Loft Insulation Service – Helping People to Save on Heating Bills
Technocrats, scientists and academia, nowadays, are spending most of their precious time to define, discuss and evolve variety of solutions towards management and conservation of Energy all over the world on top priority. The problem being more critical and alarming in developed countries like USA and many countries of the west, is seriously handled with red alert. One of such areas concerning the people and Governments is around conserving the energy spent and producing the required power and energy.
In this scenario in all the homes of this century, they use electric power for lighting, heating or cooling and for driving home utility machines on daily basis. A day without power not only affects the industries but also the domestic works and the life of human beings, badly. To manage the heat and cold climates, air conditioners or heaters are used respectively in the houses. Home owners have to pay the electricity charges for the use of all such utilities, one or more, in the form of consumption charges.
One does not know how to control and reduce the utility bills and also to support the Government initiatives to conserve energy. Ok, we try to switch off the lights and appliances, but may not get the expected reduction in the bill sum. The reason that we fail to understand is the heating space, to combat the chillness, account for the 50 to 70% of the energy used in American home in general. To effectively control and to achieve conservation of energy and reduction in the electricity bill, there should be an intelligent way to bring down the use of the heating equipments to a desired level. But keeping human safety and comfort condition at stake, such savings routes cannot be thought of.
Real energy saving solutions can only be appealing to the people and make them accept and implement. The strategy is to preserve and sustain the heat produced inside the home at the same time prevent or reduce the atmospheric chillness to enter into the house so that heating equipments need to work less to combat the cold and consume lesser energy.
How to achieve this? Thermal insulation is the answer. Insulate the house thermally using insulating materials that hardly allow the heat or cold to pass through them. This property of preventing heat or cold to pass from one section to another is called “Thermal Insulation”.
How and where to use these insulation materials in the home to keep the cold and heat where they are? During winter in some states it is sub zero temperature and is of deadly chill. Chillness comes from roof, walls, windows, floor and chimney. A study reveals that 25% to 30% of heat in a house is transmitted to outside atmosphere through the roof and loft. Science laws state that heat always flows from hotter to colder part. Naturally more heat will be passed on through the roof that is in contact with the coldest part of the atmosphere than the walls or floor that has contact with less colder part of the atmosphere than the roof. So it is wise to prefer insulating the roof and loft on top priority.
Science behind the heat transmission control through insulation method: Direction of flow of Heat is always from the hotter to the colder body through a medium, may be air, metal or any material until it reaches an equilibrium status in the temperature. Rate of flow of heat depends on the property of the material (medium) that is conducting the heat to dissipate through. Air conducts heat at very slower rate and when trapped as tiny pockets in any solid medium (that has the property of poor heat conduction) that is separating hot and cold atmosphere, prevents air getting exchanged with the cold to a great extent. In this case the air and the insulating medium act together to get the maximum efficiency by reducing the rate of transmission of heat to cold atmosphere. Simplest example to understand the theory is the design of a thermos flask to keep ice or hot water for longer duration under the same temperature than by exposing them in the open atmospheric temperature condition. It is the thermal insulation that is packed between the glass walls of the flask that does the saving of heat energy.
What is loft insulation?
Using thermal insulation materials the loft is thermally insulated to prevent the room heat to pass on to the cold atmosphere.
Dual purpose: This insulation keeps up the energy efficiency during both hot and cold seasons. It reduces dissipation of heat from room to colder atmosphere during winter and avoids coolness to get conducted to the hotter atmosphere during summer.
Hence the advantage here is that the Loft Insulation – Helping People to Save on Heating Bills during winter, by way of sustaining the heat produced using the energy for longer time than the rate of preservation of heat without insulation, in your home.
Choice of insulating materials: All materials have thermal resistance or R-value but varying with respect to the property of the material. The higher the R-value the greater is the insulating property of the material and in addition the thickness of the insulating material also accounts for this. Insulation calculators are available on line and insulation requirement can easily be evaluated using these calculations and the required number of layers of insulating materials can be optimized and used for effective and economic installation for loft insulation. Adding more layers will improve the efficiency of the insulation, but using the more than the required layers will become costlier.
List of insulating materials: Following brief list along with the R-value of that material gives an idea to choice of a material.
- Fiber Glass blanket or batt (R= 3.2)
2. High performance fiber glass blanket (3.8)
3. Loose-fill fiber glass (2.5)
4. Loose-fill rock wool (2.8)
5. Extruded polystyrene board (4.8)
6. Spray polyurethane foam (5.9)
Based on the required level of insulation and available area and space, based on the cost economics, suitable material can be chosen for installation in loft. Mostly fiber glass mineral wool and rock mineral wool (an upgraded product to the above at 1&4) are the preferred insulation materials nowadays. They are also safe to human life and environment friendly.
