How to Reduce Home Heat Loss

29th August 2016 | By: Dave Smyth

heat loss

A property inspection will avoid any nasty surprises when buying a rental property.

Heating the home is far and away the largest segment of any household heating bill. Over the last few years, there has been a huge focus on trying to educate the public on both the size of the issue of heat loss in homes, as well as the best ways to reduce the impact of home heat loss. As a result, most people are aware of the famous 42% figure for heat loss through the roof, as well as the additional 24% lost through the walls. These figures, when migrated to a household heating bill, start to raise eyebrows.

Despite these national campaigns, there remain an incredible number of homes that have not got sufficient insulation. Latest figures show that some 75% of homes in New Zealand are under insulated, and therefore wasting not just energy, but money. The financial incentive is enough in itself. Ignoring the environmental effects of using less energy to heat the home, BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand)  research shows that the cost of insulating  a typical New Zealand home will pay for itself (through reduced heating bills) within just 4 years. Over the following 20 years, that results in a profit of some $3,000.

Of course, the other side of effective home insulation is health. There are many studies, most notably the much cited study from the Wellington School of Medicine that shows the surprising health benefits of a well-insulated, well ventilated home. Temperature regulation, keeping homes warm in winter and cool in summer, has an enormous benefit for respiratory systems, by keeping moisture levels steady. Furthermore, thermal regulation prevents the build-up of mould and mildew, which have further impacts on health.

Whilst these issues are by no means unknown, what to do about it provides a more difficult set of questions. How well insulated is your home, business or commercial property? What level of saving would insulation provide, and which type of insulation project is the most suitable for it? What sort of building consents are required for insulating a property?

Knowing the answers, and the options up front could save thousands. This is especially true when considering the number of government subsidies available. For example, a home built prior to 2000 currently qualifies for a subsidy of $1,300 towards installing an energy efficient heating system.

The reality is that most New Zealand homes have poor insulation and poor heat ratings. Rectifying the issue is certainly worth doing, both financially and environmentally, not to mention the health benefits, but getting it right is hard. In some buildings, simply focusing on particular rooms will have a huge effect on the heat transfer and airflow of the entire building. The only way to find out is through a full site survey.

By using thermal imaging, the heat map of a property becomes immediately clear. A thermal camera shows, to an astonishing level of detail where heat is being lost and where damp, draught or heat loss is occurring. By clearly identifying these areas, and the extent of the problem, the correct strategy, ensuring maximum return on investment can be created. Whether you are looking to buy a property, sell a property, reduce heating bills or improve comfort, knowing the specifics of the problem is the only way to progress.

BSure House Inspections Ltd have over 30 years of experience and will be able to advise on the best course of action, with the highest return on investment and ensure that you go into the market will all the facts at your disposal. They do not offer thermal correction or insulation services, so have no vested interest in exaggerating an issue or recommending a course of improvement that is does not represent the largest return of investment; for you.


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