How To Insulate Your Home
The role of insulation is to prevent heat escaping from your home and there are a number of ways to do this, some of which are surprisingly simple and cheap. Our guide will show you how you can insulate your home and make a huge saving on your energy bills.
The main area where homes lose heat is through the walls and the roof. It has been shown in numerous studies that some houses are losing as much as 1/3 of their heat through the walls, and as much as ¼ of their heat through the roof. These two areas then seem like as good a place as anywhere to begin, though some heat is also lost through windows, doors and floors.
Insulating Your Loft
Installing loft insulation is relatively straightforward and once done, will be effective for roughly 40 years. The Energy Savings Trust have stated that a home without loft insulation will lose a quarter of its heat through the roof, which is certainly reason enough to do it.
Fitting loft insulation involves laying down insulation blankets – often called “quilts” – across the surface of the roof. These quilts should be at least 270mm thick. If you already have insulation then check that they meet this minimum, and if not, look at topping up to the recommended 270mm.
There are a number of different options for the material used for the quilts, including foil-backed felt, glass or mineral fibre. However, if you’d like a greener solution you can also consider sheet-loft insulation materials such as cork, straw and wood board.
Insulating Your Walls
The majority of houses built after 1990 have wall insulation to keep the heat in, but if your home is older than that then there is a very good chance that you have no wall insulation. As up to a third of all the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, it is important to insulate your walls.
The first thing you need to find out is what sort of walls you have, as this will affect what type of insulation you will need. Cavity walls are the easiest to insulate. These are walls with gaps between them (see image below) and are common in houses built after the 1920s. They can be easily insulated with cavity wall insulation, potentially saving you up to £140 per year in heating just from insulating your walls.
Insulating solid walls involves placing insulation on the external or internal side of the wall to keep the heat in. This is more costly than insulating a cavity wall, though you will also see greater savings on your heating bill. Other types of wall, such as steel-frame, timber-frame or prefabricated concrete will not have a cavity and it may be able to insulate them in a similar way to solid walls, though it’s always best to speak to a specialist to insulate a non-standard wall.
Insulating Your Floor
Floor insulation could save you around £60-75 per year. If you live in an older home with suspended timber floors, mineral wool insulation can be laid between the joists to greatly aid heat retention. Newer homes with a ground floor made of solid concrete will need rigid insulation to see any improvement. It is best to get a registered installer to do either of these jobs, though there are other ways of insulating your floor that you could do yourself.
Gaps and draughts around skirting boards and floors can be reduced with sealant (available from any DIY shop) and even thick carpet can make a significant difference to a room’s ability to keep the heat in.
Remember that you will not need to insulate upstairs rooms in your house if they’re above heated rooms, such as your living room, but insulation should be considered if they are above a garage, or similar unheated room.
Many homes install double or triple-glazing to better retain heat, as well as reduce noise. Installing energy-efficient windows such as these is a great way of reducing costs and improving the value of your property, which is worth remembering when looking at the initial cost of installation.
Windows, letterboxes, doors, fittings, pipe work and loft hatches can all create draughts where there are unwanted gaps between the structure of your home and these openings. Blocking these is a great way of retaining heat in your home. To find them, just hold your hand near the openings and sense any cold air leaking into the house. Draught excluders are the simplest way to block gaps around windows as well as your letterbox.
Getting Help To Pay For Insulation
There are a wide range grants and schemes for both homeowners and tenants that may enable them to get free insulation or reduce the cost of insulation. Many of these are related to the Government’s attempts to reduce CO2 emissions.
The Green Deal is a Government scheme intended to help you make energy-saving improvements to your home and find the best way to pay for them. They provide money for insulation, heating, draught-proofing, double glazing and renewable energy tools such as solar panels. Visit gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/overview to find out if you’re eligible for the scheme.
If you’re elderly, disabled, or receiving benefits then the Home Improvement Grant from the HIA (Home Improvement Agency) may be an option. Find out if you’re eligible for a grant at either the Foundations or Turn2us site.
Remember that even if you can’t find financial help for insulating your home it is still worth doing due to the amount of savings you will be making every year.
Installing Your Insulation
If you need advice in regards to insulating your home or are looking for a tradesman skilled in insulation please call us on 01634 241395 for a free, no-obligation quote.
CREDIT: GUILD OF MASTER CRAFTSMEN