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Renovated House with Insulation

Best Ways To Insulate Your Home

According to experts, home insulation has many options to choose from ranging from the most efficient to least efficient. Choosing the right insulation therefore depends on the levels of efficiency required and the budget set aside for the process. Perhaps the degree of efficiency is directly proportional the installation cost of a particular method; expensive insulation methods tend to be more efficient and energy saving. Before insulation a home, one should take into consideration, the R-Value of the insulator. This is the material’s measured ability to resist conduction of heat. Materials with higher R-value act as better insulators since they conduct heat low amounts of heat. The R-value of each material is noted on the package during its manufacture.

Ways of insulation

The following are some of the best ways of insulating your home;

I. Blanket: Batt and roll insulation

Blanket is the most frequent insulation method. It utilizes materials such as natural and plastic fibers, mineral rock or fiberglass. Just as the name suggests, it consists of rolls and batts. Rolls are made of long, rolled-up strips of material and work best when casing a large open area while batts are cut into standard lengths and are more efficient in wrapping exteriors or interiors of walls. Fiberglass is the commonly used material due to its easy nature of installation; it can be done without the necessity of hiring a professional. The fiberglass is integrated in between beams, joists and studs. On the other hand, plastic and natural fibers are placed in floors or ceilings and have an easy installation procedure that saves on costs. They tend to be relatively cheap since they are mostly made of recycled material.

II. Concrete block and foam insulation

During building, a poor heat conductor is incorporated into concrete to add insulating properties to the walls. These materials are placed either on the exterior or interior of the walls to limit heat conduction. Materials such as form boards are placed inside or outside walls. They are also placed in unfinished walls or foundations to increase their R-value. In spite of their effectiveness in insulation, they do require specialized expertise to do the installation. Other materials such as concrete block are also used for new constructions and are done by insulating the outside of concrete blocks with an insulator that tends to control indoor temperatures. They are then dry stacked and surface bonded during building resulting in a high thermal resistant walls. Sometimes, beads or air particles are incorporated into the concrete mix used in making walls to increase its ability to resist heat conduction.
Concrete foam insulation is also an effective insulation method that involves installation of foam boards or blocks as part of structure of the building by interlocking hollow foam blocks. These materials are effective insulators due to their high warm air endurance

III. Blow-in or loose-fill

This type of insulation consists of materials loose enough to be blown into a wall cavity or hidden positions such as corners and edges using a blowing machine. These materials include loose cellulose, fibreglass which are generally cheap, easy to install and can easily be blown into position by drilling of holes into exterior of houses. They are mostly used in wall cavities, attic floors and other hard to reach areas such as non-conforming spaces and around framing. They are appropriate in insulating areas with obstructions or irregular shapes as well as already finished areas.

IV. Reflective systems

This type of insulation has a facing made of foil or Kraft attached to it for vapor and moisture control. The foils are incorporated between wooden frames, joints and even beams giving them the ability to reflect heat from the outside; which in turn reduces costs associated with cooling. Reflective systems can also be made of materials such as plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard. These materials are relatively cheap and help conserve energy. They are easy to install and don’t require specialized expertise and can be fitted in floors, ceilings or even unfinished walls. They are very applicable in areas with several blockades and crooked framing due to their high dynamism. They are mostly used to prevent vertical flow of heat such as roofs.

V. Sprayed foam

This type of insulation utilizes materials such as polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, cementitious phenolic to impede the transfer of either heat or cold. Spray foams are majorly of two types.The two-pound closed-cell foam inhibits the transfer of both air and vapor. It is usually applied on ceilings and roofs or in tight areas due to its high R-value. The half-pound open-cell foam is primarily installed in addition to the presence of a vapor inhibitor and usually used in vapor-free regions and walls. They are both effective in insulating irregularly shaped areas that may have several barriers. They are applied using specialized spray containers which then harden and take the shape of the cavity forming a barrier that inhibits moisture.

VI. Structural insulated panels (SIPs)

SIPs are made up of materials such as straws, form boards or liquid forms. Incorporation of these materials is done by fitting them together to form the floors, walls ceilings, and roofs of a house. They are more energy efficient in that, they are very good insulators that also offer noise proof abilities to a house. SIPs when used to build a house therefore offer the ability to build and insulate at the same time. They have high R-values enabling them be an ideal home insulators. Building of houses using SIPs takes a shorter time since the construction involves fitting together of pre-manufactured panels that make the walls and roofs of a house. Houses made with SIPs have been known to offer the highest insulation properties.

VII. Rigid foam and rigid fiber board

The rigid fiber board uses materials such as fiberglass or mineral wool to offer insulation properties. These materials are able to withstand very temperatures making them applicable in insulating very hot surfaces. The rigid foam board method uses materials such as polystyrene, polyisocyanurate and polyuthane that are installed in walls, floors, ceilings and roofs. They are thin but offer have very effective insulation properties. They lower conduction of heat due to their high thermal resistance ability

Large Storage Heater

Consideration For Using Storage Heaters

Storage heaters, as the name suggest store or keep heat. Good storage heaters are designed to consume cheap off peak or direct electricity for maximum output.
Among other models, the following are some types of storage heaters designed for comfort and optimum efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Combination model
  • Automatic model
  • Smart fun assisted model
  • Manual control model

Before deciding on any of the above types of storage heaters, the following specific heater considerations have to be taken into account.

