Ensuring your home is properly insulated could make a big difference when it comes to energy efficiency and lowering your energy bills. Whether your home is a new build, or an older home, adding insulation to the existing structure is a move that pays for itself by helping you save energy.
It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to insulation, and it’s perfectly normal to wonder ‘how much energy does insulation save?’. You could have an energy assessment carried out on your home, helping to identify any areas where you’re losing heat, meaning you can choose the ideal home insulation solution for you. If you’re in rented accommodation or social housing, it could be your responsibility to make these improvements. If you think there is an opportunity, seek your council, housing association or landlords’ permission before going ahead with any alterations.
Once installed, you should find that your house feels warmer and more comfortable. Not only that, but you’ll immediately notice your smart meter needs topping up less often. Come the end of the month, you’ll feel a lot more positive about your energy bill.
Heat escaping from your home means you’re paying a high price for wasted energy. There are numerous areas where this heat can escape from, and you should consider them all when looking at home insulation solutions. The four main areas where energy can escape from are your roof, walls, floor, and windows and doors.
Even though heat can escape in all manner of directions, the general rule is that it travels upwards. This makes roof insulation vitally important when it comes to energy saving. Loft insulation can often be installed by residents of the home, provided the roof joists are accessible and there are no pre-existing issues with damp.
Loft insulation works by inserting mineral wool between the joists, this acts to fill the gaps where heat energy will usually escape and keep it within the home. Whilst it is possible to fit this yourself, it may be worth speaking to a professional installer as, if done incorrectly, it can lead to problems with damp.
Most houses built in the last 100 years will have cavity walls – meaning that the outer walls are made up of two walls with a gap in the middle. Cavity wall insulation aims to fill this gap, reducing the amount of heat energy escaping which helps to keep your house warm as efficiently as possible.
Cavity wall insulation is not a job you can do yourself; it will require a professional to install it. When installing, the cavity walls will be injected with the best type of insulation for your home, this could include polystyrene beads or polyurethane foam amongst others.
Properties of an older age – early 20th century and before – will more than likely be built with solid walls rather than cavity walls. Whereas cavity walls have a gap in between that can be filled with insulation, solid walls lack this feature so the insulation is applied to the exterior or interior of the wall instead. You should check if your property is solid wall and seek specialist advice from an installer.
Internal solid wall insulation can be completed by one of two methods. The first involves applying insulation boards to the wall, which acts as a barrier to prevent heat loss. Alternatively, a stud wall can be built and filled with insulation material, similar to that of a cavity wall. However, there are pitfalls to this including disruption in your home and also a reduction of floor space.
External wall insulation involves adding a system of thermal insulating material to the wall, and then cladding or rendering being applied over the top. It can be finished in a variety of different ways from smooth, panelling or even pebble-dashing. External wall insulation can help in terms of moisture and condensation issues, as well as protecting the building itself. However, you may have to seek local planning advice if considering this as an option.
Stopping heat from escaping through the roof or walls is important, however, to leave the floors without insulation could prove to be a mistake. Note that floor insulation should only need to be carried out on your ground floor.
Floor insulation works by inserting insulation underneath the floorboards, meaning there is nowhere for the heat to escape by moving downwards. The type of insulation used will depend on the floor that you have in your home, with new homes often having solid concrete floors and older houses likely to have suspended timber floors.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to cut energy costs in the home, draught proofing has two simple objectives: stop cold air from getting in and stop warm air from getting out.
There are a number of ways you can do this, and most can be done by yourself. Positioning some draught excluders at the bottom of your doors will help keep heat in, and any draughty windows can be sealed up using self-adhesive foam.
If you do choose to have insulation installed into your home, it’s important that you find the right installer to help guide you on the right choices for you and carry out the work. Any insulation work should come with a guarantee and be carried out by an installer registered with either the National Insulation Association (NIA), the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), or the British Board of Agrément (BBA).
For those in social housing, there are insulation specialists that can gain government grants to cover some or all of the cost of insulation. It’s worth researching some options online before getting in touch with your local council or housing association to propose the work.
Having home insulation fitted comes with many benefits, your home should remain warmer and you’ll rely less on having to turn on the central heating every time you feel a slight chill. All of this means that your smart meter should be giving you lower readings and you’ll be spending less money on your energy bills
Whilst the cost and potential savings differ depending on the size of your home and how much insulation you install, the Energy Saving Trust have put together guidance on the average cost and the money you can expect to save through any investment.
Based on a semi-detached house, the Energy Saving Trust advises that solid wall insulation can vary from around £7,000 for internal wall insulation to around £13,400 for external wall insulation.
The amount that you save also depends on other variables such as the type of heating in your home and personal preferences when it comes to temperature. However, what is clear is that insulation presents a lot of opportunities to save on energy and keep your home warm and cosy.
Investing in home insulation often requires a significant upfront cost, and the years it could be until you see a return puts many off making improvements. Still, there are options if you find that the initial cost is just too much.
The Energy Company Obligation (or ECO) is a scheme that supports low income households who are looking to make their home more energy efficient. There are a number of improvements you can get financial help with, one of which is cavity wall and loft insulation.
Head to the government’s energy advice website to find out if you’re eligible for the scheme.
If you’re currently in social housing or renting a property, it’s always worth a conversation with your landlord or housing association, as you’ll likely need their permission. They may be able to take advantage of some of these schemes and can help both you and them save money in the long-term.
Having insulation fitted in your home is just one way of saving money on your energy bills. Having a smart meter installed by Boost is another option, providing you with a simple way to take control of your energy consumption, alongside a simple and easy app.