Sufficient house insulation helps homeowners lower winter heating costs and provides environmental benefits.

The cost of home heating increases every year in the UK and winter always seems to last much longer than summer. In this article, we offer homeowners some helpful tips on insulating a home to help lower fuel bills this winter.

The installation of adequate thermal insulation in a home promotes energy efficiency and also has a positive effect on the environment. Lower fuel consumption saves money and reduces greenhouse gasses. Many materials used in home insulation these days can be recycled or were made of recycled materials in the first place.

Home Insulation Tips

Homeowners need to look at their houses systematically and identify any parts of the structure that may contribute to heat loss. Inadequate levels of insulation usually account for around 50 percent the heat a home loses to the outside environment. Here are some areas to focus on.

Attics and Ceilings

Heat rises through a house largely by convection and the attic is the point of the most considerable potential heat loss in the home. It is surprising to note how many UK houses still have little or inadequate levels of insulation in the attic and ceilings.

Most new constructions will have a minimum insulation in an unfinished attic. Homeowners should consider adding more insulation to increase the loss of energy. Fiberglass, mineral wool, and blown-in insulation can be used in an unfinished attic. Finished ceilings and attics will require blown-in installation of fiberglass or rock wool insulation.

Walls

Walls between unheated garages or conservatories are often left uninsulated. Installing insulation in these locations will save heating fuel. Internal wall insulation is done by fitting insulation boards to a wall, or by constructing a stud wall filled with an insulation material like mineral wool fibre. This will slightly reduce the floor area of a room as the width of the insulation is around 10 cm. Homeowners adding wall insulation should look at upgrading the home’s vapour barrier as well. The cost of a barrier is low if the wall has already been opened up to install insulation.

Floors

Floors over unheated basements should be insulated where possible.

Basements

Although not many UK have basements, uninsulated basement walls and foundations can account for around 25 percent of a home’s heat loss. If a basement or cellar is unheated, it is a good idea to insulate the floor joists above. If a basement is heated, ensure the walls are insulated to lower your energy bills. Insulation is easily installed during the construction of a basement. Existing basement walls can be fitted with framing and insulation installed under a layer of plasterboard.

Pipe Insulation

Adding insulation or lagging to piping and valves prevents the problems that can occur if water freezes in the pipes. The insulation stops the water in the pipe from turning to ice, which expands and eventually bursts the pipe, which can lead to expensive damage. Although preventing burst pipes is the most common reason for lagging, there are other reasons including condensation control.

Condensation on the pipes can cause corrosion or rust, which is a very damaging problem. In humid environments, pipe insulation helps prevent condensation from accumulating on the piping.

When the temperature difference between a pipe and the ambient air is notable, heat loss and gain from the pipes can also be significant. In cold areas, hot water in the pipes will lose heat and in hot spaces, the cold water in the piping heats up. Adding a layer of insulation will decrease the heat loss and limit the energy expenditure needed to make up for lost or increased energy.

Summary

Using adequate insulation with energy efficient windows, weather stripping, and maintaining intact interior vapour barriers and proper ventilation will dramatically enhance the energy performance of a building.

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