I. Safety Features

Minimum safety required standards should be taken into consideration before installing a storage home heater. The following are some of the safety concerns;

  • Exposed surfaces; should be cool to touch and free from any acute shocks
  • Safety cut off switch; to stop current flow in case of any emergency
  • Air inlets and outlets; ventilation is important for cooling. This prevents energy loss due to overheating.
  • It should also be free of open flames and exposed heating elements to prevent accidental fires and burns.
  • Should conform to low voltage directive (LVD). should draw less amount of current so as not to overload the electrical circuit systems
  • Should be Eco-friendly by not emitting unsafe exhaust gases e.g. carbon monoxide and smells

At any time, even under a vacated premise, it should not expose your property to damages by leaks from radiators

II. Energy Saving Features

High cost of fuel, climate change and supply shortages are some of the important reasons for energy conservation. To aid this, a good storage heater should have well installed features for energy conservation. These include;
i. Panel heaters; Panel heaters offer a variety of options in relation to energy saving as below;

  • Run back timers; after a specified time duration, the run back timer switches off the heater automatically.
  • 24 hours timer; allows planned (advance) heating since it controls when the heater will be switched on or off
  • Accurate thermostats;controls overheating or under heating by ensuring the room temperatures do not vary/fluctuate
  • Half heat switches; reduces watts used if heater output is more than required.

ii. Heater Controls; Examples include; Plug in Modules, Individual Heater Controls or Central Programmers. They improve on efficiency of the storage heater.
The Automatic Input Control controls the amount of heat the heater stores depending on the weather.

iii. Duo heat radiators; by using off peak and direct source of electricity, they enable 24 hours provision of heat. The heater should be able to automatically adjust to desired heat proportions for comfort-ability. Check out this video for a little advice on how to get the most out of your storage heater:

III. Maintenance

For safety and efficiency, some storage heaters require regular maintenance. To avoid damages to heater cords, Servicing should be done by only qualified personnel.
Before deciding this type of storage heater, get information on how frequently it will be serviced and if there is any fee attached to that. If it needs frequent servicing, consider other better options.
Also get to know the type of servicing whether it will involve changing parts or just simple routine maintenance. A good storage heater requires very minimal or no maintenance.

IV. Positioning

For effectiveness, safety, efficiency and optimal results, heaters should be strategically installed with the following taken into consideration;

  • Human traffic; as a safety measure, heaters should be installed in arrears or sections of the house free from human traffic. This will prevent burns and trip hazards from heater cords.
  • Visible cords; heater cords should not be passed under carpets or anywhere not visible as they might unknowingly undergo wear and tear.
  • Away from easily combustible material e.g. paper bins, curtains, desks among others to prevent accidental fires
  • Balanced, optimal heating; should be orientated for maximum, better heat output results.

V. Cost and warranty

With many storage heaters in the market, consider the one most tailored to your needs in terms of optimum energy output and low costs (price and maintenance) Cut on installation costs by inquiring about after sale installation service and get assurance about the heater quality through warranty to cover on any inconvenience.

VI. Heating effectiveness

Optimal effectiveness depends on heater efficiency and size of the room among other factors. A large open space will require more powerful heaters compared to smaller enclosed rooms. For energy efficiency, a heater with correct capacity for a given room should be considered
Overheating heaters that exhibit more than 22c of temperature are never a good fit since a lot of energy is wasted. Consequently, consider heaters with automatic input controls, half heat switches and Run back timers for automatic energy regulations.

VII. Supervision

Some heaters require constant or frequent supervision due to their overheating nature or exposed flames e.g. small fun heaters. These kinds of heaters must be attended to when in operation and should not be preferred for home installations due to high risks associated with them.
Heaters with automatic cut outs on tipping, without exposed flames, cool to touch and free from faults should be preferred.

Value Vs Cost

How Much Does it Cost to Insulate your Home?

Warm air usually flows to a cooler place. During summer, it tends to flow from the outside hot environment into the house. On winter, it tends to flow from a warm in-house environment to the external colder environment. This process though easily prevented by insulation, comes at a cost.

Insulation, when done by yourself can be a simple home improvement process .i.e. batts insulation can be by nailing or stapling, foam panel insulation can be by simple cutting and fixing and reflective foil insulation can be installed by a staple gun. Although this is the case, it can sometimes turn messy and some insulation materials are not safe for handling. Therefore, it should be left to qualified, certified professionals.

According to statistics, an average home is about 2520 square feet with walls and ceiling for insulation. Depending on your budget, materials and other factors, the cost of insulation can vary as explained below;

  1. The Attic

According to experts, the cost of attic insulation ranges from $1.5 to $2.5 per square foot. (This can change by 100% if insulation is of blown type). Air sealing and Attic ventilation will have to be taken care of during this process at a cost of $45 to $55 per ventilating unit.

  1. Wall cavity insulation

Homes built in early years were constructed with two wall layers leaving a cavity between them. Cavity wall insulation is the filling of this gap to reduce condensation from external wall, enhance warmth and save energy.

