Is it hot all year round where you live? Then you probably don’t need cavity wall insulation. But for those who experience varying temperatures, ranging from hot summer to cold winters, insulating the wall cavities of your home makes good sense. Why do it? To reduce the amount of heating necessary in your home of course. With energy prices and global temperatures rising, there are now excellent incentives to reduce your heating needs. No matter if you are a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist or just want to save some money in these trying times, you would do well to cut down on your energy consumption.
Cavity wall insulation principles and products
The walls of your home are made up of an inner wall and an outer wall. Depending on the age and construction principles of the building, there will also be a cavity between the two walls. Most buildings made of wood or bricks will have a cavity though; in order to make loadbearing walls sufficiently stable. Stuffing this cavity with some kind of heat insulating material has been of interest to homeowners ever since the first energy-crisis in the 70′s taught us how easily cheap energy was taken for granted. Today we know this better than ever. Thankfully, this has led to the development of relatively cheap heat-insulating materials, many of which are also fireproof. Some come in the shape of batts or mats, suitable for loft-insulation or wall cavities that are easily accessible, while granulated products exist that can be air-blown into hard-to-reach cavities, as are often found in brick buildings.
Hire an installer or go DIY?
Working with most of the insulation materials on the market is easy enough. Rockwool batts can be easily cut with an old bread knife, and installing isn’t difficult either; although gloves and a dust mask should be worn at all times. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are also a good idea, as the dust from the mineral wool and glass wool can get really itchy. However, there is more to installing cavity wall insulation than that: without a firm knowledge of how heat and cold travels through construction elements, and where condensation can build up, you could do more harm than good when installing insulation. That’s why it may be worthwhile to hire a local installation company. The inhabitants of a house will release a lot of moisture through perspiration and breath, but also through the use of water (especially hot) in the house. All this moisture will cause rot and mould in the inner walls and in some of the loadbearing structures of a building, if allowed to build up.
Ventilation and diffusion through building materials is essential to get rid of the moisture and controlling where in the wall structure condensation occurs as a result of warm and moist air from inside the house colliding with cold, dry air from the outside – is critical in this respect. When you install an insulation material in a wall structure which was formerly hollow, you may or may not be interrupting what used to be a very efficient stream of de-humidifying ventilation for your home. That moisture will then go elsewhere. Cavity wall insulation DIY can be a viable approach to get the job done – as long as you know what you are doing or seek professional help with your project. Insulation manufacturers such as Rockwool are great when it comes to providing thorough information on the proper use and installation of their products. If you are not comfortable doing this, seek out a trained installer of good repute and pay them to do it. Sometimes a job is better left to a professional – if for no other reason than the peace of mind it can give you.