modern home insulation applications because of the many disadvantages it comes with. The most common issue with fiberglass is that it is not airtight, meaning the air inside the insulation escapes allowing heat to pass through.
This is a problem in a heated building, as warm air condenses and then escapes through the insulation. Fogging is another common issue with fiberglass insulation. This occurs when the foam is exposed to moisture or high humidity. Moisture and high humidity cause the foam to swell and leave a large void in the insulation.
Condensation is the build-up of water vapor in the atmosphere when water vapor molecules, which are small and so are invisible, are combined with ambient air. Condensation can occur at any temperature and at any pressure, but the higher the relative humidity, the greater the condensation capacity of a material.
Most homes are built with insulated walls, but if you have an older home, you may already have insulation problems. Old insulation fails to insulate as well as it should, and may also contain harmful compounds such as asbestos and formaldehyde. In older homes, you may also find that the insulation is failing to provide much heat, which will make your home uncomfortable during the winter months.
When it comes to home insulation, you get what you pay for. A good quality, well-insulated home can save you a lot on your heating and cooling bills, but a poor quality home will not only cost you more money, but it could also result in a lot of heat loss and cold entering your home at night, which can lead to an increase in your utility bills.
The cold weather can be a harsh reminder of just how ill-prepared your home is to withstand it. This is especially true if you’re still battling heat loss in your home. Click here to learn more about how to insulate your home to cut down on insulation problems.