To consider cavity wall insulation, your home should;

  • Have been built more than ten years ago and doesn’t have insulation. You can confirm this with the help of a registered installer. By drilling a small hole into your house wall (boroscope inspection), to confirm presence or absence of insulation material. Alternatively, confirm from the local authority building control department.
  • Have a wall cavity of more than 50mm
  • Not have walls exposed to driving rain and no leaks. If internal walls are found to be dump during the insulation process, registered damp prevention experts should be contacted to take care of the dampness problem first.
  • Have good brickwork.
  • Have easily accessible external walls. If they are joined to another house, a cavity barrier is inserted to protect from any effect.

The insulation material is then blown into the 50mm cavity from outside the house (through 22mm drilled holes) to fill every part of the wall. After filling, the drilled holes are professionally sealed, not to be noticed.

Cost of wall cavity insulation

The insulation material is mainly made from mineral wool, foamed insulants and beads all manufactured as per set standards and professionally certified. Before purchase, it is important to determine the thermal resistance or R-value that is to be achieved. The better the material is in insulation, the higher the thermal resistance (R-Value).

For wall cavity insulation, most professionals charge $2.50-$3.50 per square foot. This also varies from $ 1100-$3600 for a thousand square feet.

For Full home insulation, the cost depends on the material to be used, area climatic and the economic condition. It averages to about $2600-$5600.

It is important to note that, some companies encourage insulation by offering insulation rebates and discounts. Therefore, before purchase and installation of any insulation material, ensure you are informed about the local insulation services offered.

The following are annual estimates of savings that can be made with wall cavity insulation on a gas heated home. (They are not definite)

Type of building

Flat Bungalow Mid Terrace Semi Detached Detached
Annual savings £380 £100 £100 £150 £255
Installation costs £340 £440 £380 £485 £730
Saved carbon dioxide in a year 330kgs 430kgs 400kgs 700kgs 1140kgs
Payback period

Less than five year period

  1. Floor insulation

Floor insulation is the addition of insulation materials below floor boards to minimise loss of heat into the ground. Sometimes draughts come into the house through floorboards and insulation works to reduce this. According to research and statistics, 16% of heat loss is via the floor. Apart from new floor insulation, retrofitting can also be done.

Floor insulation can be done by yourself at home however it is advisable to involve a professional since some insulation materials e.g. glass wool are not safe when handled without protective clothing.

If rooms below are heated, it is not necessary to insulate floors on 2nd or 3rd floors.

Cost of Floor Insulation

A roll of floor insulation fibre 7 metres in length and 1m in width, costs Rising Cost of Home Insulation£15. For concrete floors, insulation boards 2.4 metre length and 1.2 metre width Cost approximately £20. These come in different sizes and thickness therefore offering different levels of desired insulation.

Floor insulation can also be done using butt materials. As represented in the table below, the cost of batt floor insulation depends on material cost, labour time and cost of materials.

Common Mid-Grade Batt Insulation Cost For 200 square feet $ 80.00 $90.00
Batt Insulation Labour 4.0 hours $105.00 $200.00
Cost of Materials and Supplies e.g. fasteners, sealing tape among others 190 square feet $20.00 $30.00
Installation Costs 190 square feet $195.00 $305.00

With the above information, average cost of batt insulation per square metre can easily be obtained.

  1. Warehouse insulation; Cost of materials

This depends on the size of the warehouse and the type of insulation material. The following is a rough estimate cost representation of quality materials for insulation.

Under-floor insulation materials; if the size is of 80 square metres, the estimated cost will be between $ 160 and $800. If it’s of 110 square metres, the cost will vary from $220 to $1100 and that of 130 square metres, the cost will be between $260 and $1300.

Ceiling insulation materials; for 80 square metres, the estimated cost will be between $400 and $1200. If it’s of 110 square metres, the cost will vary from $550 to $1550 and that of 130 square metres, the cost will be between $650 and $1850

Cost of warehouse insulation

The following is a rough estimate cost representation of quality insulation.

Under-floor insulation; for perfect insulation, charges vary from $18 to $20 per square metre. For fair or good insulation, one pays from $13 to $17 per square metre.

Ceiling insulation; charges vary from $10 to $20 per square metre depending on the grade. (Inclusive of materials and labour)

It is important to note that the costs and prices as explained above are not definite and can vary depending on place or locality. They should just act as a guideline.

Energy Saving Chart

Approximate Energy Savings From Insulating

In a commercial or typical home, maximum energy saving and efficiency has been established to be through insulation. According to research, laid down facts and statistics, it’s also the most cost effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
A typical home is assumed to have the following characteristics;

  • Batt insulation in walls and blown insulation on attics.
  • 15% window to floor ratio
  • 25% duct leakage to the outside
  • Approximately three bedrooms
  • Floor area of around 1500 square feet

Insulation RollsTo calculate the estimated energy saved by insulation, a typical home is taken into consideration plus the area construction style and the type of fuel i.e. natural gas or electricity among others.
The reason why it is considered important to know the approximate amount of energy saved by insulation is to make contractors or home owners;

  • Obtain best insulation materials at low costs and use them in improving the R-value.I.e. from R-0 to R-11 in floor space and rim jolts and to up to R-38 of attic depending on the location and geography.
  • Seal all air leaks and draughts. With major focus on the attic space, window and door spaces
  • Compare available insulation material and put into use the most convenient in terms of saving energy. Also use recommended building materials e.g. storm windows (if living next to water body) instead of clear glass pane windows in air leaks reduction efforts
  • Employ use of other energy conservation techniques i.e. using improved heating equipment as an additional effort of energy conservation.

