Why we don't recommend loose-fill fiberglass insulation
Loose-fill fiberglass insulation has some disadvantages, that’s why we recommend roll-form insulation products over loose-fill. The disadvantages include:
- Settling: Over time, blow-in fiberglass insulation can settle and become less effective at reducing heat transfer. This can result in decreased energy efficiency and increased heating and cooling costs.
- Moving in the roof: Because our roofs in South Africa are not sealed properly most of the time, loose-fill fiberglass insulation tends to blow around in the roof because of how light it is. This leads to uneven distribution in the roof and a fire hazard with the downlights.
- Moisture retention: Blow-in fiberglass insulation can absorb and retain moisture, which can lead to mold growth and damage to the insulation and surrounding materials.
- Uneven coverage: Because blow-in fiberglass insulation is installed by blowing it into the space, it can be difficult to achieve a uniform coverage throughout the area. This can result in areas with insufficient insulation, leading to energy loss and temperature imbalances.
- Air leakage: Blow-in fiberglass insulation may not completely fill all gaps and voids in a space, which can allow air to leak in or out. This can reduce energy efficiency and increase heating and cooling costs.
- Difficult to remove: Once blow-in fiberglass insulation has been installed, it can be difficult and time-consuming to remove if necessary. Which ends up costing a lot more than roll-form insulation to remove.
Read more: Disadvantages of loose-fill insulation
What is insulation?
Insulation is a material that is used to reduce or prevent the transfer of heat and sound from one area to another. It is commonly used in homes and buildings to improve energy efficiency, reduce heating and cooling costs, and improve comfort by maintaining consistent indoor temperatures.
There are many different types of insulation, including earthwool, fiberglass, cellulose, polyester, and spray foam. These materials can be installed in various areas of a home or building, such as the walls, attic, floors, and roof. The choice of insulation material and location of installation depends on several factors, such as the climate, building design, and budget.
Insulation works by creating a barrier that slows the movement of heat and sound. For example, in a home, insulation in the walls helps to keep heat inside during the winter months and outside during the summer months. This reduces the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the home, which in turn reduces energy costs.
Insulation also has other benefits, such as reducing noise levels from outside and preventing the spread of fires between different areas of a building. Additionally, some types of insulation are made from recycled materials, making them a more environmentally friendly option.
What is insulation R-value?
Insulation R-value refers to a measure of an insulation product’s ability to reduce the rate of heat flow under specified test conditions. It is a way to determine the insulating properties of a particular material, and the higher the R-value, the better the insulation. The R-value of insulation is calculated by dividing the thickness of the material by its thermal conductivity, which is also known as the k-value or lambda value.
Insulation R-values are used as a standard unit of measurement to determine how effective the insulation will be at reducing heat flow up or down. The R-value can depend on the thickness and density of the insulation product. Insulation reduces heat loss by all three heat transfer modes: conduction, convection, and radiation, but primarily impedes heat transfer by conduction.
Different countries have different insulation requirements for various climatic regions or zones. Homeowners can use R-value charts to determine what R-value of insulation is required for their location. To calculate the R-value of a particular insulation product, several measurements are taken, including the area of the insulation barrier, the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor, and time.
What is insulation density?
The density of insulation refers to the weight of the insulation material per unit volume. The denser the insulation, the more insulation material is packed into a given space. This can increase the insulation’s R-value, making it more effective at reducing heat transfer or sound transmission. A higher density can also improve the fire resistance of the insulation material.
Insulation density is also crucial for soundproofing. The density of insulation affects how well it can absorb and block sound waves. Higher-density insulation can absorb and block sound waves better than lower-density insulation.
The appropriate insulation density for a given application will depend on a variety of factors, including the desired level of insulation, available space, and budget. Higher-density products will always be more expensive than lower-density products.
However, increasing the density of insulation too much has its drawbacks. Higher-density insulation materials are typically heavier and more difficult to handle, which can make installation more challenging. Products like cellulose have a high density but are extremely heavy and can cause a ceiling to collapse.
Can insulation help reduce energy costs?
Yes, insulation can help reduce energy costs by minimizing the transfer of heat between the inside and outside of a building. By creating a thermal barrier, insulation can help keep warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer. This can help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the building, resulting in lower energy bills.
The amount of energy savings will depend on a variety of factors, including the type and thickness of the insulation, the climate in the area, and the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems. However, it’s not uncommon for insulation to reduce energy costs by 20-30% or more.
In addition to reducing energy costs, insulation can also improve the comfort of a home or building by helping to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the space. It can also help reduce noise transmission, improve indoor air quality, and increase the overall value of the property.
To maximize energy savings, it’s important to ensure that insulation is properly installed and that any gaps or air leaks are sealed. A professional insulation contractor can help determine the best type and amount of insulation for your specific needs and can ensure that it’s installed correctly for maximum energy efficiency.
Is Knauf insulation certified for indoor air quality?
Yes, Earthwool insulation is certified for indoor air quality. It has received the Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold certification, which means that it is a low-emission material that is good for indoor air quality. The certification was awarded to Knauf Insulation in 2010 for its Mineral Wool products with ECOSE Technology, which is the same technology used in Earthwool insulation.
