Author Archives: wallins

Thermal Envelope of your home

Thermal Envelope – What is it and why is it important for your home?

We’ve all experienced days when it’s ridiculously cold outside and it’s horrendously difficult to heat your home. Likewise, I’m sure you recall stupidly humid days in summer when it’s incredibly tough to cool the home down! This happens because the inside of your home is like a little atmospheric bubble, with air inside always trying to equalise itself with the outside temperature.

Your home’s insulation helps to provide a barrier that makes it difficult for air to escape from your home. It helps keep the inside temperature warmer or cooler for longer and helps to reduce the effort it takes to control the air temperature. In New Zealand homes, however, homes are generally only insulated to the minimum standards, which usually means a difficult and costly process for heating and cooling your home.

When you think about insulation, you usually think about the stuff they put in the roof and sometimes under the floor. What you may not realise, however, is that for most New Zealand homes there is little to no insulation in the walls and this creates a gap in your home’s thermal envelope.

So, what is a thermal envelope anyway?

The thermal envelope is a barrier created from all the different products and materials used in the construction of your house. This barrier helps protect the inside environment from the outside climate. Everything from your roof and concrete slab to your windows and insulation help to make up this barrier. Unfortunately, even the best-built houses often leave gaps or weak points that allow air to escape in and out of the home, with your walls being responsible for up to 30% of your homes heating and energy loss.

If you think about it there are a lot of ways the air can escape through your walls. If your windows are thin, there are gaps in and around your doors, or if your walls are not well-insulated air can easily escape. The break in your home’s thermal envelope means that any effort you put into heating or cooling your house is quickly lost. However, there are things you can do to plug the gaps!

To remedy areas which could be a big part of the problem start with your windows. Replacing old thin window glass with new double-glazed windows helps to trap air inside, preventing it from escaping. Changing old wooden doors with better joinery can also help. The main issue for most houses however is the lack of wall insulation so, the best way to fix your thermal envelope is ensuring your walls are well insulated!

CosyWall Insulation can help close your thermal envelope

CosyWall Insulation is specifically designed to be blown into the walls of your home without having to remove the internal linings! The process is incredibly simple and an experienced installation team can usually have the job done in a single day. CosyWall Insulation is made up of loose cellulose fiberglass which is completely safe and poses no health risks to the family. It’s blown into your walls from either the inside or the outside through small holes which are then patched up and repainted so you’ll never know the process was done.

The insulation is blown at such a high density that it will never shrink or slump over time and with an expected 50-year durability, CosyWall Insulation will last the lifetime of your house! CosyWall has been installed in New Zealand homes for over 20 years and we have had countless customer testimonies advocating what an amazing difference it has made to their homes. If you would like to learn more about CosyWall Insulation just send us a quick message and one of our team will be right back in touch.

We’ve created a short video that helps explain the importance of your homes thermal envelope here.

Family always getting sick

Why is my family always getting sick? Here are 6 reason’s why your home may be the cause.

So your family is always getting sick and you’re wondering if there’s something you can do about it? There may be several reasons why your family might be getting sick or fighting off a cold. While some factors may be outside your control, controlling your environment and ensuring it’s a healthy one is something you can influence. Here a few issues you want to address to ensure your home remains healthy all year round.

Moisture and mold in the home

One of the most common issues New Zealand homes face is too much moisture in the home. This can lead to mold growth and a number of health and respiratory issues. You’ll know you have a problem if you start seeing damp or wet windows in the morning or mold starting to grow on the walls or carpets. This is usually a sign that your house isn’t well insulated on ventilated and these issues should be addressed as soon as possible.

Not enough ventilation

Ensuring your home has good extractor fans in the bathrooms and kitchen areas is another thing to look at. Removing excess moisture from the home is important to keep a dry and healthy home. Extractor fans are inexpensive and readily accessible from most major appliance stores around New Zealand.

Not enough insulation

Fully insulating your home is an important step to stop your family from always getting sick. It’s important that your home’s thermal envelope is intact with no breaks in the walls. Most New Zealand homes have floor or ceiling insulation however many homes do not have any wall insulation and can lead to cold and damp homes in the winter. Having your walls insulated makes it easier to heat and cool your home and will significantly improve the quality of your home living and have a positive impact on your family’s health and wellbeing.

