23 November, 2007

Insulate your home: How to save between 100 and 500 per year

The energy consumption for conditioning housing accounts for about 40% of total world energy consumption, so that all countries make efforts aimed at improving energy efficiency will be essential if we are to maintain comfort. 
In another entry you can find an example of roof insulation with sheets of extruded polystyrene foams and rolls (Copoprén).
Isolate the house is one of the best investments we can make, pay for themselves in 2 to 8 years, depending on the situation. In fact, it should be mandatory by law rehabilitate the isolation of all households who are not suitably for its many advantages: 
  1. Greater savings. Properly insulate the house can save up to 60% on heating bills in winter and cooling in summer. The home of over 20 years may have empty chambers, without insulation, so I recommend proceed as indicated below to isolate them.
  2. Sound. In addition to isolating the cold and heat also isolate yourself from the noise of the street.
  3. More comfort, to prevent heat loss through the house is heated more evenly and more healthily; to rely less on heating dries the environment less. 

The price of energy will continue to rise more than the cost of living, in fact, energy and water resources will be the two most in demand in this century, so it is wise to invest a few resources to isolate our homes always better conserve energy consumption. 

There are ways to avoid higher energy consumption in heating housing; eg for every degree the thermostat go down we will be saving more than 5% of heating by reducing the temperature difference between inside and outside. But it is not put at 15 and get cold as we sat. 

Isolating the house we were able to avoid much of the energy is lost to heat dedicate our house walls and ceilings. 

One of the best insulators there is air, because of its low thermal conductivity, but the fact that it increases your free convection (hot air rises to be lighter, so it mixes rapidly, generating convection currents, transmitting rapidly heat the remaining air molecules) so to make insulating materials should usually be small air bubbles to prevent movement. 
In the following lines I will share with my dear readers my experience. 

There are many materials suitable for isolation, with different properties and cost appropriate to the case. 
For the right, it is best to consult the Wikipedia page , which will always be complete and up to put a link in this post. 

1 Excluding the walls. 

If our house be empty chambers, we can save a lot of energy per year filling these walls with insulation, which may be the one we are commenting, but I would recommend better fireproof insulation cellulose projected or blown (thank Abraque by the contribution), rock wool orfiberglass batt form or Expanded clay balls , as these solutions all last forever, but should be compared to the best value insulating / duration / price. 
Note 19/03/2013: The first winter gas bill was cut in half, but we note that the following winter moisture accumulated increasingly in the house; I recommend using moisture transfer materials (such as cellulose or mineral wool) if it's a home prone to it, such as low, or if you are around the house with some land, if the area is wet, etc .
Should check that the camera has no insulation by removing one of the caps vents usually found in the kitchen. If you have a sealed tube partially break it, then you can close it with polyurethane foam, let it dry and trim the excess with a knife. A camera flash will help us in the task of recognizing the interior. 
Camera image: 20 cm. brick from the inside (left). slabs to brick street (right). Picture taken with K800i from the hole 8cm done. What are cobwebs hanging gray (yes, cobwebs) and white is what remains of the plates of expanded polystyrene that got almost 40 years ago and usually takes between 1 and 100 years to biodegrade

To isolate a flat over 20 years with no insulation cameras I have used the more comfortable, economical and inexpensive to insulate exterior walls method. Small holes are made ​​6 cm.(Depends on tube diameter) on top of them where we introduce the expanded polystyrene balls (here Politerm brand), with a hole every 3 meters to avoid gaps unfilled. You can do it with a pick ax or hammer (wear eye protection). 

Attention: It is important to check that the camera does not have vents on the side facing the street, if so we will have to close them with a material such as polyurethane foam or other material to hold over the years. This vent was placed to facilitate better aeration and remove any moisture, but only makes sense the first year while the work materials are drying up, and often causes more moisture from the outside if the house is in a wetland north. In any case if we can not access them and grille openings have less width than the diameter of the largest ball probably go a few, but will clog with larger. If you decide not to close these vents prays that no one remove or not fall. Those that go directly to housing (such as the kitchen) must not be covered, but check that do not communicate with the camera.