The Eurofins Gold certification for Indoor Air Comfort is a rigorous testing and certification program that evaluates a product’s emissions and potential impact on indoor air quality. It is recognized globally as a standard for building materials that are low in emissions and good for indoor air quality. Earthwool insulation is certified as an outstanding material in accordance with VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) and Indoor Air Quality Emissions regulations.
In addition to its Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold certification, Earthwool insulation is also certified as an outstanding material according to the VOC Indoor Air Quality emissions regulations. The insulation is manufactured using bio-based technology that does not contain any phenols, formaldehyde, acrylics, bleach, dyes, or artificial colors, which greatly improves indoor air quality.
Is insulation a fire hazard?
Insulation materials can vary in their fire resistance, but in general, most insulation materials are designed to be non-combustible or to have a high resistance to fire.
Insulation materials, such as earthwool and fiberglass, are classified as Class A fire-rated, which means they have the highest level of fire resistance. Insulation products like polyester and cellulose have Class B fire ratings.
To help prevent the spread of fire, it’s important to use insulation materials that are designed for your specific application and that meet local building codes and standards. It’s also important to have insulation installed by a qualified professional to ensure that it’s properly installed and that any gaps or air leaks are sealed.
In addition, some insulation materials like cellulose may release harmful gases or smoke when exposed to fire. It’s important to research the fire safety of insulation materials before selecting a product, especially in high-risk areas such as roofs or near heating equipment.
When cellulose insulation burns, it can release smoke and gases, including carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes. The amount and type of smoke and gases released will depend on several factors, including the temperature of the fire and the specific formulation of the cellulose insulation.
How long does insulation last?
The lifespan of insulation can vary depending on the type of insulation and the conditions it is exposed to. Some types of insulation, such as fiberglass and earthwool, can last for 30 – 50 years without losing their effectiveness if they are installed properly and not exposed to moisture.
Other types of insulation, such as cellulose, may need to be replaced or supplemented in 5 – 10 years due to settling, or loss of density. In general, it is recommended to have insulation inspected every few years to ensure that it is still performing effectively and to make any necessary updates or replacements.
When should insulation be replaced?
Over time, insulation can become compressed, settle, or otherwise lose its effectiveness, resulting in decreased thermal resistance and increased energy costs. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to have insulation inspected every 5-10 years to ensure it’s still performing properly. If the insulation is found to be compressed or otherwise damaged, it may need to be replaced.
In addition, if you’re planning to renovate or add an addition to your home or building, it’s a good idea to have the insulation inspected and possibly replaced to ensure that it meets current building codes and standards.
Additionally, if you notice signs of water damage or mold growth in your insulation, it should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage to your home and to protect your health.
Ultimately, the best way to determine when insulation should be replaced is to have it inspected by a qualified professional. They can assess the condition of the insulation and provide recommendations for repair or replacement as needed.
Does insulation help with temperature?
Yes, insulation helps with temperature control in buildings. Insulation creates a barrier between the interior and exterior of a building, slowing down the movement of heat through building materials. Insulation slows the heat from leaving the house in cold climates and slows down the hot outside air from entering the cool inside in hot climates.
Depending on the insulation used, it can make a significant difference in temperature control. For example, homeowners who have quality insulation (earthwool) in their homes can expect to see an average of 15 percent savings on their heating and cooling costs, and about a 25 percent reduction in total air infiltration.
In addition to temperature control, insulation also has other benefits. Insulation with a good vapor retarder controls condensation and limits corrosion on cold piping, ducts, chillers, and roof drains. Insulation products can help reduce the flame spread in case of a fire and protect homes from fire damage. Well-insulated rooms do not need the installation of additional air climate control, cooling or heating, saving the owner extra costs and energy.
How does insulation affect temperature change?
Insulation affects temperature change by slowing down the movement of heat through building materials. In cold climates, insulation slows the heat from leaving the house, while in hot climates, insulation slows down the hot outside air from entering the cool inside.
Insulation works by trapping air inside tiny pockets of material, preventing air from passing through it. This means that when it’s hot outside, the insulation helps keep the heat out by blocking it from entering your home, and when it’s cold outside, the insulation helps keep the heat in your home by preventing it from escaping to the outside.
Insulation can also have an impact on the surface temperature of building materials. Insulation with a good vapor retarder controls condensation and limits corrosion on cold piping, ducts, chillers, and roof drains. Sufficient thickness is needed to keep the surface temperature above the dew point temperature of the ambient air to prevent costly moisture damage to building materials.
Depending on the quality of insulation installed, homeowners can expect to see an average of 15 percent savings on their heating and cooling costs, and about a 25 percent reduction in total air infiltration.
Does insulation make a house hotter?
Insulation alone does not make a house hotter. In fact, insulation is designed to slow down the transfer of heat through building materials, whether it’s to keep the heat in during colder months or to keep the heat out during hotter months.
