Home Improvement

Saving Money and Energy With Home Insulation

Did you know that uninsulated walls can be responsible for almost 35% of a home’s heat loss? Even if you run your radiators on full power, the warm air will most likely find a way out of your house through uninsulated walls or a roof, leaving you with over-the-top electricity bills.

The preventative measure, in this case, will be to regulate the heat loss by installing a layer of insulating material. However, instead of jumping right into a DIY project or hiring contractors, we suggest researching whether you need home insulation at all. 

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So, if you are:

  • Searching for a guide that will help you understand what insulation is;
  • Wondering where you might need to install insulation;
  • Not certain which type of insulation is right for you,

Then keep on reading!

What is home insulation?

When we talk about home insulation, we mainly mean “thermal insulation”. Any material used to prevent the movement of heat through the walls is called thermal insulation. As the heat naturally moves from warmer places to cooler ones, it can become troublesome to keep a house warm during winter times. 

To prevent heat from escaping, it’s necessary to install a protective layer of insulation that slows the process of heat loss through the walls. Apart from keeping your house warm during winter, insulation also serves as protection against the outdoor heat during hot summer months. 

By reducing the heat loss (or gain), you improve not only the environment of your home but also reduce the energy input. As a result, you have comfortable living conditions and lowered electricity bills.

How do you decide whether you need insulation?

Before bringing your insulation project to life, you need to understand all the factors contributing to the energy consumption of your house. That way you will be able to create the best strategy for energy efficiency improvement. With that being said, assess your house on the following:

  • Building structure – Some houses might have been redesigned during their lifetime. This involves the usage of various building materials and components and their influence on the heat transfer of the building. The older the house, the higher the chance is that is has been redesigned multiple times;

If you are an owner of an old house, you can find the Historic England website quite useful

  • Location of the building -the exposure to sun, wind, and rain is unavoidable; however, depending on the area your house is located, the building’s energy use will vary;
  • Existing insulation – check the attic, walls, floors, garage, or basement;
  • Depth and thickness of the existing insulation – a good layer of insulation should fill in the gaps between joists.

To save yourself from crawling all-around your house in search of insulation signs and measuring its thickness with a ruler, the easier option would be to get your house professionally checked. A proper energy assessment will help you determine the level of your house’s energy-efficiency, including the level of insulation and provide useful tips on energy efficiency improvement.

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Where do you install insulation in a house?

When thinking of home insulation, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is walls and windows. But what if we tell you that there are more places, that might let the cold air in? Of course, the final decision remains with you, however, it won’t hurt anyone to have a look at the other places in your house. 

Cavity wall insulation

The cavity walls consist of two thinner brick walls and an air gap between them (cavity). Usually, the age of the building should tell you if you have cavities. If that air space is not filled, your house loses heat faster, meaning that more energy is required to create optimal thermal comfort. 

To check if you already have the insulation installed, you can ask the building control department for the records, or conduct a borescope inspection. 

Solid wall insulation

If your external walls are thinner than 10 inches, then most likely you have a solid wall. There are two ways of insulating such walls:

  • insulating walls from the inside, by adding rigid boards to the wall;
  • externally, by fitting a separate stud wall form the outside and filling the gap between the initial wall and the newly-built one.

Floor insulation

Floor insulation is usually done using thermal floor panels, polystyrene, or blanket insulation products. It is mainly required on the ground levels, where the floor is exposed to a cold space. Rooms that are located above the basement or cellar are a vivid example of places in your home that will most likely need floor insulation. 

Roof and loft insulation

Insulating the roof space is the easiest way of minimising the heat loss of your house. Usually, the project is quite cost-efficient, as it will pay itself off over a short period of time in bills savings. Moreover, the insulation is quite simple even for an inexperienced DIYer. Exactly due to these reasons, this method is the most loved by home improvement enthusiasts. Unless there are damp issues on your loft or the roof space is too tight, you can safely purchase some blanket insulation and install it yourself. 

Windows and doors

With window and door insulation, it is important not to overdo it, as you risk sealing all the gaps and preventing the natural airflow. Stuffy and wet air creates ideal conditions for condensation formation and eventually can result in mould growth.

There are several options for window and door draught-proofing: draught excluders, weatherstrips, or sealants. If you have a letterbox or a chimney, to prevent heat loss, you might want to install draught excluders there as well.

Accessing your level of insulation 

Understanding the current level of your property’s insulation is the first step towards energy efficiency improvements. Instead of spending a lot of time searching for signs of previously installed insulation, better obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The insulation of your property will be assessed based on the rating that shows the thermal transmission through the walls, floor and roof. After the visual inspection, they will give you the final results on your property’s energy efficiency and recommendations for potential improvements.

Need to get your house professionally assessed?

Check for available slots in your area.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH
  • We’re certified:

Takeaways

  • Home insulation is a protective layer of material that prevents your house from losing heat;
  • Inspect your house carefully before improving the insulation. If you have damp problems, you need to deal with those first;
  • If you are unsure whether your house has insulation installed, you can check it with the building control department or by getting an Energy Performance Certificate for the whole energy efficiency picture of your house; 
  • The factors affecting the insulation installation are building structure, location of the building, existing insulation, and its depth and thickness;
  • For the best energy performance, you might consider installing insulation all around your house.

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Did you find this post useful or maybe want to share something relevant to the topic? Leave your comment in the section below.

Image source: depositphotos/Suljo 

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