The team at CosyWall Insulation can provide you a free home assessment and advise on the best steps to ensure your house is properly insulated.

Your home can’t breathe

Opening the windows and doors in your house for just 15 minutes in the morning lets fresh air into your home. This helps keep your home dry and helps remove any unwanted odors or bad smells.

Not enough natural light

Sunshine is great for your health and wellbeing. It helps boost your vitamin D, improves your mental health, and is easier on your eyes. Studies have shown that the more natural light you’re exposed to the better sleep you experience! We all know a good night’s sleep is important for your immune system.

Get rid of dust and toxins

Avoid using chemicals in the home! Pesticides and chemicals are known to cause damage to the central nervous system and can also lead to other problems such as asthma and cancer. Be careful where you use sprays and cleaners and make sure if you are using them you take appropriate precautions such as wearing protective equipment and making sure there is adequate ventilation.

Dust is another cause of many health issues and allergies. Regularly vacuum your place and be careful when emptying your vacuum cleaner to make sure dust isn’t spewed back into the air.

Here’s a short video that explains what you can do to ensure you’re home is a healthy one and stop your family from always getting sick.

Soundproofing your home

Soundproofing your home? We look at the acoustic properties for common insulation products.

What insulation is right for soundproofing your home?

If you’re looking at soundproofing your home then insulating your walls is a great starting point. The main reason you get a lot of noise transfer through your home is that for most New Zealand homes, there’s little to no insulation in the walls. This means that all you have separating one room from another is a thin sheet of plasterboard on either side of the wall.

Insulating your walls helps fill the air gap and reduces noise transfer inside the home. Not all insulation products are created equal however and choosing the right product for your walls will make a big impact on the level of noise reduction.

In this article we look at several types of insulation products available in New Zealand and discuss the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to soundproofing your home.

Batts

Batts are usually made of glass wool (also known as fiberglass) insulation. This type of insulation has been used in the New Zealand market for over 50 years and is generally known as an effective insulation product. It’s made from recycled glass and comes in a variety of thicknesses and sizes.

Batts typically comes in a roll that has a fixed width and you cut segments from this into the sizes you need for your walls or roof cavity. These segments are then placed in-between your timber framing.

Soundproofing with a batts style product can be a little challenging. Even with the best installation, there are often small gaps left around the corners and edges of the batts. This means that air and noise penetrate the walls. Soundproofing a house requires no gaps in your insulation barrier to be effective at eliminating noise transfer. For this reason, batts are not our preferred solution for soundproofing your home.

Foam Insulation

Sprayed polyurethane foam insulation has been widely used over the last few decades in New Zealand homes. It’s effective at completely filling your wall and helps to curb sound resonance however it’s not as effective as other insulation products that are denser.

While foam insulation will help seal a cavity and provides an effective thermal barrier, the compound is not effective at absorbing sound and therefore not a good choice for soundproofing your home.

The recent decline in popularity of foam insulation has also been driven by recent studies which show that spray foam can lead to damage of your timber framing, the material may actually shrink overview and there are several potential health issues caused through the chemicals used in the insulation.

Loose Fill Insulation

Many insulation companies these days are using a loose-fill glass wool product. CosyWall Insulation is a good example of common loose-fill insulation and has been widely used throughout New Zealand homes for the past 20 years. Insulation is blown into your wall cavities and doesn’t require the removal of the wall linings. The process is fairly simple and can be done from either the inside or the outside of your walls.

The materials in loose-fill insulation are similar to those found in batts.  It’s blown at such a high density that it fills up all the space in your walls. This doesn’t leave any gaps for air or noise to penetrate. Blown Insulation is a great product that provides both thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It’s our preferred choice when soundproofing your home.

Do you need some more help?

If you’re wanting to fully soundproof your home, insulation is only one part of the puzzle. Insulation will help in soundproofing but should be used in combination with other products and materials for the best results.

