Insulating tricky spaces
This is an excerpt from an article in Sanctuary magazine issue 19.
Dick Clarke explores how to insulate unconventional spaces, from ceilings to slab floors, and make your home even warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Words Dick Clarke
Everybody knows you can install insulation batts on a flat ceiling, and that sarking goes under roof tiles. But how do you insulate the tricky places? What can be done when renovating? And how should insulation be installed to avoid condensation, discussed in Sanctuary 18? Here are some suggestions for insulation that are not always considered.
First, let’s get a common problem out of the way: never dump exhaust fans into roof spaces. It is now prohibited by the National Construction Code under sarked roofs, but should not appear in any kind of roof. The reason is self-evident: all that moisture has to go somewhere. If it can’t get out, it will eventually saturate ceiling insulation and make its way back into the house, bringing mould in its wake. Wet bulk insulation doesn’t work, so always duct exhaust fans out through the roof or a wall.
Do not assume safety. As common sense and occupational health and safety regulations demand, electrical safety issues must be addressed before any insulation work in or on any part of a building. Foil has its own particular safety requirements. Every house should have a safety switch (earth leakage device, or residual current device [RCD]) fitted to all circuits, not just the power circuit. Test this before starting work.
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