SAVING MONEY WITH LOFT INSULATION
Although it can seem expensive, the average saving on heating bills means the insulation pays for itself within just a few years. However, you still need to ensure you’re looking at the right type of insulation to suit your needs and your property.
A GUIDE TO LOFT INSULATION
Cold loft insulation is the process of insulating the floor of the loft – meaning the heat never reaches the loft. This means that the temperature of the loft may vary much more than in the rest of the house – it can get very hot in the summer and cold in winter. Bear this in mind when you put the loft to use for storage.
A cold loft insulation is usually undertaken with glass or mineral wool, placed and packed in between the wooden beams (joists) on the floor of the loft. The standard height of the insulating material is usually around 250-270mm (roughly the same height as the joists spanning the loft). If there is already some older or thinner insulating material present, one can simply top up the insulation to save some money on materials.
When installing, the insulation should be placed above any plumbing to keep pipes warm and reduce the possibility of the pipes freezing. Any electrical cables should be laid above the insulation. If you opt for cold loft insulation you will need raised boards, or have cross-beams installed, to be able to use the loft for storage.
Warm loft insulation is the process of insulating the under-side of the roof. This creates a warm loft space and may allow the loft to be used for storage without the need for modification.
This type of insulation is installed through the inside of the roof. A space allowing ventilation between the insulation material and the roof itself should always be maintained.
There are a number of different options for loft insulation. Cold loft insulation can be carried out by a confident DIY-er with an understanding of the safety steps needed to complete the work. Warm loft insulation is more complicated and is less suited for DIY. This being said, it is always best to consult qualified individuals, in particular for warm loft insulation, but also for the raising of boards or addition of cross-beams.
If you decide to install insulation yourself, make sure your choice has the Energy Saving Trust Approved logo to ensure that it will comply with building regulations and has been tested and approved for use. You can buy loft insulation from most DIY superstores at a cost of around £14-25 for a roll.
Across the UK, energy providers offer grants and free services based on your insulation needs and current personal situation. At Staunch and Flow we believe customers should always get the best deal, and if free insulation is part of this, then we are happy to go along!
Although there are grants for various energy-saving initiatives around the home, we have focused on insulation because it is cost-effective in terms of the overall benefit to the end user in reducing bills and keeping a home warm through winter.
Cavity wall and loft insulation can cost anywhere from £600 to £1,200 for an average three-bedroom house – but, depending on the needs of the property, insulating can save as much as £300 on bills. Most new-build properties will already be insulated, but older properties and those in need of an upgrade may have different needs.
Broadly, homes build since 1920 will have a small gap between internal and external walls. Filling this gap can help keep a home warm, but this won’t work for everybody. It’s best to have a local professional assess your home for suitability before making a decision on cavity wall insulation. Even the orientation of your home can have a bearing on this decision, due to the disproportionate effect that the prevailing wind and rain direction can have.
Data suggests around a quarter of the heat in a home will escape through an uninsulated roof. Laying mineral wool can reduce this and keep a home warmer. This is a popular choice for insulating suitable of homes in the UK.
The type of grants that are on offer for wall or loft insulation will differ depending on circumstance and energy provider. For the most part you can get a free assessment from any provider and they will determine whether you are eligible for insulation.
Of the big six energy suppliers, SSE, E.on, N-Power and EDF have offers that may include free or discounted insulation. British Gas and Scottish Power currently don’t offer free insulation. You’ll have to contact your own energy supplier to determine whether there’s a current offer and if you’ll be eligible.
Most deals apply only to people living in mainland Britain. It’s usual for the company to want to insulate at least two thirds of your loft space and they’ll exclude properties with more than 60mm of loft insulation already in place. Rented property, flats or maisonettes, housing association and council properties may be excluded too. You may be required to contribute towards the cost if you live in a large or unusual house.
If you are still in the running to get help from your energy supplier, make sure you read the small print before you go ahead.