Save money with wall to wall warmth

Cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion can make your rooms warmer and cheaper to heat, but make sure it is suit­able for your home

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home -

Ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust ( www. en­er­gysav­ingtrust. org. uk), ap­prox­i­mately one third of the heat lost in an unin­su­lated home es­capes through the walls. This is why in­su­lat­ing ex­ter­nal walls is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially with win­ter on the hori­zon.

If your home was con­structed in the last decade or so, it should have been built with ex­ter­nal wall in­su­la­tion, but most of us live in older prop­er­ties, some of which have cav­ity walls and some don’t.

Cav­ity walls are ex­te­rior walls with a gap in the mid­dle that can be filled with in­su­la­tion.

As a gen­eral rule, houses built af­ter 1920 have cav­ity walls and those built be­fore don’t, but there are ex­cep­tions to the rule.

Look at the ex­te­rior brick­work to be sure – if the bricks are all long ones, then the walls have a cav­ity in the mid­dle. How­ever, if the bricks are a mix of long and short ones, there’s no cav­ity be­cause the short bricks go through the wall.

Even if your home has cav­ity walls, cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion isn’t al­ways rec­om­mended.

The cav­ity should be at least 5cm across, and the ex­te­rior walls must be in good con­di­tion.

Walls ex­posed to driv­ing rain are not suit­able for cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion – hav­ing it in­stalled in an un­suit­able lo­ca­tion can cause ma­jor prob­lems, so it’s vi­tal to first get ad­vice from a rep­utable in­staller.

In­stalling cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion isn’t a DIY job – use an in­staller be­long­ing to the Na­tional In­su­la­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (www.nia-uk.org), the Cav­ity In­su­la­tion Guar­an­tee Agency (www.ciga.co.uk), or the Bri­tish Board of Agre­ment ( www.bbac­erts. co.uk). The in­staller will make small holes in the ex­te­rior of the out­side walls, blow in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial, such as foam or beads, into them and then fill the holes. They’ll need to ac­cess all the out­side walls and if any of the walls ad­join a neigh­bour’s walls, they should fit a bar­rier to con­tain the in­su­la­tion. The En­ergy Sav­ing Trust says that cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion in Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales costs around £ 720 for a de­tached house, £475 for a semi and £370 for a mid-ter­raced house. Hav­ing the in­su­la­tion fit­ted should save you around £275, £155 and £105 a year re­spec­tively on heat­ing costs (as­sum­ing you have gas cen­tral heat­ing), so it won’t take that long to get your money back.

IN­SU­LA­TION should be fit­ted by a pro­fes­sional, as not all walls are suit­able for it

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