As the weather gets colder and the temptation to have the heating on for longer increases, making sure your home is well insulated is one of the best ways to keep your energy bills low, reduce your carbon emissions, and keep your house warm.
You can insulate your home in many different ways, from little fixes done on a budget, such as fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket, to more expensive and effective professional insulations, for example, wall insulation. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the best ways to keep your home warm and the cold out throughout winter.
Insulating your walls
It’s no surprise that the walls of your house are where a lot of heat can escape, approximately one-third of all the heat in a home which doesn’t have sufficient insulation. Insulating your walls is a great place to start and can save you a significant amount of money on your heating bills.
First thing first, you need to know what type of walls your home has to work out which is the best way to insulate them. Usually, a property will have solid walls, where the bricks have an alternating pattern, or cavity walls, which have an even pattern with all the bricks laid lengthways.
Properties built before 1920 usually have solid walls, which means they have no gap between the bricks so they can’t be filled with cavity wall insulation. If you’re unsure if you have solid walls, you can double-check by measuring the width of the wall, if it’s less than 260mm then it’s likely to be a single solid wall.
Insulating solid walls is more expensive than cavity walls, however, it can be done and will save you money in the long run. The process involves building out the wall either internally or externally with layers of insulating material, which is covered with boards or stud walls and cladding. This will retain the heat in your home.
The cost of insulation will depend on the size of the property, but a typical semi-detached home would cost approximately £7,400 for internal walls and £13,000 for external walls according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
This may seem like a large expense initially, however, it could reduce a household’s annual bill by approximately £710 according to the Energy Saving Trust, resulting in a more energy-efficient and warmer home, whilst being a major selling point when it comes to selling the house.
Properties built after the 1920s usually have cavity walls, i.e. a wall that is made up of two walls with a gap in between them. This means that they can be insulated by injecting insulation material into the space between them from the outside. This needs to be done by a professional as specialist equipment is required, and will usually take a couple of hours for the average house.
Similarly to solid walls, the cost of insulation will depend on the size of the property, however generally speaking you should be able to make back the cost of insulation in five years or less due to the savings on your energy bill. You can expect to pay approximately £725 to insulate a detached house, or about £475 for a semi-detached house, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Before you go down this route, you need to establish that your walls don’t already have cavity insulation, as many houses built after 1990 will do. You can do this by looking at the property’s Energy Performance Certificate and searching for the address. The EPC will state ‘filled cavity’ if the walls have already been insulated.
If you decide to insulate your walls, make sure to get a few different quotes from specialist installers which can be done through the following organisations:
Up to a whopping 25% of all heat can be lost through the roof, and getting it sorted is one of the most effective ways to cut down on your energy bills and ensure a cosy home. Insulating your roof, loft or attic can be a pretty straightforward process if you have easy access and there’s no damp.
There’s a variety of guides online on how to insulate your loft, which involves using rolls of mineral wool insulation which are layered between the joists and covering them.
If you are planning on doing it yourself, make sure to do your research first, as depending on what you use your loft for and the condition of it, there will be different factors to take into account.
The cost and savings of your loft insulation will depend on the size of the space and the level of insulation that you go for. As a rough guideline, according to Energy Saving Trust, a semi-detached house with 270mm of insulation would cost approximately £930 and could save up to £250 per year on energy bills. Not only that, but it could reduce your carbon footprint by approximately 620kg per year, so you’ll also be doing your bit for the planet.
If you live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat then insulating your floor is a very effective way to keep your property warm. To do this, firstly you’ll need to know what type of floor you have so you can choose the best type of insulation for your home. Older homes are more likely to have wooden or suspended timber floors, whilst newer modern homes are likely to have a floor made from concrete.
You can lift up a corner of carpet and underlay to see what floor you have underneath, or if you have access to a basement or cellar you may see wooden joists and the undersides of floorboards if you have a suspended wooden floor.
If your home has concrete floors, rigid insulation boards can be added on top of the original floor with additional chipboard flooring on top of it. However, be aware that with these extra layers, the level of the floor will be higher so you may need to take this into account with your doors.
Simply putting down good quality carpet and using rugs can also be a quick fix to keep the room warm and your feet toasty throughout the colder months.
If you live in an older property with timber floors, these can be insulated using mineral wool insulation, which is secured under the floorboards with netting laid between the joists. Or for a quick fix, using a tube of sealant in between the gaps in the floorboards and skirting boards will also help to reduce the draughts.
Insulating your floor you could save up to £75 per year in an average property, and would cost approximately £4700 for a suspended floor insulation, depending on the size of the house and circumstances.
Insulating your pipes
One of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to help keep your house warm is to insulate your pipes, water tank and radiators. Pipe insulation helps to reduce heat loss from hot water pipes, plus it stops them from freezing in cold weather which otherwise could result in a burst pipe. To insulate your pipes, all you need to do is choose the correct size product and material you require and fit it to your pipe according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
A hot water cylinder jacket is also a cheap and easy way to stop heat from escaping your water tank. A water tank jacket is easily fitted and sits snuggly around the tank to keep the heat in for as little as £22.
Radiator reflector panels can be used on radiators fitted onto external walls, as another low-cost and easy way to keep heat in. They work by reflecting the heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of through an external wall and outside, and cost approximately £15.
The cost and savings for each of these smaller insulations will depend on the size of the water tank, number of radiators and length of pipes, but in a semi-detached house in the UK, you could save up to £90 a year by adding up to 80mm insulation on a hot water tank.
We hope this blog post has given you some helpful information, and if you’d like any further information about moving house, get in touch for a friendly no-obligation chat.