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Home Insulation - A Guide to Improving Efficiency

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Home Insulation

A Guide to Improving Efficiency

Do I need insulation?

The average home spends an estimated 50 – 70 % of its total energy budget on heating and cooling. Good insulation is one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption and can help can save around £300 - £400 per year for a typical 3 bedroom semi detached family home.

What are the Benefits?

Reduced Energy Costs
A well insulated home can help you make significant savings on your home energy costs. Installing insulation is one of the most effective ways to help save money on your bills.

Lower CO2 Emissions
A well insulated home means there is less heat escaping into the atmosphere. It also means less energy is wasted heating your home, helping you to be kinder to the environment.

Reduced Noise Pollution
Insulation can help you cut down on both the noise escaping from your home and the noise entering your home from outside.

Reduced Condensation
For many homes condensation is a real problem, particularly the winter. Insulation helps reduce moisture levels in the home and minimses condensation build up.

Improved Comfort
A well insulated home means you can stay warm in winter, free from drafts or discomfort. It enables you to manage temperatures more easily, meaning you can also feel the benefit during warmer months.

Increased Property Value
Homes with a poor energy rating can demand a lower selling price or be more difficult to sell than well insulated homes, making insulation a sensible investment.

What type of insulation do I need?

Loft Insulation

Around 25% of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Most DIY loft insulation jobs pay for themselves within 2-5 years following which they will help to put money back in your pocket.

With regular joists, insulation can be installed relatively easily using insulation rolls. Insulation rolls are laid between the joists, can be used in layers and are available in a choice of thickness. Polystyrene sheets are a cost effective way to improve insulation installed between the joists and ceiling and can be used in all levels of the home as well as to insulate walls and floors.

Foil insulation is a high performance solution – the layered design means the same results can be achieved with a product 3-5 times thinner than standard insulation. Foil insulation is easy to handle an install, and helps to save space.

Wall Insulation

Cavity Walls

A typical 3-bedroom semi-detached home with cavity walls could save around £150/year with correct insulation. Most homes built after 1920 have cavity walls. Recently built houses will likely already have cavity wall insulation already installed.

Cavity wall insulation is installed by drilling holes in the exterior, into which insulation is blown. Cavity wall insulation is made from mineral wool, beads or foam. For a professional installer using the right equipment it is relatively quick and easy to install.

Solid Walls

A typical 3-bedroom semi-detached home with solid walls could save around £500/year with correct insulation.

Most houses built before 1920 have solid walls. If you have solid walls, cavity wall insulation will not be suitable. Solid walls can be insulated from within using insulated plasterboard fixed to the wall inside the home. Alternatively a stud wall can be installed and filled with mineral wool.

External insulation is also available for solid walls, fitted to the exterior of the property and covered with render or cladding.

Floor Insulation

Installing floor insulation on the ground floor of your property can help save up to £60/year in a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached home.

Insulation between floors can also help to improve the efficiency of the property. Polystyrene sheets are an effective and simple to install way to insulate your floor. Polystyrene can be cut to fit between joists, installed on top of an existing floor and covered with a layer such as chipboard, or installed below floor screeds.

by Phillip Lidgerton

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