As we are currently experiencing a ‘cold-snap’ in the weather I’m sure even more of us have considered what cost effective measures are available to make our home warmer.
There are many upgrades to your home that can help improve energy efficiency including upgrading your heating, installing smart controls and installing new windows and doors, but have you considered insulating your home?
New homes are typically built with excellent insulation and generally it is homes built before 1990 that can benefit from insulation.
Insulation is important because on a cold day, heat can escape from your home in all directions - up, down and sideways. This means that you should consider insulating the walls, roof and floor.
On average, walls will lose the most heat, around 30% and up to 40%. The roof will be next at around 25%.
What forms of insulation are available?
Cavity wall insulationIf your home was built after 1920, it’s likely to have cavity walls. Cavity walls are constructed from two walls with a gap between. This is the cavity and it’s this space that’ll be filled with insulation.
Solid wall insulation
Solid walls can lose twice as much heat as cavity walls. Insulation for solid walls can be fitted either internally or externally. Insulating internally is usually cheaper, but it will reduce internal floor space.
Loft and roof insulationInsulating your loft is perhaps the easiest of all the energy-saving home improvements and will involve laying insulation between and over the wooden joists immediately above the ceiling. Insulating your loft will mean the loft will become colder, so insulating tanks and pipes may also be required.
Insulating the roof involves installing insulation in the plane of the roof pitch that is immediately below the sloping roof. This form of insulation means that the loft becomes a heated space. So if you only use your loft to store items it may not be a worthwhile project.
Floor insulationAccording to the Building Materials website, floor insulation can help save up to £75 per year on heating bills and there’s the potential to reduce this even more by plugging the gaps around skirting boards. Sealing any gaps between skirting boards and floorboards can done using a sealant available from DIY sores.
In most cases it is only the downstairs that will need insulating unless there is a room above a garage. In older homes, floorboards can be lifted and insulation placed underneath. In new homes where floors are usually made from concrete, rigid insulation will need to be laid on top.
Generally, insulation work does not require planning permission from your local council. The exceptions may include external wall insulation and in areas where there are conservation schemes, however Building Regulations may still apply.
Building Regulations provide standards on how energy efficient any alterations to your home need to be. This means that there is a minimum amount of insulation which needs to be installed.
If you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure the work complies with Building Regulations. If you are employing a tradesperson, you should confirm at the start that they will take responsibility for compliance.
You can source a plumbing and heating contractor who is a member of APHC Certification’s Competent Person scheme and is able to self certify again specified scopes of work under Building Regulations at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk.