1. How do you know that you need insulation?
Before you think of installing any external wall insulation, the first thing you need to do is to determine if you attic insulation. Check your outer walls to see if it has collection of patched up holes. If there are, it means you have a blown-in insulation.
Old houses tend to be drafty places and they can allow air to leak from many areas. Inspect your house to determine where you could be losing heat. Prime culprits are fireplaces and chimneys that do not have working dampers. Air leaks, via cracks around windows, recessed lighting and electrical outlets are yet other areas that you may want to consider. The top of the house, it is instructive to note, is main area that heat is lost through the top of your house. Heat normally rises and it is very easy for it to escape through roofs especially if they are not sufficiently insulated.
2. How much insulation will you require for your house?
The R-value of insulation refers to the thermal resistance of the material or its resistance to the flow of heat. This tends to depend on the part of the country that you are coming from as well as the part of the house that you want to insulate. A material that has higher R-value is better a insulating than one with a lower R-value. They tend to range from 0-40 and even more. The smaller values are appropriate for use in places that have lower temperatures while the materials with higher R-value are best suited for high temperature areas.
3. How can you minimize moisture problems?
One of the main things when it comes to fitting external insulation is to ensure that you avoid generating moisture problems. Signs that you have high levels of moisture include rotting wood, peeling paint and mold growth. In some places in Ireland, moisture emanating from living places like bathroom and cooking areas cause a lot of problems when it moves into walls and then condenses in insulation and more so in cold weather.
As moisture collects, it can lead to loose fills settling or creating other problems. In order to this, make sure that the vapour barrier of the insulation faces in toward your living spaces. If you are not sure as to where to place vapour barrier, the best thing is to talk to your insulation manufacturer to tell you the right placement.
4. Where is the right place to install external insulation? This is something that tends to vary from one house to the next. As stated above, the majority of the heat being lost in a house happens through the roof. Because warm air is tends to rise while cold is likely to fall, the best place to start is to insulate the attic. In case the attic is not finished, the best place to install the insulation is on the floor. Where the attic also doubles up as the living space, for instance a playroom or a home office, consider placing the insulation between the rafters.
Check out our tips about floor insulation.