The team at CosyWall Insulation would love to chat to you about insulating your home. If you have questions about acoustic insulation or soundproofing your home contact us and we’d be happy to help you further.

Cool down your house this summer

How to cool your house down in the summer

Five few ways to cool down your house this summer!”

Summertime has arrived in New Zealand and it looks like we’re in for a hot and humid one this year! You’ve probably arrived here because your searching for ways to cool your house down and With it being so hot and sticky, we thought we’d recommend our top 5 ideas to keep your house cool this summer!

Close those curtains

You may not realise but up to 30% of your unwanted heat is actually coming in through your windows. Closing your curtains or blinds can help keep your home helps to shade the inside of your home and stops your living space from turning into a greenhouse. Investing in blackout curtains, especially on your south and west-facing windows will help even further and provide additional insulation to your rooms.

Close off your unused rooms

If you are running a heat pump or fan in your home, these will be working overtime to cool down your house this summer. Make their life a little bit easier by closing doors and rooms you’re not occupying. This means whatever cooling appliances you do have will be more effective and this will also help to reduce your energy consumption!

Remember to adjust your ceiling fans

If you’re lucky enough to have a ceiling fan, you must remember to reverse the direction in summer. In winter those fans help to move warm air up and around your home but in summer you want the fan set to a higher speed and pushing air straight down to create a cooling effect. Make sure you check your fan is rotating in the right direction?

Make use of your BBQ

Change things up in the summer months by taking your cooking outdoors. The last thing you want to do is take an already hot house and make it even hotter by turning the oven on. Cooking dinner in the backyard or at the park is a much better alternative on those particularly humid evenings!

Ensure your home is fully insulated

For most kiwi’s, insulation (or lack thereof) is something you usually think about in the winter months. This is understandable as all the advertising we see for insulation is about it being used to keep your home warm. What you may not realise is that insulation is equally effective at keeping your home cool in the summer months!

Insulation works a little bit like your chilly bin does. It provides a barrier that stops the outside air from getting inside. I know your natural instinct is to open all the windows and doors to let the fresh air in however in the summer when it’s 32 degrees outside, the last thing you want is a hot and humid home.

A fully insulated house means that what effort you put into cooling down your house will be much more effective. It also stops the home from heating up as quickly, helping to keep the indoor temperature easier to control throughout the summer.

CosyWall Insulation is an excellent insulation product making it easy to retrofit your existing walls. It’s easily blown into your existing walls without having to remove the linings and for most homes, the process can be done in a single day. It’s not only going to help keep your home cool in the summer, but it will also work to keep the home warm in the winter!

Talk to the team today to find out how you can have CosyWall Insulation installed in your walls!

Soundproof your home with insulation

Ways to soundproof your home

So you’re looking for ways to soundproof your home? You’ve come to the right place. As house sizes in New Zealand get smaller, one of the questions we are often asked is how do you reduce the noise transfer between walls?

New Zealand has historically been bad for building poor quality homes and while recently standards have improved, in dense urban areas, noise in the home is a big issue for many New Zealanders.

Soundwaves enter your home through windows, doors, floors, ceilings, and walls so your goal when looking at soundproofing your home is to block them out.

There are two main types of noise you want to try and control in your home. The first is preventing exterior noise from entering the home and the second is noise transfer between rooms inside your home. In this article we discuss some ways that you can help soundproof your home, reducing noise transfer.

1. Add a second layer of plaster board

Adding a second layer of plasterboard is a great way to cut down noise transfer. Most plasterboard companies have specific noise reduction products which made a difference. Researching the right plasterboard options will immensely help soundproof your home and adding two layers of plasterboard to your walls help reduce noise transfer even further particularly for the higher sound frequencies.

2. Insulate your walls will help soundproof your home

Insulation is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to soundproof your home. While your standard batts will help to some degree, your goal is to really provide dense barrier without gaps.

CosyWall Insulation is a perfect product for this purpose as it’s blown directly into your internal or external wall cavities without having to remove the linings. The dry fiber is blown at such a high density it fills up all the small gaps often left by batts or segments and provides an effective barrier against high and mid-frequency noise transfer between walls.

