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Introduction to Home Insulation

The price of electricity and gas is spiralling in the UK and many people are looking at ways to save energy to reduce their utility bills.

Insulating your home is an excellent way to reduce the amount of energy you use to heat your house and save money on heating bills.

Improving the insulation of your property will add value to the home.

The best way to reduce your energy usage is to improve your home insulation.

Improving the efficiency of your property will also add value to the house, so it is a sound economic decision to insulate as much as possible.

 

Cavity Wall Insulation

Cavity wall insulation will cost approximately £50-£300 to install, depending on the size of your house, but could save up to £110 per year on heating bills and will quickly pay for itself.

Cavity walls are built in two layers, an inner and an outer wall. The gap between layers is referred to as the cavity. To check if you have cavity walls, look at the pattern of the brickwork.

If you can only see the long side of the bricks then you have cavity walls, but if you can see an irregular pattern of long and short sides of the bricks then you have a solid wall.

Insulating material such as mineral wool, plastic beads or rubber foam is pumped into the cavity by installers, through holes which they drill in the outer wall.

Once the cavity is filled the holes are sealed. If your home was built within the last ten years you are likely to already have insulated walls, but if your property is older you could benefit from cavity wall insulation.

Use a professional installer for the job as they will be able to arrange a 25 year guarantee through the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA).

 

Loft Insulation 

Loft insulation works in principle in the same way as a blanket. Insulation materials in the loft stop heat escaping from your house and could reduce heating bills by up to £45 per year.

The rolls of mineral wool insulation are laid out flat between the beams on the floor of the loft, normally in a double layer. To get the best effect from loft insulation it should be around 270mm thick.

This type of insulation can be easily installed by DIY enthusiasts and materials are readily available from DIY shops. It is important to lay the insulation without causing problems with ventilation, so if you are not confident it may be best to contact a professional installer.

 

Floor Insulation

Wooden floor boards, particularly in older properties can be cold and draughty. Insulating the floor could save up to £50 a year on heating bills and reduce your carbon emissions by around 180kg of CO2 per year.

Rolls of mineral wool insulation are laid out flat between the beams on the floor of the loft

Loft insulation works in principle in the same way as a blanket.

You can lay insulation underneath the floor boards and fill the gaps between floor boards and skirting boards to stop cold air getting in. It will cost around £20 for materials to seal any gaps and about £200 for materials to insulate the entire ground floor of a property.

You can insulate the floor yourself if you are confident with DIY, but otherwise an installation from a professional installer will cost around £750-£800.

A sealant such as silicon can be used to seal any gaps between the floor and skirting boards. To lay insulation, the floor boards are lifted and mineral wool is laid between the beams.

This prevents cold air from coming through. It is important not to block any under-floor airbricks which may be on the outside wall as these allow the flow of air and stop floorboards from rotting.

 

Draught Proofing

Draught proofing is a simple way to keep your home warmer and is a task, which you can easily undertake yourself. It will save around £25 per year on heating bills and will make your home feel more comfortable.

If you can feel cold air coming into the house, particularly around windows and doors, then you will also be losing warm air. You can draught proof by fitting brushes to the bottoms of doors, by using self-adhesive sealant strips to fill gaps, or by spraying foam insulation into gaps around doors and windows.

It is very important to retain a good level of airflow throughout the house when you install draught proofing, as it prevents the build up of condensation and mould.

 

Double Glazing

Most new homes are built with double glazing, but if you live in an older property with single glazing you could cut heat loss in half by installing double glazed windows.

It works by fitting two panes of glass into a frame and pumping gas into the cavity between them. It can save around £85 -£135 per year on heating bills, reduce outside noise and prevent draughts.

Double glazing also helps to reduce condensation; air condensates when it comes into contact with cold surfaces like windows, but the inner pane of a double glazed window remains warm to prevent this.

The cost of installation can vary greatly depending on the size of house and the type of windows, but you could expect to pay £2,500 to £6,000 for a complete installation.

 

Water tank and Pipe Insulation

Wrapping a layer of insulation around your water tank and water pipes could save around £45 per year and will only cost about £120 to install. By insulating the tank and pipes you make it harder for heat to escape and therefore use less energy to keep the water warm.

The tank should have a hot water jacket wrapped around it, which should have around 75mm of fibreglass padding. Pipes can be insulated with mineral wool tape which can be wrapped around them, or pre-formed insulation foam which can be fitted around the pipes.

 

House Insulation Summary

 With the cost of energy continuing to rise, it is sensible to look at ways to save power and reduce your heating bills. One of the best ways to reduce your energy usage is to improve your house insulation.

Reducing heat loss results in the use of less power to heat your home and savings can run into hundreds of pound per year.

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