Is the difference between insulation a matter of degrees?
Wherever you are in the country, you will have felt the first winter chills. While there’s no doubt it’s warmer in the North, people are still waking up to chilly rooms and starting to think again about insulation. The TV is full of ads promoting all different kinds, so is it really a matter of degrees? The answer surprisingly, is yes.
HeatSavers installed our own insulation into a wall in a house in Thorndon, Wellington. What made the case interesting was a wall on the same side of the house had been insulated using conventional fibreglass type methods. The opportunity to compare the results was just too good to pass up. So we brought in the infrared and thermal imagery specialists to check it out.
The difference between the two walls was one degree; and it was the wall with HeatSavers’ foam installed that was warmer. Says Eamonn Kilgariff of HeatSavers Wellington, “It just goes to show that our product is doing what it is supposed to do. It’s an excellent result but you do have to remember it’s not an exact science”.
He continues, “The house was 100 years old, which means the thickness of the wall cavity was greater than in modern houses. When you insulate with fibreglass or wool compounds, you have to push and poke it in. In a deeper cavity, there can be 3-4 centimetres where there’s nothing between the Gib and the insulation. Foam on the other hand, fills the whole area and gets closer to the Gib and the framing. Gaps are the enemy of thermal efficiency”.
Doesn’t that mean you just need to add in more insulation? “You could”, says Tony Naidu, Executive Director of HeatSavers, “but that adds to the cost for both product and labour. Our insulation costs a third to a quarter of traditional insulation methods and quite frankly, we believe that it’s much more effective.”
“It’s not just about the price or value; it’s every bit as much about time and inconvenience. Our product can be installed in days not weeks. And it’s a much cleaner and easier process for residents. To retrofit fibreglass you first have to remove the Gib, and that’s a dusty, messy business. Let’s face it, all that material; broken Gib and old insulation just add to the landfill problem.”
Does a degree matter? Says Naidu, “I believe so, yes. What’s important to understand is that completing the thermal envelope does make a big difference. The research is clear; if every part of your home, under floors, ceilings and walls are properly insulated the benefits are cumulative – 4-5 degrees warmer in winter and of course cooler in summer”.
“Here’s the bottom line”, he continues, “the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 18 degrees celsius or 20 degrees celsius for more vulnerable groups, and a minimum healthy overnight bedroom temperature of 16 degrees celsius. The average winter temperature in New Zealand homes is 13.5 degrees celsius. Right there is where every degree matters.”
With power costs continuously on the rise, now is when we’re entering the most expensive time of year. Says Naidu, “With our process you see a real difference in temperature right away and that means instant power savings”.
EECA Energywise calculates that heating accounts for about 29% of the power costs for most homes in New Zealand. With power usage ramping up this time of year, now’s a great time to consider adding insulation.
As Naidu points out, “Installing insulation is an upfront cost, but we offer great finance terms and know that homeowners see the return through increased house value and lower energy bills. Our free home assessments let you know if your house is suitable and if there are any issues (like rotten weatherboards) that will need to be addressed first. It’s like a free health-check on your property. And then we can give you an upfront price, and guide you through your payment options”.
If you’d like to find out more about insulation your home, contact HeatSavers for a free, no-obligation quotation. For health, wealth and well-being, every degree does matter.