Be careful not to make holes in the walls without a camera; to save costs and provide more living space than the usual constructor camera only leave on the walls to the outside (which actually makes sense); if one adjoins a neighbor is probably no (also seen in the variation of wall thickness). Do not go unless you visit the neighbor-). 

I used a vacuum provided by the store that sold us the material, low speed; are introduced half bags m3 of expanded polystyrene ( Styrofoam ) in the chamber until they start to go balls. Keep in mind that the air that is introduced has to go somewhere, so I usually let the slightly larger hole so you go to escape through the crack to be looser or better yet, make a hole in the two corners of the same wall at the same height so that the air comes out the other. 
Another solution is to use a hair dryer with cold position (as discussed on page sóloarquitectura );joins a flexible corrugated tube 6 cm wide (available in electrical shops / stores building) or the tube of a vacuum cleaner to the bottom of the bag through a hole to seal it with tape, and the dryer starts the top, also sealed so that air pressure does not escape. 
The more powerful the dryer easier start moving balls to the wall, and the less height difference has the sack to the hole to do, faster flow balls. 

Images of the aspiration of the sac and its introduction into the wall
At the end of the tube has a bend of 45 ° which allows us to send some material to other areas, so we are not left "mountains" and areas without material. 
Finally when it no longer supports media and the balls start to come through the vents of the hole made, proceed to put the cannula spray polyurethane foam on the gap between the pipe and the wall to seal it. Not be as it increases its volume for an hour and a half. 

In the kitchen, to avoid making holes in the tile, we take the vent hole in the top (if any), making a hole in the pipe to give camera. To close I used polyurethane easily be cut with a knife after.

I recommend that you become a vacuum cleaner if you do not have, as the house filled with these balls ends

Finally, to top it off once it has hardened polyurethane finished you can proceed to the entrance holes with plaster and spatula (you must be hurry because sets in 30 seconds). 
Appearance of plaster applied after drying and cleaning with a damp cloth: 

It is painted and ready. We insulation for about 20 years (theoretically can last 100 years, but in contact with external agents such as the water holds much less). 
Final cost of the material of the 4 mt. cubic employees (65m2 house): 250 Euros. 

2 Excluding the between - ceiling. 
Most of the heat is going through the roof (hot air rises), so it should be the first to isolate (second and third walls the ground) if possible. If we have access to our roof or attic can be used is passable arlita (balls of cooked and expanded clay), because you can not step problem that crushing, and withstand fire. They often also used to level land, isolating chambers hot / cold and noise, to lighten mass of cement, etc. 
On the manufacturer Maxit we can see examples and guidelines for use directly on terraces for leveling , filling, etc. or in combination with mass for lightening. 

Arlite directly on the roof (corrugated tube lighting looks)

Different insulation: Arlite (below), Insulfrax (Left, mineral wool that holds over 1200 on roll) and fiberglass (right) roll

We buy the bags and spread so leave between 1 and 3 cm. at least. The more thickness have is better, but from 10 cms. no appreciable improvement. 
On the other hand you can also arlita pumping chambers of the walls by gas lift, but the device is bulky and hard to get. 
Final cost for a 100 m2 roof with a layer of 2 cm: 200 euros (about 6 euros per bag of 25 liters.). 
On this page "library of energy" you have more examples of materials used in roof insulation, depending on the case which may be more suitable one or the other. 
The arlita ¿contaminated? 
Updated 4/10/2012: Maxit, absorbed by Saint-Gobain Webber has closed all of its factories in Spain, so it seems that now is made ​​from natural gas.
The properties of the Arlit are very similar to those of the polystyrene balls, two balls are small pockets of air, which apparently can only require more energy to manufacture. In many cases to lower the material have been cooked with recycled fuels, but whatever the type of arlita those residues that can lead only go to the Environment if filtered water, and most will retain them, in fact, due to its micro-pores were successfully used to filter heavy metals and water for irrigation. 

