Home Insulation - Keeping You Warm and Energy Efficient

Our guide to home insulation helps explain what can be done to keep the heat in and the draughts out.

A leaf showing a home energy symbol

As September hits and summer is firmly on its way out, all focus turns to the autumn/winter festive season and the chillier weather that lies ahead.
Right in time for the new, colder, season, energy market regulator Ofgem is raising its cap on standard tariffs to a record-breaking high – increasing it by £139 per annum for over 15 million British households. This will see energy prices skyrocket for many, and so improving home insulation is a big priority; in order to not just avoid hefty bills just to keep your home a decent temperature, but also to improve the energy efficiency credentials of your property. Here, our guide to home insulation helps explain what can be done to keep the heat in and the draughts out.
A roaring fire with wood next to it

How does heat leave a home?

Unless you have a new-build that’s been constructed with the latest of insulation technology in mind, chances are you will lose some of your home’s heat naturally through doors and windows, gaps in flooring and/or the chimney. Heat rises naturally, and so although you will lose some through your ceilings and roof, most roofs are sufficiently insulated to avoid this on a major scale.
A workman installing new roof insulation

Does home insulation just mean fibreglass pads?

Traditionally, yes. Home insulation has been, for the most part, lining attic and loft spaces with chunky fibreglass wool pads that acted as an insulator and stopped all of the heat from the home escaping through the roof. However, building materials and designs have improved hugely since these were the default insulation choice and now there’s a range of insulation options that can be used in all areas of the home.

Is it expensive to insulate a home adequately?

Insulation doesn’t need to be a big renovation project and there are a whole host of small measures that can be taken. Draught-proofing strips can be stuck around window frames, specific expanding foam sprayed into wall cavities and foam pads installed in spare space. Non-opening windows can be draught-proofed with silicon sealant. Chimneys can be fitted with specially designed draught excluders and key covers fitted over doors. New windows and doors are fitted considerably better than those of days gone by, and there are lots of tiny insulation solutions for various uses in hardware stores. 
If you’re looking to remove all existing insulation from a home and replace it, this can be an expensive and time-consuming job – but it is rarely the case that it will all need to be done at the same time, so instead smaller tasks can be carried out along the way.

Does draught proofing a home save you more money than it will cost you?

The exact savings to be made from draught proofing a home depends on your individual property, energy usage and energy tariff. The Energy Savings Trust estimate that small changes to draught proof doors and windows in the home can save £25 a year; so these are always worth doing, as they’re cheap. Unless you’re looking for a full refit of insulation with a large investment and aren’t considering living in the home for much longer then comprehensive insulation will normally be a great investment.

How does insulation improve the energy efficiency of a home?

Without proper insulation, or with gaps in insulation, the heat generated from your radiators or heating system escapes out of the house – and so you need to heat it more to keep it at a consistently comfortable temperature. Heating uses energy and so the more used in your home, the less ‘energy efficient’ it is. This is a sustainability concern but also costs more money; because the heating is on for longer and/or at a higher temperature, so bills increase. When proper insulation is installed, the thermostat can be turned down and heating can be turned on for less time in order to meet the same ambience. 

Should I cover every bit of open space to the outside?

Not necessarily! Preventing draughts is important but ventilation ducts and airbricks should be left clear. You need some air flow around your home or you’ll experience condensation and damp problems. Even if you are opening windows on dry days or in warmer weather, not everything should be shut off entirely.
A living room with a view of a snowy garden

I have a conservatory – and it’s all glass! Will this lose me lots of heat?

Conservatories aren’t known for their insulating properties, but there are now specialist conservatory insulation products available. Insulation panels can be inserted into the roof, floor, or lower parts of brick walls to help improve the efficiency of the conservatory – even in colder weather. This not only helps save your energy used in the room but can extend its lifespan into autumn and winter, as it becomes more comfortable a space to be in even when it is a bit cooler outside.

I definitely think I need more help with my home’s insulation. Where do I begin?

If you’re unsure of where in your home is energy inefficient or where you may be losing heat from, call in the experts. Our Refresh Renovations Specialists will be able to visit your home and advise on the situation before making any recommendations as to the best course of action and next steps. There’s lots that can be done to keep a home comfortably warm, even in listed and period properties, so don’t delay – get things ready in time for winter and enjoy a sunny season all year round!

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