Temperatures have plummeted and it’s cold and frosty outside. Staying warm can be costly, so effectively insulating your home this winter is a good way to start cutting down those energy bills. There are many simple yet efficient ways to insulate your home in this icy weather. They won’t cost you a fortune and they’ll help you save money on your energy bills.
Roof and loft Insulation
Did you know that a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home? Insulating your loft is a simple yet effective way to reduce heat loss and in turn, reduce your heating bills. Loft insulation can be effective for over 40 years and will pay for itself from the amount you save on your energy bills.
If you have an easily accessible loft space with regular loft joists, you can simply use rolls of mineral wool insulation. Place the first layer between the joists – the horizontal beams that go across the floor of the loft – then another layer is placed at right angles to cover the joists and build the insulation up to the required depth. If your loft is difficult to access, you may need blown insulation installed by a professional. They will use specialist equipment to blow the insulation material into a space that is difficult to reach.
Up to a third of heat lost in an uninsulated home is lost through the walls. Properly insulating your cavity walls means you will save energy and cut costs on your heating bills. If you live in a house built after the 1990s, chances are that your walls will already have insulation. If you live in an older property, they may not have insulation at all. In general, houses in the UK have either solid walls or cavity walls. Houses built after the 1920s usually have cavity walls, meaning they are made up of two walls that have a gap between (the cavity). Houses built before 120 usually have sold walls, meaning they have no cavity and are a solid single wall.
The first thing to do is to determine what kind of walls your property has. To do this you can examine the brickwork. If your home has cavity walls, the bricks will have an even pattern and all bricks will be laid horizontally. If your home has solid walls, the bricks will have an alternating pattern and some bricks may be laid across the wall and you will be seeing the smaller ends from the outside. Cavity walls are insulated by injecting insulation material into the cavity from the outside. Unfortunately, unless you are a building contractor, it is unlikely you will be able to undertake this kind of work yourself. You will need to hire a specialist company who will drill holes in the outside of the walls and inject insulation material through the holes, then seal them with cement.
Insulate The Floor
Insulating the ground floor of your house is an excellent way to winterproof your home. Many homes, in particular, newer builds, will have a ground made of solid concrete. This can be insulated by laying rigid insulation on top. Older homes are more likely to have suspended timber floors. Timber floors can be insulated by lifting the floorboards and laying wool insulation supported by netting between the joists. If you are on a tight budget, you may be able to carry out this type of work yourself.
If you have a cellar or basement that you can access, you can fit insulation between the joists supporting the floorboards and hold it in place with netting if necessary. The basement ‘ceiling’ should have plasterboard fixed directly to the undersides of the joists and you can fit more rigid insulation underneath to benefit for even more insulation. Make sure you seal up any gaps between and around the floorboards when you put them back. If you don’t feel confident enough doing this type of work yourself, you can always get a professional to do it. Costs will vary depending on how big your house is and the state of your floorboards.
Walking barefoot in a cold room will only make you feel colder. If you are looking for a more extensive and long term fix, getting new floors fitted will make your home feel more comfortable all winter long. There are certain types of flooring that stay warmer than others, these include carpet, hardwood and laminate flooring. To see our range of flooring solutions, visit our website.
Finally, draft-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways you can save energy and money. Draughts are easily uncontrolled and let in a lot of cold air and waste a lot of heat. To effectively draught-proof your home you need to block up any unwanted gaps that are letting cold air in and warm air out. Draught proofing can be done by yourself or a professional, depending on how happy you are carrying out DIY tasks. Some of the most common areas to find draughts are windows, doors, chimneys, floorboards and skirting boards, pipework and cracks in the wall.
To insulate windows, buy draught-proofing strips to stick around the frame of the window and fill the gap between the window and the frame. To insulate doors, purchase a brush or hinged draught excluder to fill the gap at the bottom and fit foam or draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges. For unused chimneys, you can fit a cap over the chimney pot (this may need to be done by a professional) and buy a chimney draught excluder. Obviously, you will need to remove the draught-proofing if you do decide to light the fire. For floorboards and skirting boards, you can block up the cracks by squirting filler into the gaps. You can fill small gaps around pipework with silicone fillers, and larger gaps with expanding polyurethane foam. For cracks in the walls, you can use cement or hard-setting fillers to insulate the cracks.
Doors and Windows are an essential part of any home, but they won’t last forever, no matter how well they are built. If your doors and windows are fairly old and you are experiencing persistent draughts and noticing cracks and chips, that is a good indication that they may need replacing. If you live in an old house and haven’t had your doors and windows replaced for many years, you may not have double glazing, which could be another reason your home feels especially chilly. To find out about our intelligent door solutions at Arnold Laver, you can visit our website.