A comfortable home is cool in summer and warm and inviting in winter. A well-insulated house requires less heating and cooling, and therefore uses less energy. Few houses in South Africa are built with the cold winters in mind and are insufficiently insulated.
Whether you are planning a complete re-build of your house, a minor renovation or simply want a no-mess, no-fuss solution, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are five tips from Saint-Gobain on how best to insulate your home.
1. Insulate Your Home’s Ceiling
Insulate the ceiling cavity in each room, as this is often where the most heat escapes. The thicker the insulation, the higher the insulating properties. Go as thick as you can (100mm will do the trick in a big room). Take a peek inside your roof cavity and if there is already insulation, check that it does not need replacing, or perhaps an extra layer. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to keep a constant temperature indoors.
2. Insulate Your Home’s Walls
If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures, external cavity walls can also be filled with insulation fibre when exposed during a big renovation. If your renovation doesn’t involve breaking down or removing any walls, insulation board can be retrofitted to interior walls. You could also choose to apply a cladded insulation system called ETICS to existing exterior walls, which also facilitates the application of attractive facades and drastically reduces the transfer of heat and cold through walls.
3. Insulate Your Geyser
Ensure all geysers are insulated with a thermal blanket, as well as all hot water pipes. Insulation products available in rolls or sections that can be cut to the required size are a simple, affordable and practical way to improve the loss of heat through your water pipes and geysers, therefore improving energy efficiency and costs.
4. Install Airtight Windows and Doors
Another key home feature that affects thermal comfort are windows and doors. Windows and doors should seal tightly to prevent cold air coming in and heat escaping. Consider replacing existing steel windows with high quality aluminum windows – these are significantly more airtight and require no maintenance.
5. Consider Low Emission Glass
Double-glazed windows are ideal for areas that get extremely cold, but may not be an option on a tight budget. A highly effective alternative to double-glazed glass is Low Emission glass (Low E), which is coated with an insulating and transparent film. A glass thickness of 6.4mm also offers higher insulation properties than standard 4mm glass, and 6.4mm Low E glass has been very effectively used for double volume spaces with feature windows.
To learn more about some of the solutions mentioned above, visit the Stand 47 How To Guides.