When doing insulation, slag wool, rock wool or fiber glass are materials greatly recommended due to their energy conservation and efficiency features. This is attributed to the fact that they do not consume energy (unless during their production) to save energy. Other insulation materials that work by reduced amount of energy consumed do not offer instantaneous energy conservation on installation unlike slag wool, fiber glass and rock wool materials.
Also, they (slag wool, rock wool or fiber glass) last for a very long time and unless damaged which doesn’t occur often, they don’t require further maintenance. Consequently, they are reusable as can be removed and restored back
Consider the following tabular representation of approximate amount of energy (in percentages) that can be saved by insulating using Fiber glass, rock wool or slag wool materials:

According to research and statistics, up to 23% of energy can be saved via heating and cooling, this translates to approximately 21% of saved utility bill. Consequently, if insulation of the floors, walls and attic space is taken into consideration, up to 15% of energy will be saved translating to approximately 12% of saved utility bill.
More than half of consumed energy in homes is attributed to heating and cooling. Actually 51 % of family utility bills are for comfortable home temperatures. The equipment that provides cooling and heating emit roughly more than 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide gas, a gas not environmental friendly and around 15% of nitrogen oxide which is a very active component in the formation of acidic rain.
Taking carbon dioxide gas, 790 million tonnes is emitted each year from non-insulated homes this equals over 155 coal fire power plants.In terms of electricity consumption, it averages 90 million homes for an approximate duration of 1 year.
In the oil and energy sector, 790 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equals an output of 1.755 billion oil barrels an energy equivalent of 6.5 barrels of oil per individual in American population.
The following are additional facts in relation to insulation, energy saving and conservation;
Taking into consideration the British Thermal Unit (BTU) which equals 1055 joules of energy, each year, twelve BTUs (12*1055 joules of energy) are saved in insulation for each BTU used in the production of the insulation material.
The recommended insulation material according to statistics, saves the consumer around 15 quadrillion British Thermal Units translating to approximately 45% of energy which would have otherwise been consumed had there been no insulation. Taking individual statistics, this translates to;

  • Approximately eight oil barrels per person per year (forty million BTUs) and
  • Approximately thirty oil barrels saved by each family of four in a year

Even by combining all other energy saving forms e.g. use of fluorescent lights (CFLs), energy star windows and other appliances, insulation still saves 650 times more.
Lastly, for each pound of carbon dioxide gas emitted in the production of the insulation material, up to 350 pounds is saved when the insulation material is used.
Consider insulating with the recommended material to save more energy. Additionally, Practice other energy saving options e.g. thermostat management, weatherization, equipment maintenance and regular upgrades for reduced energy bills and emissions.


Door Insulation Tape

Options For Insulating Your Home

Most traditional forms of insulation are of low R-value meaning they have low insulating qualities. Consequently, they are relatively cheap and not friendly to the environment. This gives newer alternative forms of insulation an upper hand when considering the type of insulation to choose from.
Alternative insulation forms may be a bit costly compared to traditional insulation methods but the guaranteed safety, increased savings on bills and easy installation make them better options to consider when doing insulation for your home. Most of them are recyclable and from renewable sources. Some of these options are explained below.

I. Cotton Insulation

Cotton insulation is manufactured from textile plants and old clothing after being turned to denim. It offers a good alternative and provides thickened insulation. Despite the fact that its initial costs are high, it is very efficient, safe (no chemicals or respiratory irritants) and protects the environment since unused denim materials could have as well ended in landfills.
To make it non-flammable, an anti-fungal agent and pest repellent, cotton insulation is treated with boric acid which is relatively non-toxic.

II. Cotton BattsInsulation

Cotton Batts use more than 90 percent of recycled material that could have instead been disposed in landfills. It has an R-value of around 3.4 per inch and it’s usually preferred because it’s easy to install.At the end of its life, cotton can easily be recycled.
Its insulation qualities makes it a worth investment despite the fact that it’s costly and made from cotton which is a chemical intensive crop.

III. Cellulose Insulation

Manufactured from non-toxic newspapers and card boards duly treated and recycled. it is relatively cheap compared to cotton and is a very efficient insulation material, initially, cellulose insulation could develop mold but advanced techniques and use of non-toxic chemicals has ensured protection from mold and critters and has also been made more flame resistant.
Application can sometimes be through spraying into wall cavities or shredded dry for attic insulation.Treatment with boric acid like in cotton makes it an anti-fungal agent and a pest repellent.
Despite the fact that it is Eco-friendly, allergic or chemically sensitive individuals can be affected by the newsprint ink. Also, it tends to absorb moisture which sometimes doesn’t dry up leading to mold growth and leaching out of boric acid.

