The price of fuel has increased worldwide as a direct result of both the pandemic and geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe. This has led to increased fuel poverty in the UK and is expected to impact more and more households throughout 2023.
Free Insulation Scheme believes that households should not have the constant worry about how much they’re spending on heating their homes, and we have therefore created a guide to help those wondering what they can do to reduce their costs.
Insulating your home means installing improvements that retain heat within your home rather than allow it to escape. Regardless of what other measures you take to improve the energy efficiency of your home, it will be much less effective as long as heat is escaping your home.
Solid Wall Insulation
Poor or even no-existent insulation within the walls of a property can account for nearly half of its heating loss. There are two types of wall insulation – solid wall and cavity wall insulation.
Solid walls are found in properties usually pre-1930, and are much harder to insulate than cavity walls. In order to insulate a solid wall, you need to add insulating boards within the internal area or fix the material to the outside of the wall and coat it. These installations are named internal and external insulation respectively.
Solid wall insulation is expensive due to the labour costs involved, and unfortunately, they are sorely needed, as solid walls lose heat much faster than even uninsulated cavity walls.
The following figures are provided by the Energy Saving Trust and show the potential costs and savings of installing different types of insulation (based on prices as per October 2022).
External Wall Insulation Costs:
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Internal Wall Insulation Costs:
|Detached House||Semi-detached house||Mid-terrace house|
Cavity Wall Insulation
Cavity walls, on the other hand, are much easier and cheaper to insulate as a result of the already existing space that needs to be filled. It consists of drilling a small 22mm hole in your wall, and then filling it with material via a tube. The installation has to be done by a certified installer, though it shouldn’t usually take more than a couple of hours.
|Detached House||Semi-Detached House||Mid-Terrace House||Detached Bungalow||Mid-Floor Flat|
Whilst half of heat loss can be blamed on the walls of your home, about a third can be blamed on the lack of loft insulation. Insulating a loft consists of laying down material between and above the joists of your attic at a depth of 270mm.
|Detached House||Semi-Detached House||Mid-Terrace House||Detached Bungalow|
As you can see, it takes around two years to make back the money you will spend on this improvement.
The previous examples are all available via the ECO4 scheme. ECO4 is a government-run scheme aiming at raising the efficiency of energy inefficient and low-income homes.
A lot of homes have concrete sub-floors, especially if recently made. Insulation can be placed when the subfloor is being replaced, or it can be placed on top of the subfloor. If your floor is made of timber, you will need it lifted to lay mineral wool insulation.
|Detached House||Semi Detached House||Mid Terrace House||Bungalow|
This section revolves around some of the other equipment you can use or have installed to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
This is perhaps the most modern purchase you can make in order to promote energy efficiency in your home. Smart Meters keep live track of how much energy is being used within your house. This allows you to catalogue and make plans around how much you’re using and when, and even regulate the temperatures downwards for bill savings.
Draughts allow cold air in and hot air out. This, of course, lowers the efficiency of your home by quite a bit. As a result, it’s best to get your hands on some material that you can use to fill these gaps. This can be anything from self-adhesive foam strips, to silicone sealants.
Finding the draughts is trickier than filling them. There are a few ways in which you can go about doing this, however. One is to close all windows and eliminate as much noise as possible. Go room to room and listen. If you can hear a whistling sound, or if the outside feels louder than it should be, there’s likely a draught somewhere. Alternatively, carry around a lit candle and watch for it to flicker.
By using solar panels to draw in power from the sun, you lessen your reliance on the national grid. This allows you to use extra, or even to save and store the energy in batteries. In fact, it’s even possible to end up with excess power that you can sell back to the grid under the Smart Export Guarantee. Various funding opportunities are available to help households with the costs of installing solar panels.
Double/Triple Glazing Glass
Windows are also responsible for losing heat, roughly 20% of all heat lost is through them. Double or even triple glazing windows reinforce the windows so as not to allow heat to leak through the gaps. Not only this, but outside noises are reduced and the security of your home will be improved.
Gadgets and gizmos
The following are small pieces of equipment you can buy to help out with improving efficiencies in the home.
- Smart thermostats – These are pieces of kit that connect your heating system to the internet, letting you change the temperature or switch your heating off, even when you are on the move.
- Motion detectors – By having lights that turn on through detecting movement, you ensure that lights will only be turned on at the most efficient times.
- Economic showerheads – By filtering and heavily controlling the amount of water that comes out the showerhead, you keep its pressure while reducing the costs of taking showers.
There are many different ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, but the most beneficial and cost-effective is home insulation. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated means that the impact of any other energy efficient measures you take up will be enhanced.
While you might have reservations about the cost of insulating your home, there are various funding grants available that could help you insulate your home, even for free in some instances, so you can enjoy the bill savings for many years to come.