Insulation of Houses

The house I live in (bought by my wife) was built in 2002 by Property Perfect Public Co., Ltd., one of the biggest real estate developers in Bangkok. However, just many other "high end" properties I've lived in and inspected for others in Bangkok and Thailand, there was no insulation in the ceiling. None.

(There were a number of other shortcomings, too, such as no power outlets grounded/earthed, one window mounted by just 2 screws which proved disasterous later, and so on..., but that's beside the point in this article.)

At the first nice house I moved into back in the mod-1990s in a hi-so suburban Bangkok neighborhood, it had powerful air conditioners in all the upstairs bedrooms, but I noticed they were running all the time, yet the rooms weren't cooling like it should. I stood up on a desk and felt the top of the ceiling. It felt hot. I got a ladder and looked above the ceiling and was shocked to find absolutely no insulation.

The result:

  • Electricity bills very high
  • Rooms don't cool well
  • Air conditioners fail prematurely
  • Thailand's power supply problems during hot months could be solved
  • Thailand's consumption of natural gas and oil for electric power (especially peak on hot days) could be reduced
  • Thailand's burning of polluting coal and lignite could be reduced

In every instance, I just went down to HomePro (and other outlets before HomePro came to Thailand) and bought rolls of insulation. Then I paid some laborers to put them on top of the ceiling.

This insulation pays for itself in just a few months in terms of electric bill alone. The additional benefits are obvious.

It's really in Thailand's best interests to deal with this problem one way or another thru consumer incentives and public inspectors.

I must advise you to be careful if you try to install insulation yourself. Many of the ceilings are very cheaply made, just hanging from wires from the roof. In the attic, you can walk around only on top of walls, or by hanging from the ceiling (swinging like a monkey). In my ceiling, we had to use a long pole to roll out the insulation to the end, and push things around.

The insulation in Thailand tends to be thin. Nonetheless, one layer will make a huge difference. Two layers is best.

If there's no ventilation in the ceiling (or very little), you may want to cut couple of holes and put in a vent.

While up in the ceiling, don't jump if a rat suddenly runs somewhere. (We had several but catch them in rat traps put up there. They come and go depending on whether a local restaurant conforms to hygiene practices.)

Condos don't have these problems, of course, unless you are on the top floor. However, I've been in condos where the top floor of the building was very hot (again, by standing on a desk and putting your hand on the ceiling, after noticing heat problems). This is simply very bad design by the builder, and there's not much you can do except add another ceiling (lower your ceiling).

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