For homeowners looking to make their home more energy efficient as a means of reducing their home heating bills, one of the most effective ways is to invest in home insulation for lofts and cavity walls.
If your home isn’t properly insulated, up to a quarter of all the heat will be lost through your roof, with in the region of a third lost through the walls. Therefore it makes sense to make sure your property is adequately insulated if you want to keep your heating bills as low as possible and help your home to retain its warmth.
And given that there are a variety of free or subsidised schemes available which have been established to help homeowners get their lofts and walls properly insulated, it shouldn’t cost the earth to make your home more energy efficient.
As it stands, UK households are responsible for around 25% of carbon emissions, so by installing cavity wall and loft insulation you’ll also be doing your bit for helping the country meet its emissions targets.
Most homes are not adequately insulated and lofts are no exception. According to the Energy Saving Trust, lofts, attics and roof spaces should be insulated to a depth of 270mm but the thicker the insulation the less heat you will lose. Loft insulation material is laid both between and over the floor joists and there are generally two types of loft insulation – loose granular beads and the blanket or quilt type insulation which comes on a roll.
Various materials are used to insulate lofts, but mineral wool and fibreglass are the two most common. Other types of insulating materials include insulation made from sheep’s wool, recycled newspapers, mineral wool or a fire-resistant cellulose fibre. Because they are more environmentally friendly these materials cost considerably more. And given that specialist equipment is used to blow the loose material into a sectioned off area to the depth required, a professional should only install this type of loft insulation.
Unlike cavity wall insulation, insulating lofts, attics and roof spaces with blanket insulation is a job that can be done by capable DIY and home improvement enthusiasts. As long as the areas are easily accessible and damp and condensation isn’t an issue it should be relatively straightforward. Always remember to wear a protective mask and gloves.
Another cost effective method of home insulation, cavity wall insulation will help you achieve significant savings on your heating bills. Houses built after the 1920s tend to have cavity walls. Older homes will usually have solid walls and in the case of properties built from the 1980s and 1990s onwards they are most likely going to have been built with insulation in the walls as standard. Properties with cavity walls have two walls, an outer and an inner wall, which have a gap – known as a cavity – in between them.
Having your wall cavities filled will require a visit from an insulation specialist and will take between 2 to 3 hours in the case of an average 3 bed property. After the installer drills small holes of approximately 22mm into the wall, at 1m intervals, insulating material – for example polystyrene beads or mineral wool – will then be pumped into your external walls. The brickwork of your property will need to be in good condition for the process to be undertaken.
Whether you’re installing loft or cavity wall insulation, both types of insulation measures have various benefits and advantages, including:
Costs will depend on the size of the property, but according to the Energy Saving Trust will be in the region of £500 for cavity wall insulation, whereas loft insulation will be around £250 to £350. Cavity wall insulation could save you up to £135 on your annual heating bills, with loft insulation able to achieve up to £175 in the case of an uninsulated average three bedroom semi-detached insulated to a depth of 270mm.
There are numerous grant schemes which are able to provide financial assistance as a means of subsidising the cost of home insulation, and in some cases (age dependent or receiving certain benefits) can even be provided for free under Government incentives.