Insulation… Wall and ceiling or just Ceiling… It’s one of those things that you never see working for you, but we just assume that it works. The truth is, if it hasn’t been installed well, it won’t be working as well as it could be. With a high-temperature differential between inside and outside or inside and your roof/loft area, 5% gaps in your insulation, can reduce the overall R-value performance of your insulation by %30 and 10% would induce a %50 reduction.
So, R 3.5 in Melbourne could perform like an R 2.45 insulation installation. Click here to understand what R-value, different materials have.
Table of minimum, required to satisfy R-values for construction assemblies. Ceiling and walls from the NCC 2016
|Capital City||Sydney East||Sydney West||Canberra||Melbourne||Brisbane||Adelaide||Perth||Hobart||Darwin|
|Ceiling Material R-Value||R 4.1 - 4.6||R 4.6 - 5.1||R 4.6 - 5.1||R 4.6 - 5.1||R 4.1 - 5.1||R 4.1 - 4.6||R 4.1 - 4.6||R 4.6 - 5.1||R 3.1 - 5.1|
|Wall Material R-Value||R 2.4||R 2.8||R 2.8||R 2.8||R 2.4||R 2.4||R 2.4||R 2.8||R 2.4|
The first thing you can try, if it’s comfortable and safe, is put a sufficient respiratory mask on, some protective glasses and some gloves, and have a quick look through your manhole using a torch to see any potential obvious breaks/gaps in your ceiling insulation. Don’t do this on a hot summers day.
The great thing about insulation issues is that it can be cheap to fix, and you may be able to fix it yourself. There are some tools you can get to make the troubleshooting more thorough and easier to do.
- Temperature Laser pointer (Good)
- Thermal imaging camera (Best) Contact us for a consultation
If you can’t get a hold of one of these tools, use the back of your palm to feel for temperature differences. Comparing a known well-insulated part of your ceiling or wall to an unknown or suspect area inside the building.
To find insulation holes, it will help to have a 10-degree temperature difference between inside and outside especially if you are using a low res camera. If it’s summer, it comes in handy to have a cooling source and in winter a heating source to achieve that 10 degrees Temperature difference. When it is hot outside, you will be feeling for hot surfaces, and vice versa when it is cold outside. You want to feel the temperature oozing/radiating into your comfortable home.
Key areas to feel with the back of your hand to check insulation is in contact with the plaster:
- Under roof ridges at the corners of the building
- Around LED recessed lighting
- Incandescent recessed lighting (Not much can be done to fix these unless the fitting is changed)
- Around skylights Click here for information on this.
- Around ceiling registers for evaporative cooling or ducted heating
- Manhole hatches
- Above doors and under windows
- Behind the cornice, where the wall plaster meets the ceiling plaster around the whole perimeter of the building. This narrow area is typically exposed and uninsulated.
It’s important that the insulation is actually in contact with plaster because if air can move under the insulation, it shall not work as efficiently.
- Under roof ridges, where access is limited, foam-a-fill or expand-a-foam can be used. Drill out a small hole inside into the plaster in the corner, and pump a whole can into the area. It’s useful to have a thermal imaging camera, handy for this work.
- With LED lighting, use a combination of IC rated LED luminaires and our downlight covers. Be careful of Halogen lighting! These ‘CANNOT’ be covered with insulation, under any circumstances.
- For replacing old incandescent/halogen recessed lighting so that the luminaire can be covered, click here.
- Install insulating foam board around skylight walls, using an adhesive.
- Buy a bag of insulation to fill in areas that do not have insulation, cut out a square piece of insulation that will cover the manhole hatch. Use Foam-a-fill, only in small spots. For example, don’t try and insulate a whole wall. The pressure from the foam can push out plaster, and it would be impossible to run any services up through that wall again.
- Push back tiles to fix perimeter insulation problems. Jam insulation in there or use spray foam, where wall plaster meets ceiling plaster.
Alway work safely, and call a trade in to assist, if you are unsure about anything. Perfection is key…