Category Archives: General Knowledge

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

4 signs you should replace your home’s insulation.

Insulating your home is one of the best things you can do for your health, wallet, and investment. Just like anything though, it’s vital to ensure that it is up to date and installed correctly, so that you can reap the best benefits of home insulation. There can be serious health and financial consequences if your insulation isn’t performing optimally – if your insulation is old or ineffective, it will literally pay to find out.

Here are 4 signs that it may be time to look into replacing your insulation.

Changing Indoor Temperatures.

If the indoor temperatures of your home are constantly changing, that’s a sign that your insulation should be replaced. Well-insulated homes take a while to respond to outside temperature changes, as good insulation impedes the transmission of heat. If your home responds rapidly to temperature shifts, however, that likely means your insulation has thinned down. You might either need to replace it or add more.

Indoor Drafts

 When parts of your insulation wear down, the winds can exploit your homes new found weakness, and then you get a suction effect where wind pushes its way through the gap and sucks warm air out of the house so the cold can replace it. The draft you feel is this cold air muscling its way in and shoving your warm air out.

Out of control energy bills

 If your energy bills are fluctuating rapidly as the seasons change, that’s a sure fire signal that your insulation is becoming ineffective. If in winter, your heater is working around the clock and in summer your air conditioner is cranking 24/7, then usually your insulation is to blame. Cooling and heating systems are necessary to maintain a consistent level of comfort in your home and add an extra level of control over your house temperature, but they shouldn’t be working overtime.

Wet Insulation

 If the insulation become moist, damp, or sopping wet, there is no salvaging the material. It must be replaced immediately. Blocked vents, a leaky roof, a basement flood, or the absence of vapor barriers can cause crawl space or attic insulation to get wet. Not only can wet insulation grow mould that releases dangerous mycotoxins in to the air, but the moisture causes the insulation to become ineffective. The tiny air pockets that are instrumental in trapping the air and maintaining the temperature are plugged with water, rendering the insulation useless.

Insulation is essential in living comfortably. Having quality, up-to-date insulation will ensure your house feels like a home year round.

If you’re worried about any potential heating or cooling problems, get in touch today. Our technicians are happy to help make sure you have everything you need to stay warm this winter.

 

Can you have too much insulation?

As hidden as insulation is behind the walls, up in the attic and under the floorboards, its benefits are not so obscure! You probably know by now (especially if you’ve read our blog before) that the right amount of insulation can help reduce energy bills and improve comfort all year round.

The key words there are “right amount.” If your home is not properly insulated or installed, then you’ll have a much harder time reaping the benefits of saving money and staying comfortable. The question of whether “too much of a good thing” crops up when there are concerns of going overboard with sealing a house and potential problems with doing so, such as moisture build-up and mold to polluted indoor air.

A house can definitely be under-insulated but today, let’s dive into the question of whether your home can be over-insulated.

First, let’s start with the basics: how does Insulation work?

During the winter, the air inside the home is warmer than the air outside. The insulation slows down the movement of energy from the warm area to the cold area, creating a thermal barrier that means your heaters or fireplace don’t have to work as hard to keep the home warm. The thicker the insulation, and the lower the U-value, the better this thermal barrier is and so the slower the heat will escape the home.

During a summers day when the temperature may hit 30 degrees, the air outside is generally warmer than the air in the home. With the heating off, the house warms up gradually through the day as the walls and roof absorb the heat of the day. But because the air outside is warmer the thermal barrier created by the insulation will again slow the movement of heat, but in the opposite direction. Warm air in the roof will not be able to penetrate into the home as easily, whilst insulation in the walls will prevent them from warming the home as quickly as well.

What about air quality if the house is too tight?

It is important for your home to have good air quality – poor air quality can be hazardous to health. Not all insulation is created the same. Insulating your walls with vapour resistant insulation, like we do, reduces condensation that is caused when the moisture from daily activities, such as cooking, washing, and bathing gathers on the surface of your walls. It’s an effective way to avoid the harmful effects of moisture in your home.

