By installing ceiling insulation in your home you are joining thousands of like-minded homeowners who enjoy the comforts of a warm home in winter and a cool home in summer. Ceiling insulation is quite simply the most effective and economical means to improve the living conditions of your home all year round. In residential buildings typical 40% of all energy consumption is for space heating and cooling, yet that energy you are paying for is literally leaking out of your home, especially through the ceiling. By using thermal insulation homeowners are reducing the consumption of fossil fuels that would have been used to produce electricity thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Benefits of Fitting Ceiling Insulation
- Glass wool fiber ceiling insulation is non-combustible and can be used without restriction in any insulation application. It is most commonly used in the ceiling however it can be used within partitioned walls as a cavity wall fill.
- It has made improvements of up to 6 degrees Celsius in some case studies.
- Ceiling insulation will pay for itself in less than 3 years from day it was installed, through the savings made in the homeowners electricity bill. The passive savings thereafter are pure profit and you continue to receive lifelong energy savings.
- Besides the amazing thermal properties offered by ceiling insulation, it has very good noise dampening properties for the home or office. It will improve the acoustic properties of your home.
- The material provides no sustenance for vermin and is mold and corrosion resistant.
- The material does not contain any asbestos, is non-toxic and carries no health hazards.
- An accredited installation contractor team can install the ceiling insulation in a mere 3 hours for the average sized home. If you prefer to tackle the job yourself as I had done, it can take a weekend.
Value for Money, Reduce Electricity Costs!
Ceiling insulation can cut down on your electricity bill year round, not just in winter. The largest proportion of heat loss is through your homes ceilings due to the natural phenomena that heat rises. By installing ceiling insulation you can reduce the heat loss through your ceiling by up to 35%. That energy saving instantly means that you need to spend less money on your electricity bill to keep your home comfortably warm in winter and cool in summer. By installing ceiling insulation to your home it is possible to save up 20% off of your annual heating and cooling electricity bill.
What is Ceiling Insulation and How Does it Work?
In all homes across the country, the physics of heat transfer are continuously in motion to find a thermal equilibrium. Heat transfer always occurs from a region of high temperature to another region of lower temperature. In your home the two main mechanisms of heat transfer are conduction and convection. In winter, the warm heat inside your home is moving directly from all uninsulated areas to the outdoors. During summer, the opposite effect happens, the heat transfer is from outside to the inside of your house which you are trying to keep cool. To create a comfortable environment in your home the heat that is lost through heat transfer in winter needs to be replaced by an indoor heating system and the heat gained in summer needs to be removed by an air conditioning unit.
Insulating the ceiling, wall and floors of your home retards the natural heat transfer. Insulation works by limiting air movement. The still air is a very effective insulator because it reduces convection and has very low conduction properties. The insulation reduces heat transfer by as much as 87%. It is important to keep the glass wool very dry as water in the fibers will reduce the effectiveness of the product. Glass wool fibers used for thermal insulation are made from molten sand and around 80% recycled glass. It is manufactured in a similar manner to how candy floss is made from hot sugar.
Any insulating material that you find in your local hardware shop will specify an R-value. The R-value is the material’s resistance to conduct heat flow or rated in terms of it thermal resistance. The R-value is dependent on the thermal resistance properties of the insulation, its thickness and its density. The R-value is determined by dividing the thickness of the material in meters by its thermal conductivity (k in W/m2 °C). The R-value is the best indicator of product performance. The higher the insulation value, the more money saved and the more worthwhile in the long run. While you cannot change the properties of the product, you can decide on the thickness and density. The ceiling insulation can be bought in 50, 100, 135mm thick, however I would advise staying clear of 50mm thick as this is very thin. The 100mm thick offers double the potential money saving as the R-value is double. With regard to density, the insulation material is more effective if it is fluffed up when installed. The product will expand to full thickness over a month, once it has been unrolled from the packaging. Keep the insulation as dry as possible as water compacts the glass fiber and it will become much less effective as an insulator, thus reducing the R-value.
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Eco-friendly and 100% Green
The ceiling insulation is a glass wool that is manufactured from a combination of sand and on average 80% recycled post-consumer glass. All process waste or production scrap is reprocessed into the primary production process. The glass wool is highly compressible by a factor of 10 when it comes to packaging and expands once removed from packaging. This allows the glass wool to be transported efficiently and lowers the environmental impact of transportation.
The photo to the right, shows a similar green insulation product being fitted to the walls of an off the grid cabin. The insulation is made from recycled PET bottles to create a thermally-bonded polyester which is non-toxic. It is completely safe for people and the environment!
Health and Safety
Glass wool has been commercially available for nearly 70 years and has become one of the worlds most useful insulating materials. Its benefits have been realized by homeowners and industries that want to increase energy efficiency and protect the environment by reducing energy costs. Due to the nature of the fiberglass it is important to wear the appropriate clothing when handling and working with it. Epidemiological studies show no evidence that fiberglass increases the risk of lung cancer or mesothelioma, during occupational exposure. Furthermore inhalation of bio-soluble glass wool fibers has not shown a relationship between glass wool fibers and disease.
Safe Handling and Personal Protective Equipment
- Wear loose fitting, long sleeved and long legged clothing to prevent irritation.
- Wear gloves to prevent skin irritation to hands.
- Do not tape wrist sleeves or ankles closed – you will become very hot.
- Wear a dust mask to minimize upper respiratory tract irritation
- Wear appropriate eye protection to prevent irritation to eyes.
Removal of Glass Fibers from Skin and Eyes
- If fibers are on the skin, do not rub or scratch as this is likely to cause them to penetrate the skin. Use running water and rinse the area. Never use compressed air to blow fibers from the skin.
- If fibers have penetrated the skin, they can be removed by applying an adhesive tape so that fibers adhere to the tape. The tape can be removed and the glass fibers will be pulled out of the skin.
- If fibers are found in the eyes, do not rub the eyes. Flush them with clean water or eyewash. If irritation persists consult a physician.
Minimize Glass Fiber Generation
- Keep the glass wool in its package as long as practically possible.
- Preferably use tools that generate the lease amount of dust. I use garden shears and kitchen scissors to cut the glass wool.
- Keep work areas clean of cut glass wool scraps.
- If dust fibers have settled on surfaces, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the surfaces followed by wiping with a damp rag.
- Keep handling of scrap materials to a minimum, place them in a waste disposal bag as close to working areas and keep the bag closed to prevent release of fibers.