The heat is on to save cash

Heat loss in your home could be hurt­ing your pocket and the planet. LISA SALMON gets the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust’s top tips on in­su­la­tion

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Your Home -

The end of the long, hot sum­mer cou­pled with ris­ing en­ergy prices means it’s a good time to check that your home is prop­erly in­su­lated be­fore win­ter sets in. Ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust (EST, en­er­gysav­, in an unin­su­lated home, 45% of heat loss is through solid walls, 33% through other walls, 25% through the loft or roof space, and 20% through win­dows and doors – which all adds up to hun­dreds of pounds more spent on en­ergy bills ev­ery year, no good for your pocket or the en­vi­ron­ment.

In short, prop­erly in­su­lat­ing your home is an en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly move that could save you a for­tune over the years.

Here are the six main ar­eas the EST says need in­su­lat­ing in the home, and how much you could save on en­ergy bills...


In­su­lat­ing the loft or at­tic is a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive way to re­duce heat loss and heat­ing bills, and it should pay for it­self many times over, says the EST. If ac­cess is easy and loft joists are reg­u­lar, you can use rolls of min­eral wool in­su­la­tion. This will keep your house warmer but make the roof space above colder, mean­ing pipes and wa­ter tanks in the loft could freeze more eas­ily, so you’ll need to in­su­late them too.

In ad­di­tion, the cooler air in your in­su­lated loft could mean cold draughts come through the loft hatch, so fit an in­su­lated loft hatch and put draught-ex­clud­ing strips around it. If your loft is easy to ac­cess, isn’t damp and doesn’t have a flat roof, you could prob­a­bly in­su­late it your­self, but where there’s damp a pro­fes­sional in­staller should be used. How much can you save?

The EST says typ­i­cal in­stal­la­tion costs for roof in­su­la­tion are be­tween £285£395, de­pend­ing on the size of the house, and fuel bill sav­ings can be be­tween £115-£215 a year.


Heat will al­ways flow from a warm area to a cold one, so the colder it is out­side, the faster heat from your home will es­cape. Houses built from the 1990s on­wards usu­ally have wall in­su­la­tion, but older houses may not and could be los­ing a lot of heat.

Most types of wall can be in­su­lated, though you need to iden­tify what sort of walls you have. If a house was built af­ter the 1920s, it’s likely to have cav­ity walls (two walls with a gap in-be­tween). Older houses are more likely to have solid walls. You can tell which type of wall your house has by look­ing at the ex­te­rior brick­work: if the bricks have a reg­u­lar pat­tern, the house usu­ally has cav­ity walls, and if there’s an al­ter­nat­ing pat­tern, it prob­a­bly has solid walls. How much can you save?

The EST says cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion can cost be­tween £330-£720 to in­stall, de­pend­ing on the type of house, and sav­ings on heat­ing bills can be any­thing from £65 a year for a flat to £250 a year for a de­tached house.


Solid walls let through twice as much heat as cav­ity walls, but they can be in­su­lated, ei­ther from the in­side or out­side. In­ter­nally, rigid in­su­la­tion boards are fit­ted to the wall, or a stud wall is built and filled in with in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial. Ex­ter­nally, a layer of in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial is fit­ted to the wall, then covered with a spe­cial type of ren­der or cladding. There are ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages to both meth­ods, says the EST. How much can you save?

Solid wall in­su­la­tion usu­ally costs more than in­su­lat­ing a stan­dard cav­ity wall, but heat­ing bill sav­ings are big­ger. The EST says ex­ter­nal wall in­su­la­tion costs be­tween £8,000£22,000 and in­ter­nal costs £4,000£13,000. Sav­ings can be any­thing from £115-£415 a year.


You can seal the gaps be­tween floors and skirt­ing boards your­self with a DIY store-bought sealant. Older homes are more likely to have sus­pended tim­ber floors, which can be in­su­lated by lift­ing the floor­boards and lay­ing min­eral wool in­su­la­tion sup­ported by net­ting be­tween the joists. Many homes, es­pe­cially newer ones, will have a solid con­crete ground floor. This can be in­su­lated when it needs re­plac­ing, or can have rigid in­su­la­tion laid on top.

Floors of up­stairs rooms don’t need to be in­su­lated if they’re above heated ar­eas, but it’s a good idea to in­su­late those above un­heated spa­ces, such as garages. How much can you save?

In­su­lat­ing the floor can cost any­thing from £950-£2,200, and sav­ings range from £25-£65 a year.


Lag­ging wa­ter tanks and pipes and in­su­lat­ing be­hind ra­di­a­tors re­duces the amount of heat lost, so you spend less money heat­ing wa­ter and it stays hot­ter for longer.

Fit­ting a hot wa­ter cylin­der jacket is straight­for­ward, says the EST. Pipe in­su­la­tion is sim­ply a foam tube that cov­ers the ex­posed pipes be­tween the hot wa­ter cylin­der and boiler. It can be bought from a DIY store and slipped on. How much can you save?

It varys widely de­pend­ing on the work done, but the EST says in­stalling a hot wa­ter tank jacket on an unin­su­lated tank, for in­stance, will cost about £15 and save around £89 a year.


Draught-proofing is one of the cheap­est and most ef­fec­tive ways to save en­ergy, and it’s as sim­ple as us­ing sealant to block un­wanted gaps around ar­eas in­clud­ing win­dows and doors, and around pipework lead­ing out­side.

How much can you save?

Pro­fes­sion­als can draught-proof your home at a cost of around £200, but it’s of­ten easy and much cheaper to do it your­self. Make sure you don’t block any in­ten­tional ven­ti­la­tion, such as un­der-floor grilles, air bricks or vents though.

Draught-proofing around win­dows and doors could save around £25 per year. And as draught-free homes are com­fort­able at lower tem­per­a­tures, you may be able to turn down the heat­ing, sav­ing more on en­ergy bills.

How to find a good in­staller

For more in­for­ma­tion on sav­ing en­ergy, visit en­er­gysav­ Look­ing for a good in­staller? The Na­tional In­su­la­tion As­so­ci­a­tion is a mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tion for the in­su­la­tion in­dus­try in the UK. For de­tails of lo­cal in­stall­ers, visit nia-uk. org

In­su­lat­ing your loft is a sim­ple way to re­duce heat loss

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