IV. Wool Insulation

Sheep wool, a very efficient insulation material has readily been embraced. Most people consider it a better insulation material because of its fibers, tightly packed to trap air and create air pockets. Consequently, wool has the ability to release moisture and resist fire thus very safe for home insulation. Apart from sheep wool, any material made from wool can also be used for insulation. Wool, being a natural material is very safe insulation material.

V. Soy Based Spray Insulation

Some people consider Soy Based Spray Insulation as the best form of insulation since it covers and fills the tiniest of cracks. This type of insulation works like traditional foam spray insulation. On spraying, it expands, fills every small crack and ensures maximum insulation coverage. It is not flammable, it resists mold and moisture and very safe insulation material to use.
Soy based insulation is biodegradable thus environmental friendly. It safely decomposes making it easy to replace later without landfills.

VI. Fiberglass Insulation

Also regarded as the pink stuff, Its one of the commonest insulation materials made of glass fibers which break of easily and when inhaled cause lung complications. It contains phenol-formaldehyde substance which could initially cause cancer to living tissues but present developments have eliminated the use of phenol-formaldehyde as a binder and increased its recycled glass content to 40 %
Fiberglass loses its R-value at very low temperatures below negative 25 degree Celsius.

VII. Foam Insulation

Form insulation is a liquid applied on new walls by spraying, pouring or blowing. On application, it expands to fill all cavities and nooks. This makes it the best material to stop air leaks and to be used in foundations or where other insulation materials have failed. Before use, always consult a professional since other types of foam are only good for retrofitting.
Initially, foam was not all natural due to the presence of polyurethane substance and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that threatened the ozone layer but due to innovation and technology, more Eco- friendly foam manufactured from vegetables and other recycled content and which uses oil from corn fructose and soy is currently in the market. During application, vegetable-based form is blown with materials, which do not damage the ozone layer i.e. Hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) or carbon dioxide and water. Foam is a very good insulator with an R-value of up to 7 per inch.
For the first two years, the gases in foam block airflow making it to hold its R-value. As time goes by, the gases begin to escape leading to a reduced R-value this can be prevented by use of a foil radiant barrier.
Other types of foam insulation include;
Polyiso Foam Insulation; this type of insulation is suitable for walls and roofs. Most people prefer it because of its durability and high R-value of up to seven per inch. Instead of HCFCs that was used initially in production, new versions are made from hydrocarbons.
Although costly, its durability makes it a worthy insulation material to consider. Before installation, always seek professional guidance
Cementitious Foam Insulation: Cementitious Foam is manufactured from magnesium oxide usually obtained from seawater. It has a not very high R-value of 3.9 per inch and doesn’t emit any toxic substances nor even shrink on installation. It is preferred because it is a very safe substance, non-flammable, durable and also recyclable.Its only setback is its high cost and easy crumbling that cause dust on installation.
Spray Foam Insulation; when spray foam insulation is considered, it exhibits an R-value of 5.9 per inch and doesn’t sag. Consequently it dries up becoming inert and preventing seepage. For long term insulation, it’s highly desirable because of its durability nature.
Sometimes when spraying, out gassing may occur. It’s therefore advised to seek guidance and professional help before installation.
Polyisocyanurate Foam Insulation; this type of foam insulation is recommended for exterior retrofitting on roofs. It has an R-value of around 7.5 per inch and employs the use of hydrocarbons that do not release greenhouse gases. It’s also called “Polyiso.”



How To Choose A Heater For Your Conservatory

When heating your conservatory, there are two heating categories to consider;

  • Electric conservatory heating; which comes with high running costs but ensures cleanliness even without ventilation and quick temperature adjustment
  • Gas conservatory heating; which has low running costs but needs ventilation

Heaters can either be fixed (designed for dwarf wall mounting) or standard (portable e.g. panel, convection and radiant types)
Examples of conservatory heaters include; Igenix IG9200 2kw low level panel heat, Ambientair 2kw thermostatic convector panel heater, Dimplex PLX3000tTI 3kw thermostatic convector panel heater, Consort Claudgen Chelsea WMH3.
The conservatory heaters work by;

  • Radiation (radiating heat with the help of a reflective glass)
  • Convection (providing heat by producing hot air currents that fill the room or through thermal conduction)
  • Fan(an electric fan forces warm air into the cold room)
  • Heat pumps (an electric compressor extracts heat from outdoor air raises its temperature then pumps it back to the cold building)
  • Storage (storing heat in clay, water or bricks to release it later)
  • Heat exchange(radiator passes heat through a conductor)

People have different reasons for regulating conservatory temperatures. The following are some of the reasons;

  • To maintain plants (if any) that cannot withstand very high or low temperatures
  • To use it throughout the day therefore important to maintain its temperature at a favorable constant level
  • To use it as a meals room, therefore keeping it warm becomes necessary

Before deciding on the type of heater to use, ensure your conservatory is well conditioned. An air conditioning unit can be used since it can again act as a heater though not sufficiently especially during winter. Air circulation should also be enhanced via the use of roof vents ceiling fans and well placed windows
With the help of a conservatory designer, the level of heating will be determined by measuring the internal volume of the conservatory, expected heat loss via dwarf walls and glazing while taking into consideration the direction which the conservatory is facing.
The following are some factors to consider when choosing a heater for your conservatory

I. Cost of the heater

What is your budget? Is the price affordable? Is the price VAT inclusive?Are there after sale services e.g. delivery and installation to cut on additional costs? These are some of the important questions that may influence the type of heater to purchase.

