How Thermal Insulation Can Improve Your Home And Save You Money

There are many simple yet effective ways to insulate your home, which can significantly reduce heat loss and lower your heating bill

It’s essential in this eco-friendly age to do everything we can to reduce fuel consumption by minimising heat loss in our houses. In fact, if you own a rental property there are energy efficiency standard regulations you must conform to.

For homeowners, it should be enough to know that efficient insulation will help you to stay toasty in your home without wasting a fortune on fuel.

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The Energy Saving Trust says that a quarter of domestic heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Fitting loft insulation is a fairly easy job which should last for up to 40 years and pay for itself many times over.
Before you fit it, though, make sure that you have resolved any underlying damp problems by eliminating leaks, checking ventilation to prevent condensation, and treating any damp patches.

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Mineral wool laid between joists and then over them at right angles is an easy DIY job. If you want to floor the loft, you should raise the floor on battens to allow for the dual layers of insulation. Leave an air gap to prevent condensation.

The U-value is a measure of how quickly heat will travel through part of a building. To achieve the usual standard of 0.25 W/m2K or less for a floor, for instance, you will normally need at least 70mm of high-performance foam insulation, or 150mm of mineral wool, varying depending on floor type, shape and size.

Rafters can be insulated using insulation board, mineral wool or spray polyurethane foam. Inaccessible areas can be insulated with blown insulation. Don’t forget gable ends, party walls and chimneys. This is a job for professionals.

If you use your loft as a living space make sure there is insulation between it and any heated rooms.

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Cavity walls

Responsible for around a third of heat loss, cavity walls can be insulated by injecting insulation material into the cavity from the outside. A specialist company will drill holes in the outside walls, inject insulation through the holes and then seal them with cement. The insulation material used is usually either a mineral wool or polystyrene beads, but polyurethane foam may sometimes be used instead.

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Lagging pipes, putting jackets on hot water tanks and reflectors on radiators, insulating between and under floorboards, fitting draught excluders to chimneys, plugging gaps in brickwork and putting insulating strips around door and window frames are among the cheapest and most effective forms of insulation. Don’t forget that covering the smallest gaps like keyholes and letterboxes will all be worthwhile – every little helps hold in the heat! ■

This feature – How Thermal Insulation Can Improve Your Home And Save You Money – was originally published in Property & Home with Martin Roberts, Winter 2020 issue – read more here.

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