Home Insulation 101 – How To Conserve Energy And Save Money

Home insulation is a key consideration for any homeowner and taking appropriate steps to effectively insulate your home can provide a variety of benefits. These include saving energy (ideal for those looking to cut down their carbon footprint!), cutting your costs (hello reduced heating bills) and generally keeping your home warmer in colder months.

In the face of further rising fuel bills and with this in mind, we’re offering you a ‘Home Insulation 101’ – letting you know how you can conserve energy and save money in the process…

Why Insulate?

According to Which?, “you could save up to £175 a year by insulating your loft and £135 with cavity wall insulation.” With savings like these, it is easy to see why so many are keen to insulate their homes.

Once your home has been insulated, it will provide you with savings time and time again, year after year. Home insulation really is worth the investment, especially given the availability of various incentivised insulation schemes. Many of which provide free, or heavily subsidised, insulation to eligible homeowners.

Key Areas Requiring Insulation

There are five key areas of the home which should be classified as priority areas in need of insulation – these are:

  • Attic/loft
  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces

Types Of Insulation

Of all home insulation types, perhaps the most well-known are described as cavity wall and loft insulation. We've explored a few of the options below…

1)      Cavity wall insulation: cavity wall insulation can be described as the placement of insulating materials between the exterior walls of your property. This material helps to minimise heat loss and also provides an additional benefit in the form of reduced condensation levels.

2)      Loft insulation: when it comes to loft insulation, insulation materials are placed between the ceiling and roof area. The recommended depth is 270mm (2.7cm), so if you already have insulation in place, ensure it adheres to this guideline for maximum effectiveness.

3)      Roof insulation: In non-insulated homes, the roof can account for approximately 25% of all heat loss. It is therefore a wise choice to ensure the area is adequately catered for when it comes to home insulation.

For flat roofs in particular, the level of heat loss can be minimised through the use of an effective insulating layer, usually placed on the external part of the roof and below a waterproof layer such as the protective EPDM membrane.

For pitched roofs, a foam material can be used inside the property to stifle heat loss. Alternatively, insulating boards can be placed among the rafters to provide the property with an additional level of protection against the cold. This method is commonly implemented as part of a loft conversion, which also involves the extra step of adding plasterboard to the inside of the roof.

4)      Draft proofing: Your home, whether new or old, will no doubt have a few drafts to speak of. Draft proofing is another step for homeowners to take when overhauling their home insulation. The difference it can make can be surprising and eliminating a consistent, cold draft can greatly improve the temperature inside your home. Draft proofing includes ensuring that windows and doors are appropriately sealed as well as identifying gaps within the walls or joins. For those of you with wooden floors, an insulating layer can also be placed under the floorboards for extra protection from the elements.

A less involved method of draft proofing includes the use of under-door draft excluders and letter box draft excluders. This will help to further protect against the flow of air and cold chills.

5)    Lagging water pipes and tanks: You can further cut your home’s level of heat loss by effectively insulating your pipes and water tanks. Consider using a heat loss jacket (with a thickness of 75mm+) for your tank and applying lagging materials to the surrounding pipes. According to the UK Energy Saving Trust, fitting a jacket will help reduce heat loss by 75%. This equates to savings which exceed the cost of investment in the jacket within the first year alone (the typical payback period is just 6 months), so it certainly makes sense to do so.

6)    Reflective radiator panels: reflective radiator panels are placed on the wall behind the radiator and serve to reflect valuable heat back into the room. This helps to minimise heat loss via the external wall and raises the room temperature, leading to cost savings and a lessened environmental impact.

How Does Insulation Work?

The material used for the insulation contains numerous air pockets. These air pockets help to prevent the flow of heat from inside the home – therefore serving to ‘lock in’ the heat and minimise heat loss from various parts of the property.

Within a non-insulated home, approximately  50% of heat loss will occur via the loft and walls, so effective insulation is especially important with regards to these two core areas of the home. A further 25% is typically lost through the roof – again, highlighting the importance of taking such measures to minimise heat loss and conserve energy.

Insulation Materials

A variety of insulation materials and product are available on the market, including:

  • Foam
  • Rolls and blankets
  • Boards
  • Loose fill

Such products are readily available from major DIY stores or to order online, so there is no excuse not to get hold of the materials you need to make a difference!

Ready to insulate?

Complete an audit of the key areas of your home and identify what is currently insulated and where additional improvements can be made.

It is also well worth checking out what your local energy saving trust or group have to say on the matter, as they will provide details of your local insulation schemes and offer general guidance on the topic.

Author bio: This article has been provided by www.ClassicBond.co.uk, UK providers of insulated EPDM flat roofs.

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