Home & Garden Green Living

Making Sense of Insulation Choices

Are you a little confused with the number of insulation choices available?
The perfect home will be leak free, warm in winter, cool in summer, and use energy efficiently to achieve these aims.
In most cases there is no such thing as bad insulation choice, as any effort to stop energy escaping from your home will be worth the effort but some materials are more eco-friendly than others.
Certainly if you are looking at retro fitting insulation, products that are made from recycled material will be greener, using less embedded energy than glass fiber panels.
They are usually very price competitive and can be fitted without the need for heavy protective clothing.
The type you select may be dictated by the ease of access to the area you are trying to insulate.
Paper filling can reach even those hard to get at places, and you may even save by doing it yourself.
One important consideration is the fire retardant qualities of any material you choose.
Check building codes for your best guidance in this area, but make sure you have an attitude of putting safety first.
In the home some leaks around doors and windows can be fixed with simple strip insulation to temporarily fix the problem.
Ultimately it won't be insulation you need but better sealing fittings and double glazing for windows.
Roofs may benefit from a turbine to remove damp air and make heating the home easier, even without more insulation.
A natural alternative is to install a roof garden to keep the home warm in winter and a few degrees cooler in summer as well.
The choice of planting should match the plants that are native to your locale as they will already be adapted to the weather extremes in your state.
The added benefit of lower maintenance, reduced runoff during storm periods and the visual effect on the environment satisfies many of the demands of greener insulation.
When it comes to walls, their construction material and method will determine the most sensible options open to you.
Brick double skinned construction will have a cavity lending itself to paper or wool filling rather than panels of fiber.
Old block walls may benefit from either external cladding or the fitting of panels inside onto battens attached to the walls.
You can do this room by room and with some DIY ability the project is one you can attempt yourself.
Under floor insulation is well worth the effort particularly if the floor has no rug or carpet covering.
Simple foiled lining paper and a staple gun can be used to fix this to the floor but will depend on access to all areas to be effective.
The choice of winter heating you employ may offer other avenues for insulation.
Radiators with heat reflective panels behind them will prevent leaking of this heat through a wall.
Central heating options may include hot water circulation in the floor, so it is important that the piping is well protected from the boiler to the heating system.
Don't forget that many utility companies will give you advice on the best insulation options for the home.
They will also know about subsidies available to the home owner and even grants to get you started.
Doing a whole house may give you substantial assistance packages particularly if you have health issues relating to respiratory disease.
You may think that existing insulation is sufficient, but over time this can be damaged if new lighting has been installed or the attic has been accessed on a regular basis.
A quick check with a torch in the loft area may give you some nasty surprises but situations that are easy to fix.

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