Top tips on insulating your home without breaking the bank



As the energy crisis grows there’s a need to ‘get off gas’ as fast as possible, campaigners have said.

The price cap will rise by 54 percent from April, meaning the average household will see their energy bills rise by extra £693 a year.

The energy regulator Ofgem sets a new price cap – the maximum amount suppliers are allowed to charge their customers – every six months, and it affects around 22 million homes across England, Wales and Scotland.

And it’s increasing due to an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices.

The campaigns director of E3G, a climate change think tank, is urging the government to ensure all homes are well insulated by 2030.

Ed Matthew also says that accelerating the rollout of low carbon, electric heat pumps to replace gas boilers should be the country’s ‘number one infrastructure priority’ and it would be the best way for the UK to ‘level up.’

The UK has among the oldest and least energy-efficient housing stock in Europe, reports Wales Online.

But there are some rather simple ways to insulate your house, and not all of the solutions are pricey.

Here are the main ways you can stay warmer and save – an help the environment – at the same time…

Why bother insulating?

Three main reasons: Comfort, cash, and carbon dioxide. An insulated home retains heat far more effectively, so will help ensure you feel warm and snug and sealed off from the elements when winter strikes. Effective insulation can also save you a great deal of money in the longer-term – potentially hundreds of pounds a year.

A home that guzzles less gas inevitably cuts carbon emissions too, and if you’re unsure how efficient your home is, it’s worth having it assessed. Most companies that deal with energy efficiency will come out to your house and do a survey.

Simple switches that add up

Insulation may sound quite technical, but making your home more heat-savvy can also be as simple as buying a nice furry rug.

Soft furnishings provide an extra barrier to radiant heat loss, and even a poster or picture on the wall can aid retention. For bigger gains, consider a thick woolen carpet or wide wall hanging, and ‘dress’ any bare windows with curtains.

Draft-proofing can be a simple but effective measure too – and DIY-friendly. After all, all you’re doing is, quite literally, papering over the cracks.

Self-adhesive foam strips work wonders for covering gaps around windows, door frames and loft hatches – a cheap and easy buy from your local hardware store. Consider a keyhole cover for your front and back door – a small metal plate that stops the wind from whistling in – and shore up your letterbox with a letterbox brush.

Cracked walls can be mended with a dollop of cement or hard-setting fillers, while a professional could install a suitable draught-stop into an out-of-service chimney.

Remember, when blitzing cracks and crevices, it’s essential not to block any of the intentional ventilation needed to air out your home. Extractor fans, underfloor grilles and trickle vents should all be left undisturbed.

Portable draft excluders for the bottoms of doors are cheap, available off-the-shelf and come shaped as tube trains, sausage dogs and any number of other fluffy animals. Despite their simplicity, they work pretty well.

Alternatively, pay a professional to draft-proof your whole home in one fell swoop. It’s comparatively costly, – but will save on time and effort, and, depending on your skill level, could yield far sturdier results.

A structural shift

Simple measures aside, the biggest heat losses will be coming from within the very fabric of your home. Warm air rises, and estimates suggest that an uninsulated home suffers roughly a quarter of all heat loss through the roof.

If your loft space is for storage only, you can simplify the process by insulating the floor with strips of mineral wool. DIY-savvy homeowners can attempt this themselves – but remember, this is no IKEA flat-pack.

Research the process thoroughly and, if in doubt, send for the specialists. Insulating the roof itself should always be done by a professional, usually with rigid insulation board or spray-on foam.

Don’t forget the walls

If loft insulation is your home’s snug bobble hat, wall insulation is its cozy winter coat. First of all, you need to know what sort of wall your property has. Most UK homes are either ‘solid wall’ – single slabs of brick or stone – or cavity walls, that leave a space between two layers of concrete or brick.

The age of your house is often a giveaway, as homes built before the 1930s are generally likely to be solid. There are other, more mercurial clues: “If your home is made of entirely horizontal brick then you’ve probably got a cavity,” says Robson. “If you have a mixture of bricks laid horizontally and end-to-end, that’s generally a sign that the wall is solid.”

Cavity walls installed in the last 15 or 20 years probably already have some insulation, otherwise both types can benefit. Solid walls insulate extremely poorly and haemorrhage heat and money, but can cost in the thousands to insulate properly.

Cavity walls are much more effective insulators, but householders may still benefit from insulation that can be installed at a fraction of the cost. Homeowners should not even consider attempting these tasks themselves – call in the professionals and get an assessment up front.

Pimp your pipework

Uninsulated water tanks and pipes exude heat too, driving up the energy – and money – required to warm your radiators and shower.

A jacket for your water tank costs £15-20, and should come with instructions for assembly. Pipes can be protected with foam tubing that you simply slip on, provided you buy the right size. Potential pitfalls come from accessibility – if your waterworks are hard to reach, you may need a professional after all.




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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