3. Get the right flooring

Flooring also makes a big difference in dampening noise transfer to soundproof your home. Hardwood floors are typically bad at blocking noise, especially when used as part of your mid-floors. Adding a soft flooring product such as vinyl or even newer hybrid planking with a good underlay is one option however your gold standard is carpet. The thicker the carpet and underlay, the better results you’re going to gain in stopping noise transfer.

4. Seal your windows and doors

Like air, the noise will try and get through any gaps in your home so ensuring your windows and doors are sealed well is critical. Windows in older homes aren’t well-sealed so upgrading the joinery and adding double glazed windows will make a significant difference to noise reduction.

Likewise, doors are often hollow in the center so if noise reduction is really important, replacing these with solid doors will also help. It’s also best practice to ensure doors are well sealed and there are specific products from your local hardware store that can help with this.

Do you need some help?

There are other specialty products and systems that can also make a big impact on noise control. If you’re serious about reducing the noise in your home have a chat with the CosyWall team for an obligation-free assessment today.

Condensation issues in your home

Condensation issues in your home and how to fix them

If you’ve been living in your home a little while, you may have noticed that parts of your home walls can get very damp. This is usually because of condensation issues in your home and is usually a good indication that the walls of your home are not well insulated. If damp or wet walls aren’t addressed quickly, this can lead to mould developing inside the home which can damage your walls and furniture, and seriously affect the health and wellbeing of your family. In this article, we’re going to look at what causes condensation and steps you can take to deal with the issue.

What causes condensation in my home?

Simply, condensation starts to occur when warm air and cold air meet. It can also occur when there’s a lot of humidity in the air and not enough ventilation. It is most evident in the winter and is usually a result of your efforts to keep your house warm. Everyday activities such as cooking, showering, and drying clothes can also release moisture into the air which can also lead to a build-up of condensation in the home.

For older New Zealand homes, there may be many breaks in your home’s thermal barrier which allows air in and out of your home. When your inside warm air starts mixing with the outside cold air it cools down quickly, releasing the water molecules from the air. These turn into liquid droplets that attach themselves to cold surfaces such as your walls and develop into condensation.

Condensation tends to be less of an issue during the summer months as you’re always opening the windows and doors to let fresh air in, and this helps to keep the home ventilated. In the winter months, you typically keep all the windows and doors closed so the cold air doesn’t come inside and if the house isn’t well ventilated, condensation can quickly develop. While most houses have extractor fans in the bathrooms, these small fans are usually not enough to keep the entire house ventilated and when the outside air temperature starts to drop, this is when you start to notice the damp and wet walls.

While a little bit of water may not sound like a major issue, if this problem is left unattended, it can create the perfect environment for black mould to grow which can lead to several health issues including respiration problems, skin rashes, and sore or itchy eyes.

What can you do to fix condensation issues in the home?

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure close your home’s thermal envelope and fix your condensation problems. The first thing you want to do is prevent the outside air from getting into your home. There could be a number of weak points in your home contributing to this issue including

  • Gaps around the windows and doors in your home
  • Poor insulation in your walls, underfloor or roof
  • Leaks in your roof
  • Damage to your homes cladding
  • Poor ventilation in your home

Clearly if there’s damage to your home and it is not weathertight, these issues need to be immediately addressed. Leaving your home exposed to New Zealand’s harsh climate for extended periods of time can lead to an expensive repair bill and numerous health issues.

You could also invest in better extractor fans and/or a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air however in most situations the underlying issue related to condensation issues is either poor or a lack of insulation.

Insulating your home is probably the single best thing you can do for your family’s health and wellbeing and in New Zealand, homes usually only have the minimum standards of insulation. When we inspect most homes, we find that there is a little bit of insulation in the roof and under the floor but usually no insulation in the walls. If you think about it, insulation is designed to provide a barrier that keeps the outside air temperature out, and the inside temperature in, and if the walls are not well insulated, all your heating efforts are easily lost through the walls. By insulating your walls, you’re helping to close your home’s thermal envelope and this helps to permanently fix condensation issues in your home.

