We all know the value of having good insulation in our homes. It has been one of the key targets of government initiatives over the last couple of decades or so to make sure that all our houses and businesses are insulated as well as possible. New builds are currently constructed with this in mind and older houses have benefited from good loft and cavity wall insulation.
The benefits are far reaching for both domestic properties who want to save on fuel bills and businesses that want to make sure they are lowering their carbon footprints. And with energy prices set to soar in the near future we all need to be doing our best to make sure our insulation is up to the mark.
The History of Insulation
It will be no surprise that in colder climes insulating homes has been going on for thousands of years. But even the ancient Egyptians and Greeks in warmer climes were always finding new ways to keep places cool in the daytime but warm at night. Vikings used mud plastered over their homes to keep in the heat and later in the Middle Ages households got into the habit of putting thick tapestries up on their walls.
Find out more about the history of insulation.
How Insulation Works
Simply put, insulation works by providing a layer that stops or greatly reduces heat loss. There are different types of insulation including wall, floor and loft solutions all of which can help keep your home warm in the winter and reasonably temperate in the summer. Insulation isn’t actually made to keep the heat trapped but to make sure that it escapes more slowly and materials are graded according their efficiency in doing this.
Discover how insulation can keep your home warm in winter.
Thermal Values of Insulation
The thermal values of insulation products, that is the efficiency they possess, is a complex area and how a particular material reacts is dependent on a number of factors. These include the material’s U-Values, Lambda Values and R-Values and K-Values.
Find out how we assess the efficiency of insulation through thermal values.
Types of Insulation
Wherever there is a surface exposed to the outside world, there is room for greater insulation that increases the heat efficiency of your home or business. Lofts can be covered in a blanket of insulating material like mineral wool and walls can have the cavities filled in or rendering put on the external or internal surfaces. Along with measures like double glazing these can greatly reduce your heating costs and cut down your impact on the environment.
Explore the different types of insulation.
Benefits of Insulation
An uninsulated house loses a large amount of heat through the walls, windows and roof costing hundreds of pounds a year. Just a 10cm fibreglass loft insulation can cut down heat loss through the roof by up to 75%. Whilst products like external wall insulation may cost a fair amount more, there are plenty of other cost effective measures that you can introduce to make your building more heat efficient.
Find out more about the benefits of insulation.
Insulation Cost vs Savings
For most homes, even a few small measures such as loft insulation can lead to greater savings on fuel bills over a year. Many power companies now provide services like free insulation for those on low incomes and British Gas make no restrictions on who can apply. Improvements such as external and internal wall insulation (as opposed to cavity wall insulation) can cost a good deal more but there is also a wide range of funding available through measures such as the Green Deal and local initiatives.
Discover the costs and savings you can get from effective insulation.
If you want your property to be fully insulated then it pays to get the right advice. Problems such as damp and the conditions of your walls will play a part and may well need to be sorted out before any work is undertaken. Insulation can present significant savings on your heating bills and it might be a good idea to have a Green Deal Assessment if you want to know the best ways to do it in your own home or business premises.
Find out more about insulation requirements.
Is My Property Suitable for Insulation?
All properties benefit from good insulation, particularly those older buildings which have more gaps, aging architecture and other ways that heat can be lost. Roof insulation needs to be to a depth of at least 10cm to be effective and things like cavity wall insulation are easy to put in if you don’t already have it. New properties will generally have the right level of wall/cavity insulation that means you don’t have to worry about it.
Check out more tips on suitability of insulation.
Environmental and Property Value Impact and Insulation
Having effective insulation installed will not only reduce your impact on the environment it will also help to reduce fuel costs. There is a good deal of evidence that having the right insulation already in place will have a positive impact on your property value, though with more and more homes having it installed this will tend to diminish over time. It is more of a case that not having insulation can have an impact as the buyer will then have to make those improvements themselves.
Find out more about the impact of insulation.
Finance, Grants & Free Insulation
There are plenty of incentives out there to help you make sure your property is properly insulated, from the Green Deal to the offer of free installation by the major energy companies, particularly for those on a limited budget. There are also differences across the UK with schemes like the Scottish Universal Home Insulation Scheme that can help you with the costs.
Discover how you can get help insulating your home.
The majority of insulation is very low maintenance and can be basically left to fend for itself. Loft insulation may well need to be checked on occasion, depending on the type that you use, and replaced if it has been flattened out by workmen or people going up into the attic. Discover more here.
Legislation/Planning Permission for Insulation
Generally, you don’t need planning permission for insulating your home as it is listed amongst the permissible technologies by local councils. The only area where it might cause a problem is with listed buildings or if you are located in a conservation area. Installing any insulation should meet the minimum standards set down by the government. Find out more here.
Accreditation for Insulation
There are various standards for installing insulation that manufacturers and suppliers should be signed up to, including the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Scheme and the National Insulation Association.
Find out more about accreditation for insulation here.
Manufacturers of Insulation
There are a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers of insulation materials from mineral wool to wall panels that can be used both domestically and commercially. Take a look at our list of some of the more popular ones in the UK here.
As with any major improvement work, finding the right company to install your insulation is almost important as what you have done. You can search our database for people in your area and find out what things to look out for here.