As with any product, insulation breaks down over time which means it can become less effective at regulating temperatures inside your home. Many Australian homes are under insulated, particularly older homes which may have been insulated decades ago. If it has been a long time since your insulation was installed, or you have been relying more on artificial heating and cooling to keep your home at a pleasant temperature, chances are your insulation needs replacing.
While it is best if the whole home is insulated, the ceiling and roof are the most critical areas. That’s because a home’s greatest heat loss and gain occurs through the roof – as much as 35%!
How often should ceiling insulation be replaced?
The lifespan of ceiling insulation depends on the quality and materials of the products used. Additionally, any moisture or physical damage that may have occurred could impact how long ceiling insulation lasts.
For older homes, we recommend getting your insulation inspected every 15 years as the quality of the insulation products may not be known. However, more modern ceiling insulation products are designed and manufactured to last the lifetime of your home. For example, Bradford Insulation comes with a 70 year performance warranty and Knauf Earthwool comes with a 50 year warranty.
Some warning signs that your insulation may not be working effectively include:
• Uncomfortable indoor temperatures. E.g. it’s really hot inside on a hot day.
• You have difficulty heating up or cooling your home.
• Temperatures inside your home fluctuate regularly.
• You notice cold drafts, even when doors and windows are closed.
• Your power bill has been steadily increasing over time due to more reliance on artificial heating and cooling.
• Water leaks or storm damage to your roof. These may lead to water damage and/or mould growth on your insulation.
• Rodents or other creatures in your roof. Infestations of this kind can lead to insulation damage.
If any of these warning signs apply to you, it might be time to have your insulation inspected and replaced.
Video: How to Check Your Existing Roof Insulation
Can you put new insulation over old?
Old insulation does not simply stop working, but gradually becomes less and less effective over time. In some cases, it is possible to install new ceiling insulation over old to improve the overall efficiency. However, if old insulation is damaged it should be removed first before installing new ceiling insulation. It is also important that any new insulation you install is not compressed because this will significantly reduce its effectiveness.
One key factor to consider when replacing ceiling insulation is the R-Value. This indicates how effective a product is at resisting heat flow. The higher R-Value you can afford, the more benefits you will reap from your ceiling insulation. For Perth, Brisbane and northern NSW, we recommend an R-Value of at least R4.0. For cooler climates such as Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, we recommend upgrading to R5.0 or R6.0.
Video: Retrofitting Roof Insulation in an Existing Home
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