In our last blog, we covered correct window shading and the use of thermal mass to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. This week, we are going to look at insulation and sealing, which again plays a huge role in keeping your house both warm in winter, but also cool in summer.
Insulation helps prevent any unwanted heat from entering the house during the warmer summer months and also prevents heat existing your house during the cooler winter months. In the summer months, this insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow, preventing the unwanted hot air in summer from entering into the house through the walls, floors and even roof. During winter this insulation works in the opposite way, acting as a blanket to your home, preventing the warm air inside your home from escaping. Insulation comes in many different types and forms, with different varieties working better for different applications, depending on the location. Correct insulation should be used in all areas of the house for maximum result, there is little point in over insulating one area of the home to then neglect another. A good way to think about insulation within your house is filling a bucket with water, if there are no holes in the bucket no water will escape, however, if you place a hole in the bucket, the water will slowly escape and the more holes, the faster the water escapes. Your house is like this bucket, if you insulate your whole home, leaving certain areas uninsulated, the heat will find its way to this ‘hole’ and exit or enter. The more ’holes’ in your house (uninsulated areas) the faster the heat will escape or enter.
Air leakage is another factor to consider when building your own home. Air leakage can account for up to 20% of winter heat loss, along with a considerable amount of cool air lost in the summer months. Much like the bucket example above, sealing your house correctly works in the same way. Whilst it is still important for our homes to be correctly ventilated to ensure fresh air throughout, if this air leakage is minimised, ventilation can be controlled through desired openings to ensure no unnecessary warm or cool air is gained or lost.