Did you know that most of the heat in your home is lost through the walls and loft? To be specific, around 25% of heat is lost through the roof while 35% escapes through the walls. Another 10% of heat is also lost through the windows and another 10% on the floor.
If you put that into perspective, that means 80% of the heat in your home gets lost. And if your house is poorly insulated, it’s very likely that you’re losing more.
This guide will talk about ways on how to insulate your home effectively without breaking the bank. Some insulation jobs can be pretty expensive, and not everyone may be able to afford it. Do note, that depending on how severe the problem is, the investment may be worth it.
Benefits of insulation
Insulation is a very important aspect of every home. It keeps you and your family warm when it’s cold outside. At the same time, it traps cold air to make you cool and comfy during the warmer seasons.
A house that’s properly insulated can also save its owner a lot of money on utility bills. Your heater works harder when a lot of the heat escapes your house. Your air conditioning does the same thing in the sense that it tries so hard to keep you cool when it’s warm. When these appliances do this, they use a lot of energy which causes your energy bills to skyrocket.
Finally, a properly-insulated home not only keeps you comfortable but it’s also one way to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. That’s because when you save energy, the need to burn fossil fuels is also lessened. This results in the reduction of greenhouse gases that causes global warming and climate change.
Signs that your home is losing heat
Before you decide where and how to start, you need to be certain that you’re indeed losing heat in your home. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert to spot the problems. The following are telltale signs that your home is under-insulated.
If the temperatures across different rooms in your house significantly varies, it’s a clear sign that your home is not insulated well. A good example is when you feel cold when you’re in the kitchen but feel warm in the living room.
High energy bills
Take a look at your energy bills for the last few years and compare it with your recent ones. If you see huge increases, one of the possible culprits are heaters and air conditioning systems working overtime to compensate for heat loss.
Your roof is clear but your neighbour’s is frosty
During winter, go outside and check your roof. If your neighbours have frost or snow on theirs while yours doesn’t, it’s a good indication that heat is escaping through your roof which melts the snow or frost.
Presence of mice and bugs
If you see critters running around, it means that they’re able to get inside because your house has openings. And if these creatures can get in and out of your house because of these openings, so can heat and cold air.
Cold walls, floors, and ceilings
The interior parts of the house like the walls and ceilings should feel warm to the touch. The exterior walls, on the other hand, should feel cold in a well-insulated home. This means that the heat is effectively being trapped inside.
Draught around doors and windows
Stand near your doors and windows. If you feel cool air coming in from around these areas, it means that warm air is also getting out. Remember: A door or window that is not properly sealed is an excellent location for heat to escape.
Not only does poor insulation let heat out of your home, it also tends to let water in. Say, you find your attic to be leaking, there’s a good chance that insulation is the source of the problem. Not resolving this issue will only lead to bigger problems like mould and wet rot.
How to insulate your home
Roof and loft insulation
Good loft insulation can save you as much as 20% on your energy bills. You can do it yourself or hire a contractor which, of course, is going to be more expensive. Mineral wool (such as Rockwool or Rocksil), fibreglass, and recycled paper products all work well.
However, if you use your loft as a living space, you have no choice but to insulate the roof. If you plan on going the DIY route, make sure that you wear a facemask, goggles, and protective clothing to keep you safe.
Most of the heat escapes through the walls of a poorly-insulated house. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you deal with it immediately once you’ve found out that this is the source of the problem.
You can usually use insulating fibre, beads, or foam to fill in cavity walls (if that’s what you have). If the walls are solid and require internal insulation, the rooms need to be redecorated which can potentially alter how they look. External wall insulation may require planning permission and should only be done by specialist companies.
Doors and windows insulation
Draughts around doors and windows can easily be remedied draught proofing, secondary or double glazing. You can save money by using cheap foam draught stripping, however, they’ll only last you a couple of years. Polypropylene tubes are more expensive, but they last longer and are more effective.
Be cautious NOT to add draught-stripping to a room with an open fire or gas fire that does not have a balanced flue. Fire needs oxygen and good airflow to burn and to have the room tightly-sealed can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
It’s common knowledge that warm air rises and cold air sinks. This is the reason why the coldest air in your home hovers around your floors especially if it’s made of stone, wood, or lino. This cold air can easily be transferred to the floor surface.
You can solve the problem with under-floor heating systems, however this solution requires complex installation and can be extremely expensive. If you don’t want to spend that much, you can consider using carpet flooring instead since it is less affected by temperature.
You can also insulate the floor by sealing the area between the ground and the floor between its joists. You can use cut down fibreglass insulation roll but this material ages quickly and can absorb water from the ground. Note, that this option is usually considered as a quick fix ony.
Additional tips to insulate your home
- Use tin foil to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, particularly on those attached to external walls. It works by reflecting the heat back into the room instead of dissipating through the wall.
- Let the sunlight in during the day. This is a great way to keep your house warm using natural and FREE heating. But remember to close your curtains as soon as dusk falls to maximise the potential of your house to retain the heat.
- Use a flue sealer to prevent air from escaping through the chimney. These are inexpensive, inflatable devices that are made of heavy plastic. Place it just below the damper to create a tight seal.
- Thick curtains can also help protect your house from losing heat through the windows.
- Close the doors especially of rooms that are not in use. Doing so will prevent cold air from moving into the rest of the house.