How to

The dos and don’ts of insulation

Article by Homes to Love

A well insulated home is key to creating a warmer, healthier, more comfortable environment. We discover the essential dos and don’ts

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Do:

Insulate your home

While this point may seem a little obvious, the fact is many New Zealand homes are damp, cold and expensive to heat because of poor insulation. If you’re building new or have a chance to renovate, insulation should be at the top of your to do list. Good insulation acts as a buffer to the environment outside by keeping your home cool in summer and cosy the winter. By regulating the temperature and humidity of your home you’ll be able to heat it more efficiently and reduce damp conditions. The benefits of insulation to your comfort, health and pocket make this investment well worth your while.

Check the R-value

All insulation is given a rating called an R-value – the higher the rating, the better the insulation is at reducing heat flow. Ideally you should invest in insulation with a higher value R-value but this isn’t always feasible. Before you go ahead and pick the cheapest option, speak to your builder or an expert at PlaceMakers as there are minimum standards of insulation required under the New Zealand Building Code. These requirements also differ depending on the area of the country you live in and whether you’re building new or renovating.

Your research

A little bit of knowledge under your belt will be incredibly useful when tackling the insulation of your home. Not only does the New Zealand Building Code have standards for your insulation’s R-value but it also has different requirements depending on if your project is a new-build and or if it’s a retrofit of an older home. A little bit of time online and some expert advice will help you to create a cost-effective plan.

Book an insulation assessment if you’re a landlord

If you’re a landlord, you now need to know a few more details about your rental property’s insulation. Following changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) landlords must now state the level of a property’s insulation in new tenancy agreements and they’re also required to retrofit properties with ceiling and underfloor insulation by July 2019. To help you get RTA ready PlaceMakers are offering free insulation assessments, all you have to do is book online and they’ll take care of the rest.

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Don’t:

Assume all insulation is the same

The way heat flows and escapes throughout your home varies, which is why insulation products are designed to suit different conditions  ­- ceiling insulation has different construction and performance attributes when compared  to wall and underfloor insulation. These days you can get really specific with your insulation requirements from size and thickness to whether you’re building new or need an easy-to-install product for a retrofit.  So do some research and chat to an expert to find the right ones for your home.

Try to install it yourself

Although Kiwis pride ourselves in our DIY abilities, installing insulation is a difficult task that can be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. For a quick, clean job where you don’t have to deal with live wires or risk putting your foot through your ceiling, it’s best to get a professional in. If you decide to do it yourself make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully and pay close attention to size and thickness of your insulation. A poor fit, with a fold or a gap of just a few millimetres, can greatly reduce your insulation’s effectiveness.

Cut corners

Insulation is an important investment that but the benefits long term are greatly reduced  if you don’t do it right. Get expert advice on your plan, products, and installation and if you’re unable to fully insulate your home, find out what the best long term options are for you. Remember the time, effort and money you spend on insulation you’ll get back tenfold with a warm, healthy home that’s cheaper to heat.

Forget about the windows and doors

Little touches can go a long way when heating your home. Make sure the seals around your windows are intact and use draught stops for under doors. Get extra cosy by double glazing your windows or for a quick fix install some thermal-lined curtains.

Visit PlaceMakers.co.nz or head to your local PlaceMakers to get insulated this winter.

Photography by: Katherine Jamison/Bauersyndication.com.au, PlaceMakers/Pinkbatts.

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