Insulation is vital for your home

Wherever you live and whatever the type of property, insulation is absolutely vital – especially with spiralling energy costs! And while there are potential risks of over insulating your home if you choose the wrong installer, there’s a much better chance you don’t have enough insulation, particularly if you’ve noticed:

• Higher than normal energy bills (without an increase in usage)
• Drafts or uneven temperatures from room to room
• Unusually warm second floor in your home

Installing Cavity Wall Insulation

It’s vital when upgrading your insulation to get just the right amount and to ensure that it’s properly installed. The team at CosyWall Insulation has you covered in this area. We install the highest quality materials and always ensure you feel confident and comfortable in your newly insulated home.

Get in touch today for a free assessment!

Is all insulation the same?

We’ve mentioned before how insulation helps to reduce energy costs and keeps your home more comfortable. However, insulation comes in many different types, applications and efficiencies. It can be tempting to think that putting in some insulation will be a magic bullet, but it’s actually more complicated than that. Is all insulation the same?

Today, we’re going to look at the different types of insulation and whether they are all created equal.

WHAT TYPES OF INSULATION ARE THERE?

There are 5 main types:

1. Batting (Fibreglass, Rockwool, Polyester): Batting comes in sheets and rolls to be cut and placed into roof cavities and under floors. It’s difficult to install in walls, except during construction. It can also release inhalant microfibres that cause respiratory issues. Also compresses fairly easily, reducing its effectiveness. It can be installed DIY, but as we’ve said before, there are complications there.

2. Loose-fill (fibreglass and cellulose): Loose-fill is blown into cavities to create a layer that settles. It’s lightweight, so great for unreinforced ceilings and walls, adding insulation but not too much weight. It’s easier to install in tight spaces, especially cavity walls which are notoriously under-insulated. For example, CosyWall insulation is water repellent and made from glasswool making it extremely useful in our New Zealand climate.

3. Structural insulated panels (polystyrene and polyisocyanurate): Best installed during building, as the panels cannot be squeezed into tight spaces. Offers great insulation, but can work too well, encouraging damp. Panels emit toxic smoke when burned. Polyisocyanurate is a foil-type insulation, which works extremely well, but because it’s a foil barrier, it tends to encourage damp by not allowing any movement of air or moisture at all.

4. Polyurethane spray foam (open-cell and closed-cell): Sprayed into cavities (requiring minimal access) and expands to fit all available space. Great for cavity walls and tight spaces, and can be installed in new builds or already finished houses. Open-cell stops the movement of air and closed-cell stops the movement of both air and moisture.

Each material has different costs, benefits, disadvantages, and R-value. The R-value is the thermal resistance it offers or its efficiency at regulating the temperature.

WHERE SHOULD INSULATION BE INSTALLED?

Basically, everywhere. Here’s how it works: air travels from one extreme to another, until all temperatures are the same. Insulation creates a thermal barrier that helps to slow the movement of air in both directions. So if you want to keep your indoor temperature stable, you need to have a well-insulated home. Warm air can escape through all of your home’s barriers. It’s important to complete the thermal envelope by insulating your ceiling, floor and — most importantly and most forgotten — your walls.

SO, IS ALL INSULATION THE SAME?

As you can see, all insulation is not created equal. It has different costs, benefits, disadvantages, health and installation concerns, efficiencies and effectiveness. Installed well and properly, insulation can reduce heating costs, prevent the growth of mildew and mould, and keep your home a comfortable and stable temperature and ensuring a healthy home.

If installed incorrectly, it can affect your health, be less effective at thermal control and encourage the growth of damp issues. Insulation also ages, compressing and creating holes in the thermal envelope. It’s important to update your home’s insulation especially if your home is old.

Not sure when your home was last assessed for insulation? Give us a call or email us call on 0800 267 992 or sales@wallinsulation.co.nz to chat, obligation free, about your home. And if you’d like to find out more about heat loss, energy savings, renovation and insulation, check out our other articles.