Insulating your house well is beneficial both in terms of saving energy and saving money. A well insulated house is also much nicer to live in than a draughty house (obviously). However, undertaking a complete insulation job could be expensive if done at one time. Here we look at the various different ways you can improve the insulation of your home, as well as the best practical order to carry them out if completing them all in one go is unrealistic.
Hot Water Cylinders and Pipes
You can make a considerable saving by making sure your hot water storage cylinder and any exposed pipework is lagged properly. You can read our full guide to Lagging Pipes and Water Tanks here.
A large percentage of the heat from your radiators is lost through the wall (if sited on an external wall). You can reduce this loss by applying metal foil to the wall behind the radiator. The foil will reflect the heat back into the room, resulting in the room heating more quickly, which in turn means you can use the heating for shorter periods. This will obviously save both energy and money. It is also important to make sure that radiators are working efficiently and that they do not need bleeding.
Draughtproofing Doors and Windows
For just a few pounds, you can buy self adhesive draughtproofing strips. These are easy to apply to the door and window frames and will make a considerable difference, especially if you have old, ill-fitting doors and windows. You should also consider fitting an escutcheon plate over any keyholes in doors and a draught excluding cover to the letterbox.
Roof and Loft Insulation
Up to a quarter of all heat lost in your home is lost through the roof. It is therefore important to make sure that the roof space is properly insulated. There are various materials you can use to insulate your loft including foam and mineral wool. Before undertaking this job, it is worth checking with your local council to see if there are any grants available in your area.
Depending on the construction of house, insulating the walls can be a very good investment. A large percentage of heat lost from your home is lost through the walls (about 35%), but bear in mind that it will take a fairly long time to recoup the considerable expense this sort of job will entail. Adding insulation to a cavity wall is a difficult task and not really one which can be carried out by anyone. Employ an experienced contractor or you may end up doing more harm than good.
Insulating a concrete floor requires a considerable amount of work, but it can be done by the average DIY-er, if you follow a few simple rules. You can read more about insulating a concrete floor here.
If you have a suspended wooden floor, you can add insulation in a similar way to insulating your loft. Lifting all the floorboards is obviously a fairly big job, so most people might not be willing to undertake this unless the boards are already having to be lifted for other reasons. The crawl space underneath the floorboards needs to remain clear to aid ventilation, but by stapling netting to the underside of the floor joists, you can create a space for mineral wool to be laid.
Probably the most expensive of all the insulation options, double glazing is nevertheless one of the quickest ways to make your home feel warmer and to save energy. Aside from that, double glazing will add value to your house and reduce noise from outside. The return on your investment will be slow, but there is no doubt you will save money on heating bills.
Heat Loss Statistics
The “average” house will lose up to:
- 35% of its heat through the walls
- 25% through the roof
- 25% from the doors and windows
- 15% through the floor.