The problem is when the most important producing factory arlita ( Maxit ) recycles used oil and burning lots releasing fumes near the town. In that case it becomes a problem because the burning is concentrated in a small area. If these oils (properly cleaned of toxic substances) were shared among all diesel cars Spain would be no problem. 

Anyway arlita utilization as a filter and thermal and acoustic insulation can save much more energy in the long run than that used for manufacturing, we must compromise and conveniently assess the ecological counterparts. 

In any case if you can use a material that pollutes less in terms of formulation and during use, albeit more expensive it will be worth it. 

3 Isolating the ground. 

Wood is a good insulator and also economical, so if we can choose to put in the rooms at least get comfort and save energy with this material, the more environmentally friendly. 
One option if the house is already built is put parquet wood veneer or imitation wood that fit together and that anyone can post, there are many manuals online. They are very thin and can go on any material, those of synthetic materials even withstand moisture without resizing, inflated or squirm. 

Should be a home under construction may also use a layer arlita or cork slabs or below Porexpan finish, there are multiple combinations. 

Different insulating materials 
It can also be insulated with fiberglass and / or mineral wool, often used to isolate coated the walls of the new buildings and security doors for its ability to withstand fire, but its price is less affordable, well not is recyclable. 
Attention: fiberglass or mineral sometimes require adequate protection of airways and skin for manipulation; asked to teach you the technical sheet for proper use.With some old materials (such as high temperature ceramic materials), t he released when handling powders could irritate the respiratory tract and cause cancer of the lung, which does not happen with modern materials. Consult more informationbefore purchasing.
They are recommended because they last forever (if they had put this in my building would as well insulated as the first day), but you must make sure to take adequate protection when handling. Once hidden in the wall presents no danger.

The most recommended material if we want to isolate high temperature dust is refractory , used to isolate all types of furnaces (from bread to Altos Hornos ) for its poor heat transfer and resistance to high temperatures. Its texture is sandy, so it is not recommended for walls (fall for any slit). It is relatively inexpensive and also have it in the form of refractory bricks for barbecues and garden bread ovens in the old way . 

Example plancas ceiling insulated with fiber wadding / hemp screwed

Example ceiling insulated with plates bolted vegetable fiber; good stuff if we want excess moisture to transpire outside

If you can afford to lose space, lower the ceiling plasterboard plates placing fiberglass or other material between the roof and the drywall or wall (3 cm and 2 cm plasterboard fiber); Thewooden slats on the walls is a good choice, embellish and is cheap if no moisture. The cast (and all its formats as perliescayola) is very good thermal and acoustic insulation, better than brick. A plate of 1.5 cm insulated plasterboard as much as a brick of 10 cm. 
They also sell very well priced plates 2,5x1 mtr. the polystyrene that can be put directly on the wall if you have little need and little money ... in developing countries is an option, but it is fragile and breaks down at the slightest touch, so it is appropriate to put something up as drywall, more resistant and economical. 

Well, that's all for now. See you soon and happy savings! 

References and further information: 
Insulation materials in buildings (Wikipedia) 
Guidelines for insulation in buildings, the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy 
Thermal insulation on Wikipedia 
Insulating materials in Current Home 
Actual House: Energy conservation 
A priority objective to achieve the new energy model 
Thermal insulation in buildings to save energy and Consumer subsidies 
By insulating the roof: Power Library (Spanish) 
Insulate your house from the noise and cold: Consumer Magazine 
Isolate the House Consumer Magazine 
Arlite on wikipedia 
Page protesting the burning of used oil factory VILLALBILLA (Madrid) 
Maxit page maker Arlite 
Wood flooring in BlueBagages