Insulating your home

By fitting insulation to your home, you will stop heat escaping, making it feel warmer for longer and also cheaper to heat.

The features of a home which lose the greatest amounts of heat are its roof (25%), walls (35%), floor (15%), door (15%) and windows (10%). Thinking about insulating some or all of these areas can be hugely beneficial.

 

Two houses demonstrating percentage heat loss with and without insulation

Find out how much heat your property may be losing from its roof by looking at a Thermal map. As well as this you can get an estimated energy efficiency rating for your house and some recommendations for reducing bills and improving energy efficiency, see: How energy efficient is your property?

If you are on certain means tested benefits or tax credits then you may be eligible for support with funding for installing these measures, see: Housing energy schemes. If you do not qualify for any subsidies, interest free loans may be available for low income households to help spread the cost of this work. For more details contact:

Types of insulation

Attic room insulation

Some houses, especially terraced housing or bungalows, have the attic converted to a room. If these rooms are un-insulated they can lose a lot of heat during cold weather and be uncomfortable for their occupants during the extreme temperatures of winter and summer.

Although these rooms are not suitable for loft fibre, other materials can be used including sprayed on urethane foam, phenolic foam, aerogel insulated plaster board, all with varying cost and performance levels. Costs can vary from £25 / square metre to £250 / square metre depending on the different types of material used.

Although the work involves some disruption as plaster boards have to be removed as part of the process, it can bring significant thermal comfort and health benefits to the people who sleep in the room. Fitting attic room insulation can also save heat loss from the property in the same way that loft insulation does making it warmer and cheaper to heat, see PDFAttic and Loft Insulation Factsheet [PDF 188KB]

PDFAttic Room Insulation Specification [PDF 64KB] is a schedule of work you can give to any contractors from whom you wish to receive a quotation. It is a detailed technical document.

Cavity wall insulation

Fitting cavity wall insulation could save you up to £140 per year on your heating costs, based on current energy prices (Source: Energy saving trust ).

If your home has a cavity wall which is clear of rubble and stone ties, it may be possible to fit cavity wall insulation, see PDFCavity Wall Insulation Factsheet [PDF 521KB]

There are various types of cavity wall insulation available depending on whether your house is made from brick, stone or another material. It is relatively easy to install from the outside of your property and therefore there is no disruption is caused to internal decorations. However, each type of material varies in cost and performance, the different types include:

  1. Cavity wall fibre – suitable for 50mm brick cavities and ‘dressed’ stone cavities wider than 50mm.
    Free cavity wall fibre insulation may be available depending on your circumstances. For details see Housing energy schemes.
  2. Expanded polystyrene bead (EPS)
    This is the next cheapest form of cavity wall insulation which could save you up to £115 per year on your energy bills. It costs in the region of £7.50 / sq m. EPS bead insulation may be suitable for brick built or stone built houses with clear cavities, depending on the width of the cavity.
  3. Polyurethane foam – suitable for random stone cavities down to 20mm
    As well as having thermal insulating qualities, this material also has the other benefits of being a structural bonding agent and is impenetrable to water – making it useful for properties with clear cavities in flood risk areas. The work is covered through a 25 year industry backed guarantee through the British Urethane Foam Contractors’ Association (BUFCA). Savings in energy bills will vary depending upon the cavity width of the property. Random stone cavities can vary significantly in width anywhere between 20mm and over 100mm in places depending on the type of stone and construction method used.

External and internal solid wall insulation

If your home does not have a cavity, it can still be insulated with external wall insulation (EWI), or it could be internally ‘dry lined’.

Although solid wall insulation could save more carbon, it is much more expensive and disruptive than cavity wall insulation. Despite this, the reduction in energy bills and improvement in thermal comfort may outweigh this cost and disruption for many.

  • EWI changes the property’s appearance and therefore planning permission may be required to carry it out, although there is no internal disruption.
  • Internal dry lining is disruptive as work is often needed to adapt wiring, skirting boards, radiators and re-decoration. Whilst there are no external changes to your property, depending upon the thickness of the material used there will be a slight reduction in the floor space of the rooms.

A variety of different insulation materials can be used for solid wall insulation and therefore costs, performance and thickness of the insulation can vary significantly depending on the type of material used, see PDFSolid Wall Insulation Factsheet [PDF 259KB]

For further information about solid wall insulation see Solid wall insulation .

Draught-proofing

Around 15% of heat in our home is lost through draughts. Draught-proofing is therefore one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce heat loss and save some money on your energy bills. Draughts can come from a variety of sources:

  • Gaps around window frames
  • Gaps around doors
  • Keyholes and letter-boxes
  • Unused chimneys
  • Gaps around pipe entrances.

For more information about the causes of draughts and effective ways of proofing against them see Draught proofing .

Loft insulation

Heat loss from an un-insulated roof could be as much as 25% from a property. This can be minimised by ensuring any loft insulation meets the current recommended depth of 270mm (11 inches).

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for free loft insulation. For details see Housing energy schemes.

See also the PDFAttic and loft insulation factsheet [PDF 188KB]

if you are interested in using the Council's Home Improvement Service to design and manage the installation of any work through our approved contractors, contact: