Insulating your home keeps its warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It is a must, especially when trying to cut down on heating costs, as insulation makes a property more energy-efficient.
The more energy-efficient a building is, the less heat is lost to the surrounding area. Not only does this save you money on your heating bills, but it is also more eco-friendly as less fuel is wasted in the form of escaping heat.
How you insulate your walls depends on what type of external walls you have. If you have solid walls they will be an alternating brick pattern, and likely quite an old building. Cavity walls are a newer design, the bricks will be in regular order, end-to-end. Most houses built after 1990 are already insulated.
Solid walls lose far more heat than cavity walls do, so it is essential to properly insulate them. Either internal or external insulation is used, but they are both essentially a lining of insulation around either the interior or exterior of the property.
External insulation is the more expensive of the two, costing around £13000 for a typical semi-detached home. Internal insulation is cheaper, by comparison, costing around £7400 for a similar property.
Although internal insulation is a better buy in terms of cost, it does come with its drawbacks. For example, when installing internal insulation, be prepared to surrender part of your living space, as internal insulation extends about 10cm into the room. Another downside is that it makes fixing items to the walls difficult, special fixings are needed for heavy items such as televisions.
By comparison, external insulation raises neither of these issues, although it is only appropriate if your walls are in a stable condition and some councils require planning permission.
Most UK homes built between 1920 and 1990 will have been built as a cavity wall with no insulation. Cavity wall insulation is far cheaper than solid wall insulation, with the cost of an average semi-detached home to be just £475.
Windows can be a major source of heat loss to the surroundings and triple glazing is the most effective way to insulate them. Windows are graded by their U-value, single-pane glass is generally 5, modern double glazing is 1.6 and triple glazing is just 0.8.
However, even with the lowest U-value, triple glazing may not be worth the cost of upgrading, particularly if you already have double glazing. The average triple glazing cost for a two-bedroom home is between £2,000 and £2,500 in the UK, and you are unlikely to save this much money from the change. Although, triple glazing is a good investment if you live in a noisy area, as triple glazed windows are the most effective grade for noise reduction.
Loft insulation is one of the cheapest and easiest insulations to install in your home and the yearly savings can amount to hundreds of pounds. Typically costing around £20 for a 100mm roll, designed to cover 8.3m², you can easily fit this yourself, saving you money on installation cost.
If you opt for a “warm loft”, where the insulation is in the rafters rather than the floor, it will likely cost more, and it is recommended that you hire a professional to carry this out. They will likely use either a hardening foam spray or a carefully-cut rigid insulation board.
These are just some of the ways in which you can insulate your home, you can also make small, inexpensive changes indoors – such as using draught excluders to keep your home warm.
Of course, the most effective way to insulate a property is to consider the insulation during the build. When designing a new structure, an architect is able to choose the best types of insulation in order for the property to be at its optimal energy-efficiency for your budget. If you are considering building a new property or extension, contact us for help designing this in an energy-efficient, eco-friendly way.