Insulating lofts is the easiest way for households to reduce their carbon footprint and save money at the same time, but unfortunately too many of us stop there.
While other forms of insulation than attic insulation can be more difficult to install, the rewards can be greater – but with so many different types of insulation available, how do you know what’s best for your property? ?
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Cavity wall insulation is perhaps the best known and applies to many newer properties. If your house was built between 1920 and 2000, your house probably has cavity walls, which is a gap between the interior and exterior walls.
Cavity wall insulation prices start from £ 450, but it’ll also save you around £ 140 a year on your energy bills, so you can expect it to pay off in four years or so. less. However, this is not something you can do on your own and requires a certified installer to drill small holes in your exterior walls and pump out the insulation.
Learn more about cavity wall insulation prices in our dedicated guide.
Insulation of solid walls
While many of us are familiar with cavity wall insulation, where the space between the interior and exterior wall is insulated, few of us consider solid wall insulation. However, it’s hard to imagine a more efficient form of energy saving than solid wall insulation, simply because solid walls let in twice as much heat as cavity walls.
The first thing to determine is whether you have solid walls on your property. The best indicator is age.
If your house was built before 1920, chances are it is a solid wall. If so, you can insulate the interior and exterior walls.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that installing interior wall insulation in a typical gas-heated semi-detached house could save you £ 460 per year, but with costs between £ 5,500 and £ 8,500, this might be a good time until you’ve paid off the initial expense.
Insulating the exterior walls might save you a bit more – £ 490 per year – but it also costs more, with installation costs ranging from £ 9,400 to £ 13,000.
Of the two types of solid wall insulation, the interior wall is the cheapest to install, but there are some tradeoffs. It consists in fixing the insulation to the wall with a plaster placed on top, it will thus reduce the space available in the room by bringing each wall inwards by approximately 100 mm.
The installation process also requires you to remove items such as baseboards, door frames, and exterior accessories, which are then put back into place. This can then make it difficult to attach heavy items to the walls (although there are ways around this).
Insulation of exterior walls
Insulating exterior walls is a slightly different proposition and has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that it will not reduce the size of the interior room and it can also be installed without you having to empty the rooms for a period of time.
It can also improve the weather and soundproofing of your home, and can reduce drafts by plugging the gaps between bricks.
The main disadvantage of insulating exterior walls is the cost which can be significant, but there are ways to reduce the financial burden.
Your best bet is to only consider exterior wall insulation as part of a larger remodeling project, like fitting out a new kitchen or bathroom. Not only can you then combine the logistical hassles, but by installing the insulation one room at a time, you can spread the cost of the insulation.
Likewise, if you have larger work done on the exterior of your home, such as a new roof or painting, you will save money on costs such as scaffolding.
It should also be noted that you may need to check with your local council if you need a building permit.
Underfloor insulation is the next logical step for those who have already covered their attic and walls. And those who have done proofreading.
Underfloor insulation is usually installed on the ground floor or in rooms on the upper floor above unheated areas. And while the savings are much smaller – around £ 60 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust – the costs of installing the insulation below the floor are also much lower.
Some things can be done yourself, like filling in the voids, especially around baseboards, but if you have wood floors you can insulate them.
Wood floors are most often found in older properties, and a layer of mineral wall or other suitable insulating material under the wood will keep the heat in. Installation costs will vary from very little if you do it yourself to around £ 500 if you’re bringing in the experts.
Insulating the concrete floor is more difficult to do yourself, so it is better to combine it with the replacement of the floor or you can put a layer of rigid insulation on top.
Insulation is placed on top of the concrete and a layer of particle board covers the insulation, but be aware that concrete floor insulation will raise your floor level slightly, so watch out for door frames, baseboards or floorboards. sockets that may need to be raised.
Pipe insulation, which is usually associated with hot water tank insulation, is very cheap and easy to do, and will usually pay for itself within a year.
If your pipes are easy to access, it’s as easy as covering your pipes with pre-installed pipe insulation from your DIY store and keeping your water hot longer.
Pipe insulation materials come in all shapes and sizes, so just be sure to take accurate measurements of the width and length of your pipes. Insulating your hot water tank costs a little more (around £ 15 for a jacket), but pays for itself in six months. Even if your tank is already fitted with insulation, you should check that it is at least 75mm thick.