When the days are getting shorter it’s time to start thinking about how to best insulate your home so you can stay cosy inside while it’s cold out there. While it’s important to compare energy deals to find the best offers available on the market, there are also some easy ways to better insulate your home. Not only will these insulating tips keep you warm, they’ll also help drive down your energy costs.
Where to insulate
Heat can leave your home in every direction, which means you should try to insulate the roof, walls, floor and windows and doors in order to make sure the heat is staying in. For those sharing walls with other houses, you won’t be losing heat in those directions as long as your neighbours also switch their heating on.
For the average house, about 30% of heat is lost through the walls, but the roof also loses quite a lot, 25%, as do windows and doors at 20%. Of course, if you’re in a flat, or a particularly old house, these figures will likely be different.
Types of Insulation
In general, insulators mimic the structure of wool with most modern insulators made of minerals and glass, which essentially trap small pockets of air within the material.
When choosing curtains, it’s a good idea to seek out fabrics that will prevent heat from escaping through the window. Some good fabric choices are sheep’s wool, hemp and cotton. Fabrics with a higher density will be more effective insulators.
EPS Polystyrene based-products, usually in slab or spray form, are very good insulators. The slab form is typically fire resistant and denser and heavier than the sort of polystyrene that is used for packaging. The foam forms on the mixing of two chemicals and is used to fill holes or gaps in your walls or roof tiles. There are other foams that will work better around windows and doors. For your fireplace mantel, use granite stones and tiles as it absorbs heat from the fire.
You can also consider foil products which use reflection to heat your home. Usually these are card products and plastic insulators that are wrapped in metal foils. You will want to place these between your radiator and wall, but you can also use them to insulate in places where EPS type products won’t fit.
Insulation to Avoid
As with every home improvement project, there are some materials that are bad for insulation. You should avoid using certain metals, like steel and copper, as well as stone, brick and concrete. Despite the physical strength of these materials, they have a higher heat transmission compared to more modern housing materials.
Draught-proofing your home could prove to save you £50 on your heating bill every year.
Some simple ways to add draught-proofing is to use a silicon-based filler in between your floorboards, install draught-proofing strips around your windows (or sealant), and if you have a usable chimney, purchase a removable chimney balloon.
If you have rooms in your house that require extra ventilation, usually the kitchen and toilets, don’t think that leaving the window open is your only option. You should consider installing a timed extractor fan in your toilet or bathroom, which will work to ventilate rooms at the most practical times without leaving your home chilly.
Windows and Doors
Windows can often let warm air out and cold air in. If you have non-insulated doors, you can use plastic sheeting which “is installed using double-sided tape and a hair dryer”. You’ll still need to re-glaze panes that are loose or need further maintenance.
And, of course, using a sealant around the windows or in nearby crevices will greatly reduce the amount of heat lost.