How Much Money Can You REALLY Save If You Insulate Your Home?

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As we enter the bitterly cold winter months, it is more important than ever that our homes are warm and comfortable as we go through the winter season. Not only can it be difficult to create heat in your home, it can be just as challenging to retain the heat and temperature you’ve managed to achieve.

This is a particularly prominent issue in homes that are not properly insulated to the best of their potential, as it is something that is not thought about as often as it should be.

This is why we have compiled some research to inform you of how much heat and money you could be losing by not having a fully functional insulation system in your home, and our top tips to create a home that is heat and energy efficient, using all forms of insulation.

According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), a significant amount of heat can escape and be lost from most areas of the home. Even a partially insulated home, the figures are surprising, with 45% of heat lost through solid walls, 33% through other walls such as Cavity Walls, 25% through loft and roof space and 20% through windows and doors.All of this heat loss has been costing you an ever-growing amount of money you probably didn’t even know about.

Most insulation work is relatively simple and can be done without the need of a professional installation team and the money spent on the insulation itself will be made back multiple times over with the savings on your energy bills.

House Insulation Diagram

Insulating Floors

Starting from the bottom, there are many ways that floors can be insulated, based on the current setup of insulation in your home.

It is not seen as necessary to insulate floors that are above heated spaces, so floor insulation is only needed in ground floor and basement areas.

It could be as simple as sealing the gaps between floors and skirting boards, especially any gaps that can expose your home directly to the outdoors.

This can be achieved with any standard sealant, making it a cheap and speedy process. In the case of an older home with traditional timber suspended flooring, the floorboards can be lifted relatively easily, then it is just a case of laying mineral wool insulation between the joists of the flooring, with additional support provided by netting.

However, in most cases homes will have a solid concrete base to their ground floors, but the process of insulating these kinds of floors is just as simple.

This involves just installing a layer of rigid insulation on top of the concrete to keep structural integrity but excellent thermal qualities as well.

So How Much Can You Save?

Insulating a floor is estimated to cost between £950 and £2,200. This can give you savings of between £25 and £65 a year, so in the best-case scenario, you would make your material cost back in just over 14 and a half years.

Insulating your Tanks, Pipes & Radiators

Water Tanks and Radiators are commonly neglected when it comes to insulation, but these areas are cheap, easy and quick to insulate and in turn can save you money you didn’t even realise you were losing.

The installation process can be as simple as purchasing foam tubes to cover pipes then slipping them on and installing a hot water cylinder jacket is just as easy, according to the EST.
Insulating your tanks, pipes and radiators can not only save you money on your energy bills like other forms of insulation, it can also significantly increase the efficiency of your water heating system, giving you even more savings from such a simple and quick process.

In terms of radiator insulation, it is only necessary to insulate the back of a radiator that is attached to an external wall, provided both sides of your internal walls are already insulated. The foil sheets used to insulate radiators are best suited to solid wall properties, but can be used on other types of walls for extra thermal efficiency.

Many have taken to using tin foil as a cheaper alternative to these insulating foil sheets, but this has not been proven to be effective and is a flammable material, making it a possibly dangerous way to insulate your radiators.

So How Much Can You Save?

Savings depend on how thorough you are with insulating these units and pipes. Most forms of insulation for these projects are extremely inexpensive and, in most cases, you will make your money back from buying the materials in your first year and then some.

A hot water tank insulation jacket costs around £15 and can save you in the region of £89 per year, while radiator insulation can save you approximately £10 a year and cost as little as £6 per sheet.
Tank Jacket
Pipe Insulation

Insulating Solid Walls

Solid Walls were the most common type of wall in houses constructed before the 1920’s, so most if not all older and period homes will be constructed with Solid Walls over Cavity Walls.
Solid Walls can be insulated from both the inside and the outside, with external insulation carrying the added benefit of improving sound resistance and can increase the lifespan of your brickwork.

This is done internally with the use of Plasterboard Sheets, or a stud wall can be constructed then filled with an insulation material.

Plasterboard is usually favoured for the internal form of insulation for its environmental efficiency and the ability to quickly and easily remove and replace them in case of any future renovation projects. For external insulation, a layer of insulation is installed on to the wall, then covered with specially designed cladding or render.

It is more important for Solid Walls to be insulated as the lose more heat than their Cavity Wall counterparts.

So How Much Can You Save?

Solid Walls are typical more expensive to insulate than Cavity Walls, but the savings are greater.

External installation of Solid Wall insulation is estimated to cost between £8,000 and £22,000, depending on the size of the property. External insulation may also incur extra charges as some council require you to file for planning permission for this type of project.

Internal installation offers a significantly lower cost, at between £4,000 and £13,000, but is a more time-consuming project than its external counterpart.

The savings that can be made from having your Solid Walls insulated is estimated to be between £115 and £415 per year, so in the best-case scenario, the amount saved would surpass the cost of materials for interior Solid Wall insulation after approximately 9 and a half years.

Cavity Wall Insulation

Cavity Wall Insulation has become more of a built-in staple to most modern homes. However, there is a specific period of time in which houses were constructed with Cavity Walls, but did not include insulation as standard during the construction process.

If your home was built between the 1920’s and 1990’s, you may be missing crucial Cavity Wall Insulation that would stop heat escaping from your home, help with temperature regulation and could save you a significant amount of money.

The fool-proof way to tell whether your home has Solid or Cavity Walls, is to inspect the exterior brickwork of the property. A regular pattern in the brickwork usually points towards Cavity Walls, whereas an alternating pattern usually means a property has been constructed with Solid Walls.

Cavity Walls can be easily insulated by placing either slab or roll insulation into the cavity that has always been built into the wall, giving the wall its name. It is important to take extra care when installing this type of insulation, if used incorrectly the insulation can cause excess water to seep into the walls, causing damp and other structural issues.

So How Much Can You Save?

Both the cost of materials and the savings are dependant on the size of the property. Cavity Wall Insulation is estimated to cost between £330 and £720, much cheaper than if you were to insulate Solid Walls.
However, the savings are slightly lower with Cavity Wall insulation, with savings being anywhere between £65 for a flat to £250 a year for a detached house.

So, in the case of a flat, the savings would pay off the material cost in around 5 years. In the case of a detached house, the savings would pay off the material cost in under 3 years.
This compared to Solid Walls is a much shorter wait time to truly enjoy the savings.

Roofs and Lofts

Not only is insulating your roof or attic an effective way to reduce heat loss in your home, the savings pay for the cost the quickest compared to other larger scale forms of household insulation.
If you can access your roof or attic easily and the configuration of the joists is regular, rolls of mineral wool insulation are the best choice.

However, it must be noted that while insulating your roof or attic will keep your house warmer, consequently this process makes the roof space colder.
This will result in water tanks and pipes freezing quicker, so these will need to be insulated also.

As previously mentioned, the material costs pay for themselves in saving straight away when it comes to tank and pipe insulation, so the extra cost of insulating these essential areas shouldn’t be an issue.

Another issue that could come with insulating your roof or attic is that cold draughts might escape through the loft hatch. However, this can be easily be resolved by also insulating your loft hatch and installing draught-excluding strips around the hatch to ensure a tight seal.

Roof and Attic insulation can be installed without the help of a professional, providing the roof or attic is easy to access, flat-roofed and doesn’t have a damp issue. If you do have any of these issues, a professional should be called to inspect the space and help install the insulation.
loft insulation

So How Much Can You Save?

Typical costs for purchasing and installing Roof or Attic Insulation is between £285 and £395, depending on the size of the property, therefore the size of the Roof or Attic. The savings accumulated from installing this type of insulation ranges between £115 and £215 per year.

This means that the cost of materials will pay for itself in savings in the best-case scenario in just over a year.

Draught Proofing

Draught Proofing is the same in process as insulating your floor, but targeting other areas that can form gaps and therefore let heat escape from your home. Examples of areas that may need Draught Proofing include doors, windows, open chimneys (when not in use) and around any pipework that runs from interior to exterior areas, even smaller areas such as letter box flaps.

Finding areas that a draught is coming from is as easy as placing the back of your hand over any gaps to see if you feel any cold air coming through.

It is important to note not to block any area that is designed to ventilate the home, this includes any vents, air bricks, extractor fans and under floor grilles. Without properly controlled ventilation in the home, issues such as condensation and damp could occur, which can be expensive and time consuming to fix.

So How Much Can You Save?

If you choose to hire a professional to draught proof your home, it will set you back around £200 for door and window sealing. However, due to how simple this process is, it is much cheaper to do it yourself with a standard sealant.

Though it must be noted that if you are looking to draught proof an older home with single glazing, it may be wise to seek the help of a professional, as the process can be slightly more challenging.
You could benefit from savings of around £25 a year if you choose to draught proof your doors and windows, and an additional £15 a year if an open chimney is draught proofed when out of use, but the savings may not stop there.

Homes that are draught free keep more heat contained meaning less use for an electric heat source, giving you extra savings on your heating bills.

So What Could Your Total Savings Be?

With all of this in mind, if you chose to install all of the insulation systems we recommend, total savings could range between £400 and £1,000 a year, depending on the size of your property.

All of these methods of insulation will eventually pay for themselves, leaving you with a fully insulated and comfortable home with savings you can enjoy for years to come. Here at Builders Marketplace, we stock a range of insulation including some extra varieties suited to your specific insulation needs.

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