Making your home comfortable

Best bet: Installing insulation inside your walls is on of the best ways to help keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Photo: Shutterstock.
Best bet: Installing insulation inside your walls is on of the best ways to help keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. Photo: Shutterstock.

Insulation is the key to keeping your home comfortable inside no matter what the temperature is outside. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing property, insulation should be part of any planning. Australia is well known for its varying and extreme temperatures which not only make for uncomfortable living, but can also add thousands to energy bills. From sub zero temperatures in winter to sweltering days above 40 degrees, it is important to shield the inside of your home from these conditions, and there are a variety of ways you can do this.

Insulation is the most energy efficient addition you can make to your home, providing a barrier to heat flowing in and out of your home and keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulating your home along with other efforts such as weatherproofing and shading can also help you save up to 45 per cent on your current energy bills.

Hot air: Whirly birds and ducts from your roof can remove hot air from within your ceiling. Photo: Shutterstock.

Hot air: Whirly birds and ducts from your roof can remove hot air from within your ceiling. Photo: Shutterstock.

The key to insulation is not its thickness but it's "R" rating which measures heat flow resistance, where higher R values provide higher levels of insulation. 35 percent of heat is lost or gained through your roof with a further 25 per cent through your walls so it is vital to install insulation in these areas. There are two types of insulation you can use- bulk and reflective.

Bulk insulation traps pockets of air within its structure reducing the transfer of heat and includes materials such as wool, glass wool, polyester and polystyrene. Its thermal resistance is essentially the same regardless of the direction of heat flow through it, but is primarily used to keep heat in. Reflective insulation usually consists of a shiny aluminium foil laminated onto paper or plastic and works by reflecting heat from its surface, therefore being used to keep heat out.

Choosing the right type of insulation for your house with the appropriate R rating will depend on your location and climate with recommendations available online. Finally, remember installing insulation is not the only thing you can do to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

  • Floorboards and tiles are a great flooring option that is cool in summer and you can easily add large rugs in winter to add warmth and style
  • Seal any gaps around windows and doors that let the air outside into your home
  • Apply a window film to the glass on your windows or if you have the budget install double glazed windows
  • When painting your home, especially your roof, look for light colours and heat reflective options
  • Install some roof mounted whirlybirds to remove hot air from inside your roof
  • Plan your garden to maximise sunlight and shade
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