II. Ionization filtration

This is an advanced feature in heaters that enable it to not only give warm air but also fresh clean air. Most of them also have compressors controlled by inverters that enable them to obtain the highest level of energy efficiency when heating or cooling.

III. Remote control enabled

This gives you the power of control from wherever you are at the touch of a button. Some remote controllers have a ‘dehumidify option’ that allows removal of excess moisture from the air. With the dehumidifier, condensation on glass can easily be controlled from your relaxed position.
Consequently, through remote control, conservatory heater can be set to ‘fan only mode’. This ensures fresh and pleasant air movement throughout the conservatory.

IV. Coefficient of performance (COP)

Coefficient of performance allows heaters to quickly and easily balance the cold and warm air output. Almost immediately on switching on, a noticeable difference should be felt. Good heaters have a coefficient of performance of around four. I.e. whatever the input, the output should be four times more.

V. Space Utilization

As an investment, another important factor to consider before purchase and installation of conservatory heater is the amount of space it will take. This is solely for convenience purposes.
A spacious conservatory is more comfortable to be in as it offers sufficient room for movement. If your conservatory is small, you don’t want the remaining space to be ‘consumed’ further by the heater.

VI. Type of heating

Different types of conservatory heating include;

  • Electric panel heating; are cost friendly, easy to install and heat up quickly. The only downside is that they have high running costs.
  • Under floor heating; with this method of heating, pipes are run underneath floor tiles. Even though they are costly in terms of purchase and installation, they don’t take up conservatory space, require low running costs and a very comfortable way of keeping a room warm
  • Oil filled radiator heating; are very cheap to obtain although heavy to move
  • Night storage heating; though expensive to install and difficult to regulate, they are fairly cheap and economical.
  • Central heating; this system is cheap to run and of high efficiency although it has higher installation costs.
  • Tubular heating; usually used outside rooms to prevent temperatures going below zero for survival of plants and other items. It’s only used for frost protection and is tailored for damper conditions e.g. garden shed and glass house, it’s also not very costly.
  • Gas fire heating; depending on the conservatory design, butane or propane gas heater can be used. It is portable and requires no installation costs. Its downside is that it can cause condensation, sometimes produces some funny smell and although portable, it’s heavy and bulky.
  • Heat pumps; are of two types; air source and ground source. Though expensive, they require low running costs and can be used as a means of cooling.
  • Fan heating; fairly noisy with irritating airflow and high running costs but portable

The heating method desired will influence the type of heater to be purchased. Whichever it is, it should be cost effective, efficient and tailored to suit personal needs.
Other factors include;

VII. Running or operational costs

Goodconservatory heaters should be tailored to suit your needs in a comfortable way. Their running costs should suit your budget.

VIII. Environmental effects

Some heaters produce noise and irritating airflow heaters. Gas heaters also produce some funny smell due to burning of butane or propane. Continuous inhalation of these gases may cause healthy concerns in the long run. Also, they create a not very comfortable conservatory environment.
In most cases, the higher the price of the heater, the lower the running cost. Conversely, the lower the price the higher the running cost. Therefore proper consideration on other factors (as explained above) apart from purchase price and running cost should be taken into consideration before purchase.




Insulation Rolls

Best Materials For Insulating Your Home

Insulation is a very important process of heat flow regulation. Good insulation materials provide comfort due to their ability to keep homes cool in summer and warm in winter. Through little or no emission of greenhouse gases.
The following are considered the best insulation materials.

I. Aerogel

The process of manufacturing aerogel is called supercritical drying through which ethanol is vented. Other materials required include; aqueous ammonia and silica solution.
Only 20mm of Aerogel achieves better insulation compared to other materials. On park homes, it is used to insulate external walls and their insides.
Although an expensive material, it is most effective for those ‘hard to heat homes’ and provides the best alternative where floor reduction space is an issue.

II. Mineral Wool

Two types of mineral wool manufactured are;

  • Rock wool; manufactured from natural rock where limestone is heated at high temperatures of 1500c then spinning is done to turn them into fibers. The fibers are then passed through air which makes them finer.
  • Slag wool; manufactured from the waste products of iron ore. It contains 75% of waste material and 25% of ballast.

Slag wool, though it causes irritation when handled, is very efficient and totals more than 80% of mineral wool produced. It is used for cavity wall insulation where mineral wool fibers are blown into wall cavities via a special hose pipe.

III. Cork

For best insulation on flat roofs and floors, consider the use of Cork. It is sound proof, a good insulator and keeps its original shape when trodden on. It is also soft with suberin (natural wax), impermeable to liquids, fire resistant, termite resistant and very light in weight.
Cork is produced from the outer bark of cork oak tree mostly found in the Mediterranean. After striping, the back takes eight to thirteen years to regrow. When large sections of the bark are punched, they manufacture bottle corks. For floor and wall tiles, they have to undergo baking and compression.

