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  • How Does Insulation Keep a House Cool?

February 2018

Insulation is an energy-efficient way to keep your home cool for the summer and warm in the winter. Learn how insulation works with this guide.

Insulation creates a barrier to heat gain and loss in ceilings, roofs, floors, and walls. It is a cost-effective and practical way to keep your house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It may also reduce condensation, decreasing your chances of damp and mould. Let’s take a look at what insulation is and how it can make for an energy-efficient home.

What is insulation and how does it work?

Insulation is a layer of material in your walls, ceiling, floor, and roof that moderates the temperature inside your home. It makes it easier to keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter. Most heat transfer happens through the roof and ceiling, so insulation is essential.

When you renovate or build your home, installing insulation is simple. However, it can be done any time. Some of the many benefits of insulation in your home are:

  • Keeps your house cool in summer and warm in winter
  • Reduces your energy consumption
  • Cuts your heating and cooling bill
  • Provides comfort all year round

Why is insulation good for the environment and how is it energy-efficient?

Without insulation, your home leaks a lot of energy. Insulation helps you:

  • reduce your energy bill and save money
  • use less energy
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • improve your home’s comfort
  • reduce use of cooling and heating systems
  • can make your house more soundproof

Types of insulation

Always consult with a qualified builder or installer when you select insulation. They are able to assess which insulation is best for your home. In Australia, there are a variety of insulation products to choose from. The types of insulation available include:

Ceilings and Roof Insulation

If your ceiling or roof has no insulation, you can lose around 40% of your cooling and heating energy. Insulating your veranda roof in hot climates reduces heat, which affects the area below it. Insulation may benefit you if you are cooling and heating your veranda or garage.

Wall Insulation

Wall insulation is important in any climate, and you can save up to 25% of cooling and heating energy with wall insulation. 1 If you don’t already have wall insulation, or you have insufficient insulation, you can retrofit your walls.

Floor Insulation

Carpets are good insulation for cooler areas, and can save around 20% of cooling and heating energy. 2 In hotter climates, no insulation may be best. This is because insulation may affect the natural ground cooling from under your house.

Water Pipes

If you are renovating or building your home, you can insulate the water pipes within your walls. You should insulate any exposed pipes and your water tank, as this reduces energy loss.

Bulk Insulation

Bulk insulation is typically used in cooler climates because it creates a barrier between the inside and outside of your home. Bulk insulation is available in rolls, batts, and boards, and can be made from polyester, glass wool, recycled paper, or natural wood. Bulk insulation keeps heat inside in winter and outside in summer.

Reflective Insulation

Reflective insulation is typically used in warmer climates. It keeps your home cool in hot weather by deflecting heat. It is made from aluminium foil which is laminated onto plastic or paper. Reflective insulation can be used together with bulk insulation if you live in an area which experiences hot and cold climates.

Suitable insulation depends on where you live and whether you want to keep the heat out, in, or both. Building material, design, and orientation also impact your options.

Choosing the right insulation

Insulations ability to resist heat leaking in or out is called its ‘R-value’. Matching the R-value of insulation products and installing it properly provides the same insulation level. The amount and level of insulation needed depends on your home and climate.

Insulation installed incorrectly can result in it not achieving the R-value stated. Incorrect installation includes damaging and compressing insulation, and leaving gaps between batts or sheets.

The final word

Insulation is a cost-effective and energy-saving way to insulate your home. Whether you are renovating, building, or replacing your old insulation, there is an appropriate insulation option for your needs. Consider what you need, where you are located, and what type of insulation would suit you best. Consult with a professional builder or installer before doing any insulation installations in your home.

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