Gas and electricity prices are rising to the extent that many people are struggling to heat their homes.
One of the best ways to reduce energy use and save money on heating bills, is by installing insulation throughout your house so that you require less energy to heat the property.
The main reason to fit insulation in your home is, of course, to save money; but the cost of the materials and the installation still needs to be paid.
While all of us would love to have the most up-to-date and efficient insulation, the costs can mean that some people simply can’t afford to buy it.
Those on very low incomes and certain benefits are eligible for grants from energy companies, local authorities and the government to assist with the purchase of energy saving measures such as insulation.
Those who can afford the insulation still need to balance the initial cost against the potential savings; ideally the insulation should pay for itself over the course of a few years.
If you want to have insulation installed in your property to save money, but you are struggling to afford to pay for it, there are ways to reduce the overall cost.
Installing your own insulation
If you are capable with DIY and home repairs, then the best way to cut the cost of installing insulation is to fit it yourself. Doing it yourself is one of the easiest ways to achieve cheap loft insulation and it is one of the simplest types to fit; mineral wool insulation can be bought in rolls and laid out between the beams on the floor in the loft.
You can buy mineral wool insulation from any DIY shop or you can easily order it online. The insulation should be laid in two layers and should be at least 270mm thick. Be careful not to block any natural ventilation around the eaves and the edges.
You can also insulate your own floor if you feel confident enough, and could save a great deal of money by doing so. The cost of materials to insulate the ground floor of a property would be approximately £220, but the cost of having a professional fit it for you could be around £770.
If you opt to do it yourself you would have to lift the floor boards and lay insulation between the beams, being sure not to cover any air bricks in the outside wall. You can also use a silicon sealant to fill any gaps between the floor boards and the skirting boards.
Draught proofing is something else you could tackle on your own. You can buy self-adhesive sealant strips from most DIY shops, which can be pushed into place to seal gaps, which are allowing draughts.
You can use a sealant to seal any gaps around doors and windows, and fit brushes to the bottoms of doors to stop the flow of cold air. All of these things can be done quite easily by a competent person, and will save the money you would pay to have a professional do it for you.
Grants and offers to help with the cost
If you are unable to afford to have insulation installed in your home, there are several different grants and offers which you could be eligible for that can help pay for some or all of the costs. The government has regulated the industry and requires energy companies to offer grants for the installation of energy saving products in customers’ homes.
You can apply to any company whether they supply your energy or not, and most offer free or cheap insulation for people over 70 years of age, or people on certain benefits.
The government’s Warm Front Scheme offers substantial grants of up to £3,500 for households on certain benefits and who are living in houses with inadequate heating or insulation. The figure rises to a grant of £6,000 where an oil-based or alternative heating method is in use.
These grants can be used for a variety of different types of insulation, and if you are receiving benefits it is worth checking to see if you qualify.
Using a professional installer is the most expensive way of fitting insulation, but comes with several other benefits. It is difficult to significantly reduce cavity wall insulation cost as a specialist installer usually installs it.
If the installer is a member of the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), they will arrange for you to have a 25 year guarantee for the work. You can expect any work to be carried out to meet all relevant building regulations, and the installer will submit any building notices for you.
If you decide to use a professional to fit the cavity wall insulation, try to obtain at least three quotes and compare them to make sure you are getting the best deal. Ask to see details of the company’s CIGA registration, and check their reputation locally.
Installing insulation is a sure way to save energy and reduce your carbon emissions, and to save money by reducing your heating bills. The cost of having the insulation installed may put many people off as they simply cannot afford it, but if you are keen to have a more energy efficient home there are ways to reduce the cost.
Installing insulation in your own home will save a large amount on installer fees, and several types of insulation are very easy to install. Double glazing or cavity wall insulation are best left to the experts, but you can insulate the loft and the floor, and draught proof the property without the need of professional help.
Make sure you apply to energy companies and to the government and your local council to see if you qualify for subsidised insulation. You could well be eligible for reduced costs, free insulation (including free loft insulation) or grants to pay for it, if you are receiving benefits.
If you meet the criteria for the grants, and are living in a house that has poor heating and/or insulation, you could be awarded anything up to £3,500 to help pay for energy saving improvements like insulation.