Insulation, how much do you need?

By Eco Guy 7:09am 23rd June 2010
Working out how much insulation to install can be difficult, we show you how.

Insulating your home is a good idea; not only will you reduce your heating and cooling costs, it will also help the environment by reducing the energy you consume. Most people do not realize that without insulation up to 30% of their heating costs literally end up going through the roof...

Most people don't realize that installing insulation rolls (or Batts) as they are called in a loft is not as difficult as perhaps they have been led to believe. Basically if you are relatively fit and have worked in a loft space before you have enough key knowledge to do the job. For a typical roof one person should be able to fit the batts within 2 days.

#1 Do your measurements..

You need to have the dimensions of each of your roof spaces. This is usually a simple length and width measurement. Also you need details of the number of down lights you have in that roof space.

Next plug these figures into this calculator, it will give you the number of batt packs you need to put in for a given joist width. Of course now you shop around and order in the batts.

#2 Pick the right day..

This is very important, do not want to be going up in the loft space during a hot summers day - you will literally cook alive up there and might put your body in enough shock to be fatal. We recommend you aim to fit the insulation during Winter if you can; the roof will be warm but not hot - so ideal for this sort of work.

#3 Clean the roofspace..

This means removing all the rubbish plus any old insulation. If it is of the glass fiber type, make sure you fully dress up and mask yourself - its nasty - basically you need to get it into black plastic bags, seal them and take them out of the loft space and clean it all.

#4 Get the batts in the roof..

Do not unpack the batts outside of the loft - they will expand and be impossible to deal with - rather move everything up into the loft first and distribute them along the roof space.

#4 Fit the batts..

Then open a pack, and working from the edge of the roof inwards, lay the batts between the joists. At this stage do be careful with cabling and do not trap cables under or between the insulation and roof - they could overheat. Also make sure to leave 200mm clear around down lights and other heat sources. This is rather important and needs to be done in all cases.

Tips and tricks

If you find it hard to balance on the joists without fear of going through the ceiling below - make yourself a little wooden platform out of some off cuts about 2 foot square and set battens under it just shy of the inner width of the joists. You can then use this as a base of operations as you move around the roof. In fact making two of them allows you to move very easily around the loft in confidence. Also putting down some wood around the loft hatch is a good idea while you are at it - makes it a lot safer.

Related Content Tags: insulation, cooling, heating, r-value

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