In warmer climates, insulation can help slow down the movement of hot air from outside the house to the cool air inside, helping to keep the house cooler. Additionally, proper insulation can help prevent air leaks and drafts, which can reduce the need for air conditioning and ventilation, ultimately leading to energy savings and a cooler, more comfortable indoor environment.
However, if a house is over-insulated or the insulation is installed incorrectly, it may prevent proper ventilation and cause excess heat to build up inside the house, leading to discomfort and health issues for occupants. Therefore, it’s important to ensure proper insulation installation and ventilation to avoid any negative effects on indoor temperature.
How do you insulate a house to reduce heat loss?
There are several ways to insulate a house to reduce heat loss:
- Ceiling insulation: Roof insulation is essential for reducing heat loss through the roof. You can use materials such as earthwool, fiberglass, polyester, or spray foam to insulate the ceiling.
- Wall insulation: Insulating walls is another way to reduce heat loss. You can add insulation to the walls from the inside or outside, depending on the construction of your house.
- Windows and doors: You can reduce heat loss through windows and doors by adding weatherstripping, caulking, and sealing gaps.
- Air sealing: Air leaks can be a significant source of heat loss in a house. You can reduce air leaks by sealing gaps around doors, windows, and other openings.
- Insulate ducts: Insulating heating and cooling ducts can help reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency.
Proper insulation can help reduce heat loss and keep your house warmer in the winter. It is important to ensure that the insulation is installed correctly and that there are no gaps or air leaks that could reduce its effectiveness.
What is the most important place to insulate a house?
The most important places to insulate a house are typically the roof, walls, and floors. Up to 25% of a home’s heat loss can occur through the roof or ceiling, so proper insulation in these areas can greatly reduce heat loss. Walls and floors can also contribute to heat loss, so insulating these areas can also help reduce energy costs and make a home more comfortable.
Additionally, doors, windows, and other areas with air leaks should also be properly sealed and insulated to prevent heat loss. The specific areas to insulate may vary depending on the climate and design of the home, so it is recommended to consult with a professional insulation contractor or energy auditor for specific recommendations.
How do you tell if a room is properly insulated?
There are several ways to tell if a room is properly insulated:
- Check for drafts: Drafts indicate that there are gaps in the insulation, allowing cold air to enter the room. Walk around the room and feel for drafts around doors, windows, and outlets.
- Check for hot or cold spots: Uneven temperatures in a room can indicate that there are areas with inadequate insulation. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature at different points in the room.
- Look for signs of moisture: If there is condensation on windows or walls, it may be a sign that there is insufficient insulation.
- Check the energy bills: If the energy bills for the room are higher than expected, it may indicate that the room is not well-insulated.
- Hire a professional: A professional energy auditor can use specialized tools such as an infrared camera to detect areas with inadequate insulation.
It is important to note that insulation requirements vary based on climate, building design, and other factors. Consult with a professional to determine the best insulation strategy for your specific situation.
What happens if your house is not properly insulated?
If a house is not properly insulated, it can lead to several problems. First, it can result in increased energy bills as the heating and cooling systems have to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This can also cause uneven heating or cooling within the house.
Second, inadequate insulation can lead to moisture buildup, which can cause mold and mildew growth and even structural damage over time. Additionally, it can result in drafts and cold spots in the house, making it uncomfortable for occupants.
Finally, poor insulation can also impact the indoor air quality, as it can allow outside pollutants and allergens to enter the house. Overall, proper insulation is important for maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment while also reducing energy consumption and costs.
How does insulation reduce heat transfer?
Insulation works by reducing heat transfer between objects of differing temperatures. Heat can be transferred through three mechanisms: conduction, convection, and radiation. Insulation reduces heat transfer by inhibiting or slowing down these mechanisms, depending on the type of insulation used.
Most insulation materials, such as fiberglass and plastic foam, are poor conductors of heat, which makes them effective at reducing heat transfer by conduction. These materials trap air in their structure, which is a poor conductor of heat, and reduces the transfer of heat energy between objects in thermal contact.
Insulation also works by reducing heat transfer through convection. Convection occurs when hot air rises and is replaced by cooler air, creating a flow of air. Insulation materials trap air pockets within their structure, which reduces the circulation of air inside the cavity and slows down heat transfer by convection.
Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain. These materials reflect thermal radiation and reduce the amount of heat that is absorbed by objects in their path. For these materials to be effective, they must be in contact with an air space.
How does installing the insulation affect how it performs?
Installing insulation can significantly impact how it performs. Proper installation ensures that the insulation material is in full contact with the surface it is insulating, without any gaps or compression that can reduce its effectiveness. Poor installation can create air pockets or voids that allow heat to flow through the insulation, reducing its R-value and increasing energy costs.
Additionally, installation affects insulation performance by ensuring that the material is correctly sized and applied for the intended use. Different insulation materials have different R-values and properties, and selecting the right material for the job can have a significant impact on its effectiveness.
Finally, proper installation can also help to prevent moisture buildup within the insulation, which can reduce its effectiveness over time and lead to mold or other moisture-related problems in the building. By ensuring that insulation is installed correctly and with appropriate materials, property owners can maximize the energy efficiency of their building and improve indoor air quality.