Insulation products like CosyWall Insulation can be easily blown into the walls of your home without having to remove the linings. It is pumped into the walls through small holes that are patched up after the installation, so you’ll never know the process was done. Additionally, because it’s blown in at such a high density, it will never shrink or slump inside the walls and with a 50-year durability rating, the insulation will last the life of the home.

Talk to the team at CosyWall Insulation today about organising a free home assessment for your property.

Black mould can lead to serious health issues

Health issues caused from Mould

Having mould in your home can be a costly and dangerous problem and can lead to a number of serious health issues. Black mould, also known as Stachybotrys can release spores into the air as it feeds on organic materials common in most houses. These spores if inhaled can lead to a range of mild to series symptoms for your family. You might be curious about what causes black mould to grow in your home anyway? Too much moisture in your home is usually the catalyst and damp or wet walls or condensation build-up on the windows and sills are obvious signs you have a problem.

The most common symptoms of mould are associated with your respiratory response however symptoms may be more severe if you have a mould allergy.

  • Regular coughing or sneezing
  • Sore or itchy eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches

If left untreated, prolonged exposure to mould and cause more serious or dangerous health issues. If you’re noticing nausea, vomiting and/or bleeding in the lungs and nose, this is usually a sign that urgent treatment is needed. If you’re seeing any of these indicators, it’s important that you take swift action and approach your medical practitioner immediately.

Serious mould infestations and be very costly to remove and may require a professional. In some situations, renovations of your home may be necessary to replace damaged materials to resolve the problems which is why we recommend taking steps to address the underlying causes of mould quickly.

Treatment for mould health issues

There are several treatments for mould allergies or mould exposure symptoms including nasal sprays, rinses and allergy shots. Antihistamines are also available from most pharmacies which can help your immune response.

If you are experiencing any mould related symptoms, its best to seek advice from your local medical practitioner immediately.

What can I do to remove mould?

If you start noticing mould growing on your walls it’s usually a good indication of high levels of moisture in your home. In New Zealand, this is likely caused by poor insulation and/or ventilation in your home. It may be helpful to have an expert come and do a healthy home assessment to determine any weak points that need addressing.

Mould usually occurs in damp or moist places throughout the home so the usual rooms you’ll start noticing mould growth is in the bathroom and kitchens.

Bathrooms tend to be one of the more common places and the room isn’t well ventilated this will quickly lead to mould growth. Having a good extractor fan in the bathroom is critical to removing moisture from the room.

Likewise, a good extraction system in the kitchen can help remove moisture that is caused by cooking and food preparation.

Another major issue is to do with poor insulation in your walls. Poor insulation can lead to condensation issues or damp walls. This is the perfect environment for mould growth and usually means there is no insulation in the walls. Insulating your walls is probably the best way to control the moisture in your home and using a blown insulation product like CosyWall Insulation is a great way to fix the issue.

CosyWall can easily be blown into your walls from either the inside or outside of the home without having to remove the linings. Once installed, it helps seal your homes thermal envelope and will stabilise the temperature of your home.

Have a look at our video which talks a little bit about how uninsulated walls can lead to the growth of mould in your home.

Talk to an expert

If you think you need some help from an expert feel free to have a chat with one of our CosyWall Insulation team members. They can help you organise a free home assessment and provide you the best solution for your home. Email us on sales@wallinsulation.co.nz or contact us today to find out more.

Mould growth inside your home

What Causes Black Mould

Mould is a form of fungus which can be found in black, white, orange, green or purple. They are small organisms which can live almost anywhere indoors, or outdoors and reproduces lightweight spores that travel through the air.

Most of us are exposed to mould everyday however it’s usually harmless in small amounts however when it lands on a damp spot in your home, it can start to grow and this can lead to serious health issues.

Health issues caused by mould

Many people are unaware that black mould can cause health issues. When mould is found high levels inside your home, it can cause allergies, lead to asthma attacks in some cases even lead to infections in some people. The deadliest mould is called Stachybotrys, which is more commonly referred to as “black mould”. This is one of the most dangerous types of mould and can cause flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, headaches, memory loss and severe respiratory damage.

