Bulk Insulation is the insulating material type used for preventing heat loss through convection and conduction. This insulation type is the widely used material type on houses and buildings across the world. What is Bulk Insulation? Well, as the name suggests; it is the bulky kind of insulating material. How does it work? Thousands of air trapped pockets are there within the material that prevents heat flow through it. Bulk Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow, so you can maintain a constant temperature within your house or the building. Well, it prevents outside heat entering your home too.
Anyway, Bulk Insulation is more practical to use in cold climates. And that is why insulation material manufacturers have introduced reflective insulation for warmer climates. Many types of insulating materials are available in the market today. Which type should you use? OK, it depends on many factors such as the climate, where to insulate, insulation availability, and who does the job. For example, blown-in types are widely used for cavity wall insulation as it is more practical for the purpose.
Bulk Insulation types
Five types of Bulk Insulation option are available in the market today. Anyway, the availability may vary according to the country you live in. Below is a list of insulating material types:
1) Glasswool Batts.
2) Rockwool Batts.
3) Polyester Matting.
4) Loose Fill Cellulose.
5) Polystyrene Panels.
The R-value of Bulk Insulation
Not like for reflective insulation, for Bulk Insulation; talking about the R-value is a must-do (reflective insulation doesn’t have an inherent R-value.) The R-value of Bulk Insulation is the thermal resistance of the material. So, higher the R-value, more the thermal resistance. Why should you consider R-value when choosing insulation for your home? Well, it depends on the area you live in Australia. If you live in a colder climate; you should buy Bulk Insulation with a higher R-value. OK, if you are not sure about the right R-value for your home; what should you do then? Experts in the insulation industry are always here to help you. Or, you can talk to a home inspector. He/she will recommend you the right R-value for your home.
Installing Bulk Insulation
Now, we have come to the most important topic of the article. Many house owners make wrong decisions on insulating their homes with insulating materials. First of all, understand the reason for reinstallation — why should I replace insulation in my home? Are you experiencing frequent temperature fluctuations recently? Are you worried about the asbestos presence in your old insulation? Was the attic on fire recently? Many factors are there to consider at this stage? As a house owner, you don’t have the necessary knowledge to answer all these questions yourself. Many house owners make wrong judgments about it.
A common mistake made by many house owners when replacing Bulk Insulation in their homes — they don’t remove old insulation. They install new insulation on top of old insulation. Well, what a disaster? Mold and pest infestations in old insulation will ruin new insulation in no time. Yes, removing old insulation is a risky job, and that is why many house owners don’t bother to do it. Anyway, installing new Bulk Insulation on top of old insulation is not advisable as it can lower the effectiveness of new insulation.
Also, installing insulation over electrical wires should be done according to set standards by the Australian government. Maintaining the right gap between downlights and Bulk Insulation is important for preventing fire hazards. What do you think now? Can you manage it your self? I don’t think so. You should inspect and evaluate the area to be insulated first. Make sure no electrical wires are damaged that can lead to sudden fires. Dealing with damaged electrical wire yourself is not advisable as it can kill you in seconds. Installing Bulk Insulation on the ceiling from within the attic is a risky task, and only a professional installer can do it for you safely.
Bulk Insulation and downlights
Australian government has changed the standards related to insulation and incandescent downlights. The minimum distance between downlights and insulation has been increased for extra safety. Attic fire is a common occurrence in Australia. And that is why the Australian government has changed the minimum gap between downlights and insulation to 25mm now. So, the heat created by downlights will not damage surrounding insulation, which can ultimately cause a disaster (fires.) Also, the government recommends keeping the wires above the insulating material (where possible.)
Can you DIY it?
OK, I am leaving the answer to you. I have clearly explained all the factors to consider when removing and installing Bulk Insulation and the risk involved. Well, doing it yourself won’t give you anything extra. You won’t save any money either. It is not about the risk involved within the material. Modern Bulk Insulation types are 100% free from asbestos. Also, insulation types are there that you can handle even without gloves and a mask. Still, removing old insulation and installing new insulation in the right way are tasks that should be handled by a professional in the insulating industry.
To complete the article, let’s talk about the presence of asbestos in old insulation types. People made a huge mistake in the 19th century by mixing asbestos with many materials they were using. They took so long to understand its side effects though. When they understood the side effects of it; it was already too late. Thousands of deaths were recorded due to asbestos in the late 19th century. Even today, many old houses and buildings have materials installed with asbestos contamination. Australian government warns about possible outcomes of asbestos-contaminated materials including old Bulk Insulation. On the other hand, disposal of asbestos-contaminated materials is a nightmare. Still, we haven’t got a practical way to destroy asbestos completely without harming the environment.
Some final words
Bulk Insulation is the widely used insulating material type today. Reflective foil insulation and rigid panels are the other types available in the market. In this article, we have discussed all the risks involved with insulation removal and replacement. So, hiring a professional installer is highly advisable for every insulation-related task. Send us a message or call us regarding your questions and concerns about Bulk Insulation and other types. We are here to guide you through the entire process from the beginning to the end. Standards have been changed related to insulation thickness, R-values, material types, and downlights.