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Home » Winter Health » How to get your home insulation ready for winter — and feel better as a result

Kieran Holohan

Managing Director, Isover Ireland

Fintan Smyth

Building Physics Manager, Isover Ireland

Jason Horrex

Manager, Saint-Gobain Technical Academy & Isover Ireland

Living in a poorly insulated property can be detrimental to our health. Getting your home winter-ready with some quick fixes will be good for your wellbeing and bank balance.

Typically, people associate the ‘winter readiness’ of their homes with energy efficiency. That’s important in this chilly economic climate because if a building is poorly insulated, it’s going to be more expensive to heat.

Where to look and ensure proper home insulation

A cold and draughty indoor environment can also impact our physical and mental wellbeing. “That can be underappreciated,” says Kieran Holohan, Managing Director of insulation solutions provider Isover Ireland. “We all spend a lot of time indoors — whether it’s at home, work or school — and, while we’re there, we need a general level of comfort. That means good ventilation, optimum indoor temperature and good acoustics.”

Because heat rises (approximately 25% of heat can be lost through the roof), a quick ‘winter-ready’ win is to ensure your loft is properly insulated with mineral wool insulation. “Then, look at the weaker areas of the rest of the building envelope,” says Jason Horrex, Manager of the Saint-Gobain Technical Academies in County Meath and Dublin, which run free courses to upskill construction industry stakeholders. “Often, the problem is found at the junction of windows and doors, where heat could be escaping.”

Simple measures include using mastic products to
fill gaps in the seals around windows and doors.

What you need to know about making your home airtight

Simple measures include using mastic products to fill gaps in the seals around windows and doors. “A more fundamental approach can also be taken,” says Horrex. “You can make the junction between your walls and windows airtight by installing airtightness membranes behind the plasterboard reveal.”

However, he stresses that airtightness is only about getting rid of unwanted leakage of air. Prescribed levels of ventilation are essential for any building; otherwise, dampness, mould and air quality issues can occur.

Improving moisture control with drylining systems

Fintan Smyth, Building Physics Manager at Isover Ireland, points out that a drylining system can be used to insulate interior walls to improve airtightness and moisture control. “This is a very adaptable solution on a frame that creates a space between the plasterboard and wall, which is filled with insulation,” he says.

“It’s suitable for older buildings with solid walls and helps to manage issues around condensation and dampness — although its appropriateness for your walls should be assessed by someone competent. With any winter readiness projects you are undertaking, my advice is to look at available grants from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and get the right advice from experts.”

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