IV. Form

Form is the easiest insulation material to use since it is only glued to the wall like wallpaper and painted over. It also helps to hold together crumbling brick walls.
Urea Formaldehyde, usually confused with Form is a different kind of form piped into wall cavities and when drying it emits a product called Formaldehyde.
For internal wall insulation, dense latex form with fiber glass face is used

V. Flax

Flax has both temperature and moisture regulating qualities. It can absorb moisture when humidity is high and release it when humidity is low. The fibers of the stem of flax plant are extracted and used in the manufacture of flax insulator. It is very natural due to the fact that binding is by potato starch.
The most common brand is Isovlas, it is very secure thus can be handled without gloves and is delivered in slabs.

VI. Glass Wool

Knauf loft insulation/space blanket (0.035u) is an example of glass wool insulator. When manufacturing, fibers are obtained from super-heated sand and recycled glass. During this process, ‘not so safe’emissions are produced
When glass wool is burnt, it produces toxic smoke. Always handle it with gloves to prevent irritation.
When dry, glass wool is a very efficient type of insulator.

VII. Foil Quilt

For attic or loft conversions and roof rafters, foil quilt is the best insulation material. Numerous tough aluminium foil layers are sealed in quilt and delivered in 38mm thick rolls. The rolls are easy to cut and very safe to handle. Foil quilt is a relatively new insulating material.

VIII. Cotton

Cotton for insulation comes in different brands. Isonat brand contains recycled cotton, hemp and polyester matting in a mixture of 42.5%, 42.5% and 15% respectively. When manufacturing ‘Polyester Matting’ is used as a thermoplastic binder and ‘hemp’ acts as a bulking fibre. For control of pests and combustion, borate is added.
Cotton, a non-allergenic material, absorbs and releases moisture and provides quality comfort.

IX. Paper

With little energy, Newspaper is recycled then shredded to form cellulose loft insulation material. This material is very safe when handling.
Although paper could produce some smell, release ink and lose its fire retardation qualities when soaked, it is non-toxic, does not rot, does not attract vermin and has no negative effects on PVC used to cover electrical wires.
When recycled jute sacking material is added, board form is produced. It is treated with Borax to make it resistant to rot and fire. Examples of board brands include; Homatherm Board and Warmcel Board.

X. Perlite beads

Perlite is poured into wall cavities during wall construction. It is very light in weight and with numerous small air cells, it can penetrate through crevices, cracks and nooks to provide a perfect wall cover.
Perlite, when subjected to high temperatures of 900c, expands up to sixteen times of its original size.

XI. Polystyrene

Example of polystyrene brand includes kingspanKooltherm k7 and XtrathermEstra Performance.
During its manufacture, pentane gas which forms smog is released. Polystyrene unlike other form blocks is not manufactured from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or Hydrochloro-fluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Polystyrene blocks can be reused or remoulded. Where machinery access is difficult in walls, polystyrene beads are encouraged. Beads are resistant to moisture, compression pressure and moisture.
When polystyrene is burnt, it emits toxic fumes.

XII. Wood

Wood produces sawdust and shavings important for loft insulation. Compressed waste from wood mills is used in the manufacture of boards important for wall and floor insulation.

XIII. Straw

A very cheap form of insulation since it is natural. Can be used for roofing (thatching) or walls (through straw bale construction).
When straws are used, measures need to be taken to prevent intrusion by moisture, insects and decay. They are good replacements for timber and other costly materials.
Under compression, straw produces resin which binds it together. It is provided in slabs and bales which can be used for wall partitions, and insulation.

XIV. Sheep wool

Brands include; ThermaFleece (with 50/75/100mm thickness)
A good condenser since it can absorb moisture up to 40% of its dry weight. During summer time, sheep wool reduces temperatures up to 7% unlike other forms of insulation.
Quassi Chips of Unscoured Fleece are used in walls to prevent moths thus making it lifelong.
Sheep wool is provided in slabs from fleece offcuts.

XV. Hemp

Apart from it being used as a thermoplastic binder in cotton, hemp, on its own, can act as an insulator. During manufacturing, hemp does not pollute the environment and is provided in slabs. Examples include Thermo hemp and Hemcrete. Hemcrete is a thermally efficient building block.
Hemp is fire resistant due to Sodium Bicarbonate product added to it, offers good resistance to bugs and moulds and provides perfect moisture regulating qualities. It is also good for sound proofing

Recycled Insulation Materials

Recycled Materials For Insulation

In the current world, greater effects of pollution and environmental degradation have contributed to increased levels of environmental health hazards, inefficiencies and increased costs of energy and fuel. To curb these negative effects from soaring higher, measures have been put in place to ensure working towards the building of a ‘green’ and sustainable environment. In the insulation industry, that measure is the optimal use of materials that can be recycled in the manufacture of quality insulators.
Examples of recycled materials for insulation include;

I. Cellulose Insulation

Recycled from old newspapers, cellulose is the considered to be among the most successful insulation materials to be produced. More than 85% of cellulose is from recycled material making it sustainable and very eco-friendly.
Cellulose provides resistance to fire, moisture and vermin. It also provides good sound insulation, not forgetting its efficient and perfect thermal properties.

