How Insulation Can Lower Your Heating and Cooling Bills

Perth Insulation stops the flow of heat energy, lowering your heating and cooling bills. Insulation is installed at the time of construction or in existing homes as part of renovation.

A good insulator traps air in layers to stop the transfer of energy. Wool, dry air and plastics are examples of insulators. Metals, on the other hand, conduct energy easily.

Insulation is material that slows the flow of heat energy in and out of buildings. It reduces a building’s heating and cooling costs, and improves comfort. Insulation can be made from a wide variety of materials including fiberglass, cotton, cellulose, wool and spray foam. Its effectiveness is measured through a system known as R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.

Insulating a building requires the use of barriers that separate materials to prevent the transmission of electricity, heat, cold and sound between them. These insulating barriers could be non-conductive, such as the space between concrete blocks used for a home’s foundations and walls, or they might be more structured, like a fiberglass blanket or batt. Insulation also provides fire resistance and may be treated to provide acoustic properties.

There are three ways that heat moves from warmer areas to cooler ones: conduction, convection and radiation. Insulation stops some of these pathways, and helps keep heat inside during winter and out during summer. This can significantly cut a home’s energy bills and carbon emissions.

Most homes need some level of insulation, with the optimal levels depending on your location and climate zone. Minimum insulation levels required for roofs, walls and floors are set by the National Construction Code (NCC). Consult a registered builder, architect or energy assessor to help determine your home’s insulation needs.

The insulating ability of different materials is measured using the thermal resistance or R-value, which takes into account thickness and density. An insulating material’s R-value can vary depending on the environment, age and moisture accumulation.

Ideally, insulation should be installed without gaps or air leaks, as this will lower the R-value. The best way to do this is to install insulation that can be sealed around ducts and pipes, and to fit it properly. It’s also important to allow clearance around hot flues, fans and appliances in a home’s ceiling.

Some types of insulation, such as spray foam and cellulose, can be self-installed by homeowners, while others require professional installation. In addition to the type of insulation, the installer’s experience and skills can make a significant difference in the final performance. Ask potential contractors for a written cost estimate for installing the recommended R-value in your home, and check their credentials.

Types of Insulation

There are several different types of insulation material. The type that best suits your home will depend on the location and use of the space in which you are insulating, as well as your climate. Your budget, R-value requirement and DIY capabilities will also influence the choice of insulation.

The most common insulation materials are fiberglass, rock and slag wool, cellulose and natural fibers. These are bulky materials that resist conductive and — to a lesser extent — convective heat flow within a building cavity. More recently, rigid foam boards have become popular and are available in a range of R-values to suit your needs. Foam insulation may be made from recycled materials or from new, synthetic materials such as expanded or extruded polystyrene (EPS and XPS), polyisocyanurate or polyurethane (PUR and PIR).

Other materials used for insulation include mineral wool (rock and slag wool), plastic fibers (polyethylene and polypropylene) and natural fibers (cotton, sheep’s wool, hemp). Natural fibers need to be chemically treated to make them fire resistant. They are often available in loose-fill, rolls or batt insulation.

Some insulation is also sold as facing and barrier products. These may consist of kraft paper, vinyl sheeting or aluminum foil. They serve as an air barrier, vapor barrier or radiant barrier. They are generally installed separately from the insulation and are taped to seal the joint.

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are high-performance building insulation options. They are manufactured under factory conditions with an insulating foam core. The foam core is usually made from EPS, XPS or polyisocyanurate foam with structural sheathing such as oriented strand boards or a wood product like spruce, pine or cedar.

Spray foam insulation is a highly effective option for both new construction and retrofit applications. It can be applied to a wide range of surfaces, including floors, walls and ceilings. It is ideal for insulating existing finished areas, irregularly shaped spaces and around obstructions such as water pipes and electrical wires. It can also be installed in walls with solid-wall construction, making it a suitable alternative to traditional methods.


Insulation can make a significant difference in your home’s energy efficiency. It reduces the flow of heat and cold, allowing your heating system to do its job more effectively during the winter, while reducing the cost of cooling in summer. But the effectiveness of insulation depends on proper installation, and if you’re not a professional insulator, it may be challenging to achieve the best results.

The type of insulation you choose will depend on the area that needs to be insulated, whether it’s an existing or new construction. In addition, you’ll want to consider your budget and the type of insulation’s R-value that you require. If you’re considering a DIY project, it’s best to get quotes from several different contractors to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

If your house is still under construction, you may have the option to use specialized building materials like SIPs and ICFs, which are designed as part of the structure and provide a high R-value. However, if you’re looking to insulate an existing home, your options are more limited. Blanket batts and rolls, foam board, radiant barriers, blown-in insulation, and spray foam are all possible options.

Each of these insulation materials comes with its own unique benefits and installation processes. For example, cellulose insulation is made with recycled newspaper, cardboard, and magazines and offers a higher R-value than fiberglass. It also has a better resistance to mildew and mold, and is fire retardant. However, if you’re installing it yourself, it can be quite messy and requires a significant amount of time.

While you can do some parts of an insulation installation yourself, it’s best to hire a professional to handle the entire process. An experienced contractor will know how to inspect and repair existing insulation, how to find air leaks, and how to install the most efficient insulation according to your climate zone.

Before starting any installation projects, it’s important to take safety precautions with eye and respiratory protection as well as tools. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you don’t place insulation against any electrical wiring, recessed lighting, or water heaters, which can create a fire hazard.


Insulation systems, like any mechanical system, require periodic inspection and maintenance to monitor changes or damage that can render them ineffective. At a minimum, insulation should be inspected annually to check for cracking or distortion, or evidence of hot spots on high-temperature systems. Insulation maintenance is important to ensure the safety of personnel, prevent loss of production or process quality and minimize energy waste and costs. In fact, the National Insulation Association (NIA) publishes a handy 16-item maintenance check list in their journal, Insulation Outlook, which can be used to identify what needs attention.

During regular insulation maintenance visits, home inspectors examine the crawl space, attic, and walls of a house to assess the condition of the insulation. Moisture issues, such as mold growth or visible deterioration are good indications that maintenance is needed, and should be addressed promptly to avoid further damage or health problems.

Other indicators that insulation maintenance is required include high utility bills, poor indoor air quality, and noticeable drafts. Insulation professionals can conduct a full inspection and perform any insulation maintenance or repairs that are recommended to keep the system at peak performance.

The best way to avoid costly repairs is by considering maintenance as part of the initial design of an insulation system. In industrial settings, the engineering design typically includes a maintenance plan that specifies how often a facility should inspect the insulated piping and equipment, along with how to repair or replace the insulation as necessary.

For facilities that operate 24/7, this is not always possible, but the more a facility can incorporate maintenance into their regular operating practices, the less they will pay for maintenance services in the long run. This is especially true when addressing corrosion under insulation (CUI) prevention, which can result in costly plant shutdowns if left untreated.

It can be challenging to get management on board with the idea that a thermal insulation maintenance plan is as important as any other component of a plant’s operation. But a company that is truly concerned about the quality of its products will usually make maintaining the integrity of the insulation and other energy efficiency measures a priority.