How to insulate your home and save on your energy bills

Working out what insulation projects to tackle can be difficult and often needs to be decided on a house-by-house basis, making it difficult for homeowners to know where to begin. Here are the top alternatives to consider

Loft insulation

With the Government now offering grants on cavity wall and loft insulation, this has prompted many homeowners to start thinking about saving energy.

Steve Euden Jnr from Hillshaw Roofing is a Rated People tradesman who has been inundated with requests to install insulation alongside roofing repairs.

Hillshaw Roofing typically fit glass wool insulation as it’s “relatively cheap and easy to install, lasts up to around 40 years and saves homeowners approximately £140 per annum”.

Insulating a loft only costs between £300 and £500 for materials and installation, making it one of the most cost effective ways to save energy in the home.

Wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation is the obvious choice for modern homes without existing wall insulation. The procedure involves drilling holes and filling an air space with materials such as glass fibre wool, a method particularly suitable for the majority of homes built after the 1930’s.

With the grants available for this type of insulation, the typical cost of insulating a three-bedroom house is only around £250, with a payback of less than 3 years.

Period properties, on the other hand, tend to lack cavities between the walls and are therefore classed as "hard-to-treat" insulation projects. Often the only viable solution is plaster boarding interior walls, which can reduce the size of a room by a few inches and also detracts from period features such as plaster work. Insulating period properties can become even more problematic if the property is listed, for this reason custom solutions are often required.

Floor insulation

Mark Bull of Room Solutions, a Rated People thermal insulation specialist from Surrey, says that homeowners shouldn’t forget about the insulation possibilities for floors.

Few realise it is possible to put insulation foam between the joists underneath the floor to stop cold air rising up. This is something to bear in mind as there’s an increasing trend in replacing carpets with original floor boards and hard laminate flooring, which make houses draughtier.

Standard floor installation cost for floor insulation starts at around £40 a sq metre.

Eco insulation

Alongside the more conventional synthetic insulation methods, there are more natural, greener insulation materials available, such as sheep’s wool. This renewable resource, which requires little energy to produce, has the same thermal performance level as fibre glass.

Wool is ideal for loft insulation, but it is one of the more expensive solutions, costing from around £20 a sq metre plus installation. Hemp is another green material – comparable in cost to wool insulation - with great acoustic attributes that are naturally resilient to insect attacks.

These natural materials are more expensive than conventional ones, but on the plus side they are healthy, sustainable choices.

Additional energy-saving home improvements:

With energy prices soaring, every little helps. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to reduce gas and electricity bills, while doing your bit for the environment:
1. Draught excluders fitted to doors, windows and letter boxes.
2. Energy-efficient light bulbs, which can last up to 10 times longer and use 80 per cent less energy than a standard bulb.
3. Fit kitchen foil behind radiators against the outside wall to reflect heat back into the room.
4. Position furniture away from radiators and don’t fit long curtains that cover radiators.
5. Fit heavy, well-lined curtains and blinds which can be drawn at night to reduce heat loss.

* If you are in need of an insulation specialist post your job for free on and up to three quality, local tradesmen will contact you with quotes.

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