Check points before installation:
1. Damp or any condensation of water or moisture in the loft
2. Whether the joist (horizontal support members laid between walls or beams or pillars) are regular end to end.
3. Holes and bends, if any, in the roof and loft may be repaired and made easy for laying insulation rolls or sheets.
All unfinished spaces may be regularized and finished properly.
On checking and correcting the loft and attic, the installation of the chosen thermal insulation material can commence.
Pre-Installation: In the old type of houses, it is better to check the attic of the ceiling or roof of the house for a proper insulation. Holes, water leakage points, chimney and other external outlets may be checked on the roof for proper finish. Air leaks, if any, should be sealed and should be leak free.
Installation if thermal insulation in loft: Before installing the rigid insulation on the loft, loose fill fiber glass or bat rolls, which is less expensive, can be installed as one layer over the attic and between the joists. Over this insulation boards or any chosen insulation material can be installed.
Do It Yourself (DIY) installation: After getting the minimum required information from the supplier and the installers, it is possible to lay the insulating rolls by yourself, provided the roof, loft and joists are regular and symmetric to lay the standard insulating rolls. There is no leak or holes or other openings or dampness in the roof, attic or loft, it is still much easier to take up the work on your own and finish the insulation of your loft. Actually there is a good amount of saving on the installation cost. Ensure a standard depth of mineral wool insulation of 270mm in the loft for effective control of heat dissipation to the cold atmosphere.
Installation by professionals: Installation of the loft insulation can be outsourced to reliable and experienced companies. Many times the suppliers of the insulating materials arrange for the installation through their trained artisans. This method is followed when there are issues with the roof, attic or loft of the house, to be repaired and made smooth for executing the loft installation work.
Managing the site dependent issues for installation: When the loft is partially insulated, say for about 100mm in the roof, then we need to top up with further insulating material up to a depth of say the standard 270mm and this work can also be done through skilled persons from the market.
When the access to your loft is difficult these skilled artisans use appropriate equipments and blow up fire retardant cellulose or loose glass wool materials or vermiculites to fill up the small holes and give an error free space for doing the leak free insulation to get the best heat efficiency.
Polystyrene slabs can be fitted in between the joists to adjust the width to a standard dimension for creating symmetric arrangement and also to get a secured built up. But they have to be cut to suitable and required size. Alternatively EPS (expanded polystyrene) ‘squeeze’ products can be pushed into place.
Spray foam provides additional physical strength to a roof that is not in good condition. The given spray will patch up, join the cracks to have smooth and clean leak proof roof for better insulation.
Survey of the site or house is done by these people before taking up the work. This package consists of:
i assessing the damages and corrections to be done
ii area of insulation
iii area of loft where the insulation depth to be augmented to 270 mm from the existing one
iv Removing and relaying of new insulation
And also the cost of materials is included and an estimate is submitted for taking up the work.
Balance your fund with the best loft insulation: There is enough information on the net for deciding a combination of the most economic and best utility value loft insulation methods. Based on the taken inputs the best package can be chosen for doing the loft insulation. Sometimes we need to compromise the cost for the use of appropriate materials at the appropriate materials as described in the above article. So it is better to balance the funds and try to achieve the maximum heat retardation efficiency.
Pros and cons of insulating materials:
Batt loft insulation: Suitable for DIY type installation. Recycled glass or wool does not cause irritation to skin, whereas new ones might cause irritation during installation. It can fill up exposed wall cavities easily. Sheep’s wool is expensive insulation material. Blanket rolls are not manageable at sites to fit into the loft space.
Loose-fill loft insulation: These are made of cork granules, cellulose fiber or mineral wool. Recycled paper granules are also used. It fits easily in irregular or non-symmetric joists or any structures of the roof and loft. This material can be to top up the heights or depths of insulating materials or use of safety equipments and protective clothing covers to be used while installing.
Blown-fibre loft insulation: Only professional installer has to do the job using a blowing machine. It is easy to use this stuff in inaccessible corners, joints, bottom side of certain structures of your house since being light and easy to handle.
Managing the New houses:
Try to get a proper insulated sheathing over the wood or the metal fabricated structures. Get the walls and ceiling sprayed with polyurethane foam for insulation, and to get a leak proof structure. Structural insulated panels with plastic foam insulating materials sandwiched between two layers of wooden frames may be suggested to your builder for walls and ceiling.
Finally Benefits and advantages:
Unlike other cases here the initial cost has the long term recurring benefit. It is very difficult to define exactly what would be the savings but there are certain known reports of study and accept. Average recurring savings achievable in loft insulation is,
Loft Insulation = $300 per annum = $600 pay back DIY in 2 years = 730 Kg of CO2 emission saving per year (270 MM laying which is equivalent to emission of CO2 from 1M cars)