II. Mineral Fiber Insulation

Rock Wool and Slag Wool are blended to form Mineral Fiber Insulation. In Mineral Fiber Insulation Material, Slag wool is used in a larger percentage and is a by-product of Coke and Iron. Had it not been for recycling, Slag wool would have been disposed thereby increasing land fill problems. In recent years, more than ten billion pounds of Slag wool has been recycled in the manufacture of Mineral Fiber Insulation.
Mineral Wool is mostly used in commercial buildings and for industrial applications. It provides sound insulation, its non-combustible, easy to cut and shape and resistant to corrosion. Mineral wool is also resistant to fungi and mold.

III. Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is a Glass-Reinforced Plastic (GRP). Fiberglass Insulation also called glass wool is manufactured fromrecycled scrap glass from scrape bottles. In the last ten years, according to research and statistics, almost ten billion pounds of scrape bottles (which is approximately 45% of total raw material) have undergone recycling to form fiberglass insulation boards.
Scrape bottle dumping has been greatly reduced due to recycling techniques employed in the manufacture of Fiberglass Insulation and this has greatly reduced the initially high levels of Environmental hazards in landfills.
During its manufacture, scrape glass is shredded then slur made by mixing it with water. The mixture is then passed in the ‘head box’ for draining and mixing with other chemicals for binding. It is then pressed and dried for the final quality product.
Fiberglass conserves up to 12 times the amount of energy used in its production when in thermal insulation. It also reduces energy costs up to 40%.
Fiberglass is also employed in the manufacture of automobile and aircraft bodies to slow down the spread of heat and sound to other parts/structures. It is also fire resistant.

IV. Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling Tiles are manufactured from scrap fiberglass. Instead of burying the material in a landfill, it is therefore put to a better use.
Statistics indicate that, in one manufacturing company, more than twelve million pounds of scrape fiberglass has undergone recycling to manufacture ceiling tiles. As a result, this quantity has made a significant impact in the reduction of carbon dioxide gas emission by 12 million kilograms. Additionally, landfill waste has been reduced by 25 million pounds, 13 million gallons of water conserved, more than 240 million of virgin raw materials saved and approximately 35 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity consumption saved. These statistics should inspire other companies into recycling so as to maintain a better, eco-friendly environment.
Ceiling tiles are tailored to customer budgets, are resistant to fire, mold and mildew and also have sound absorption properties.

V. Structural Building Blocks for Insulation

The best example of this type of building block is insulated concrete forms (ICFs) made from polystyrene (a consumer plastic form) and cement. Polystyrene takes a high percentage in this process thereby increasing the wall R-value to approximately 1.73 per inch.
A lot of tonnage of plastic form material has undergone recycling reducing the negative effects they could have had on the environment.
The following are some advantages of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs);

  • Sustainability; are long lasting and material used can be recycled for better new quality products.
  • Security; offers resistance to fire, earthquakes and deadly wind.
  • Energy saving; possesses superior thermal properties.
  • Health; do not emit harmful gases or fumes are also safe to handle
  • Cost; Insulated Concrete Forms are affordable.
  • Labor; low impact labor since they are light in weight.
  • Resistance; to mold, mildew and fire.

VI. Recycled Denim

Another name for Recycled Denim is Natural Cotton Fiber. It is manufactured from waste cloth clippings of Denim and is commonly used in residential and commercial properties. It fits to roles of Mineral Wool and Fiber Glass i.e. used on ceiling joists, roof rafters among others.
Compared to other insulation materials, Recycled Denim offers the following benefits:

  • Environmental friendly; recycled materials which could have otherwise been disposed to landfills are used. More than 200 tons of waste materials are recycled every month in one company alone to produce Cotton Fiber.
  • Energy consumption; manufacture of Recycled Denim takes low energy compared to the other materials e.g. Fiberglass
  • Health; very safe with no skin irritation and no respiratory tract irritation,
  • Safety; fire resistant, doesn’t spread fire and not readily flammable. No carcinogens and doesn’t contain any toxic material.
  • Interior Air Quality and Acoustics; Natural Cotton Fiber/Recycled Denim contains neither Formaldehyde nor organic compounds.Because of this; it provides better indoor air quality.Its indoor acoustics is rated to be more than 30% higher to those of other insulation materials. This ensures a peaceful, comfortable, and quiet interior.
  • Thermal Performance; Recycled Denim provides excellent thermal performance with low energy and high HVAC
  • It is Sustainable; since more than 80% of the material used in its manufacturing is recyclable.
  • Safety; fire resistant, doesn’t spread fire and not readily flammable. No carcinogens and not a toxic material.

With the rising effects of global warming (which is as a result of emission of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere), the rising costs of oil and fuel and an environment that is constantly undergoing degradation, recycling of material becomes the only cost effective way of saving on energy and maintaining an eco-friendly environment. LET US EMBRACE IT.

Check out this video for a great green idea for using recycled materials for insulation:

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