Insulation is one of the most popular forms of green home improvement – and with good reason.
It has been estimated that the average property that does not have the benefit of home insulation could see owners forking out hundreds of pounds every year to pay for higher heating bills. This is because without wall, floor and loft insulation, adequate draught-proofing and double glazing, a building literally leaks away much of the warm air that is pumped into it by radiators, gas heaters or wood burning stoves.
As a result, people compensate by turning up their heaters higher or leaving them running for longer, resulting in larger bills.
And it is not just the wallet that an un-insulated property is bad for, but also the planet. Households who have to leave their heating running for longer in order to keep warm are consuming more fuel as a result. This, in turn, leads to more emissions being released into the atmosphere – something which can contribute to climate change.
So, to save money and protect the environment, there really has never been a better time to consider insulation.
But what choices are available? Well, there are so many areas of a property that can be insulated you have plenty to choose from! From cavity or solid wall insulation to floor and loft insulation, in addition to insulation for water pipes and tanks, double glazing and draught-proofing, there are many different ways in which you can ensure your property is running more efficiently.
Cavity wall insulation is one way to help keep heat inside where it belongs and net a reduction on energy bills at the same time. Many properties built after the early part of the 20th century typically have an outer shell made up of two walls with a small space between them and it is this cavity which can be filled to help keep warm air inside.
In addition to staying warm, this type of insulation can also help to reduce a build-up of condensation, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious damage to buildings in the future. Furthermore, it can help to reduce the sound that emits from your property.
If your property is older – such as if it was built before the 1920s – it may be that it has solid walls, rather than a cavity, but it may surprise you to learn that this too can be insulated. In cavity walls, the space itself can help to trap heat inside rather than letting it slip out, but the lack of a gap in solid walls means that they are actually less efficient at retaining hot air than their newer counterparts. By choosing either internal or external insulation on the outside or inside of walls, you could soon be enjoying some financial savings and a warmer home.
Once your walls are all as insulated as they can be, you will want to turn your attentions elsewhere in the home. Loft insulation is a good place to start. Just like your head, much of a home’s heat can escape through the top. It is recommended that your loft or attic is insulated to a depth of at least 270mm with mineral wool if you want to make a real difference to your property’s ability to retain heat.
While it does not make such a major impact financially, insulating your floor could still see you saving a small amount on your annual energy bills. And this is a job you could have a go at yourself, by filling any gaps in the floorboards or skirting boards with a sealant. Alternatively, you could arrange for an insulating layer to be installed beneath your current floor.
And it doesn’t end there – modern double glazing is proven to make a real difference to energy bills and the heat retaining capabilities of a property. And when all that is done you can turn to your own DIY skills by searching out any gaps or cracks in the walls and floors of your home and sealing them. Even placing a draught excluder at the base of a door is helping the planet in some way!
Installing wall, loft and floor insulation can be a big job and one that it is worth getting right in order to really feel the benefits. For this reason it may be worthwhile seeking the services of qualified and experienced tradesmen who have previously worked on eco friendly homes, rather than tackling the job yourself.