How does black mould grow?

For black mould to grow indoors, it needs moisture and food. Black mould tends to thrive in warm and frequently moist environments such as your kitchens and bathrooms. Moisture is a key factor influencing mould growth indoors and controlling indoor moisture can dramatically help to limit its growth. Moisture control is crucial as mould can begin to grow indoors in as short as 24 to 48 hours when conditions are right. A great way to control moisture in your home is to fully insulate your home, ensuring its thermal envelope is sealed. While most people have roof and floor insulation, typical New Zealand houses lack wall insulation, and uninsulated walls can easily let moisture into your home.

Black mould does not need a lot of water to grow. A little condensation, in a bathroom or around your windows can be enough for mould to start growing. Common sites for indoor mould growth include bathroom tiles and grout, the corners of your walls, areas around windows, near leaky plumbing, and around sinks. Most common causes of moisture in your home include roof leaks, condensation due to high humidity, poor insulation, cold spots in a building or leaks in plumbing fixtures.

Besides moisture, mould also needs nutrients, or food, to grow. Mould can grow on virtually any organic substance. Most buildings are full of organic materials that mould can use as food, including many building materials and household furnishings.

What can you do to avoid mould growth in your home?

New Zealand’s widely vary between the summer and winter months making it difficult to control moisture and causing condensation issues.

A great way to control moisture in your home is to fully insulate your home, ensuring its thermal envelope is sealed. While most people have roof and floor insulation, typical New Zealand houses lack wall insulation, and uninsulated walls can easily let moisture into your home.

CosyWall Insulation is an excellent insulation product that can be installed in virtually any New Zealand home. It’s blown through small holes into the walls from either the inside or the outside of the home which are patched up following the installation, so you’ll never know the process was done. You will instantly notice a much more stable inside temperature which among the many other benefits, will help you control the moisture inside the home which will help prevent black mould in the future.

Contact the team at CosyWall Insulation today for a free assessment of your home.

Insulation Association supports call for new Grants to protect vulnerable New Zealanders from COVID-19

The Insulation Association of New Zealand (IAONZ) has grave concerns for New Zealanders in poor housing heading into winter living in cold damp homes. Additionally, the potential for significant insulation sector job losses may result in less houses being insulated this year.
While the Residential Tenancy Act and the Healthy Homes Guarantee’s Act focuses on rental properties, there is no Government focus on what will happen to privately owned homes if the owners are suffering income reduction or job loss.

IAONZ President, Wade Maurice states “Insulation for New Zealand is a proven life saver helping to keep houses warm and reduce expensive power bills during winter. We are calling on the Government to make Insulation grants available for all homes owned by New Zealanders who are affected by COVID-19 job losses or income reduction”

Mr Maurice continues “The Government is seeking “Shovel ready” projects to assist the country back out of lock-down. The Association cannot think of a project with such proven benefit than to insulate private houses for those who are going to be affected by the economic fall-out. To have a large number of people in homes that are cold and damp continues to create an ongoing issue for further illness and for COVID-19 to further spread.”

Otago University public health professor Philippa Howden-Chapman said people living in cold, damp and overcrowded homes were more vulnerable to Covid-19.1

640,000 homes need insulation

The latest BRANZ House Condition Survey2 states that the number of private homes that could benefit from retrofitting insulation in the ceiling and / or subfloor totals approx. 640,000 homes.

The Government should be considering a “Shovel ready” grant which provides more warmer drier homes, assisting with reducing further illness or repeat flare-ups of COVID-19 and in turn increases employment in the sector.

Mr Maurice continues; “The last thing New Zealand needs is bouncing between Alert levels. While the Government is right to be focusing on business and community spread of Covid-19, we need to look further into reducing the source in the home. Hearing that Covid-19 could survive for between nine and 28 days on plastic or hard surfaces at 4C which can occur in uninsulated homes is troubling, so let’s get New Zealand homes warm and healthy sooner rather than later.”

For more information please contact:

Wade Maurice
President IAONZ
021 375 870

Richard Arkinstall
Executive Officer
027 288 3770