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The Importance of Insulating Your Loft

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 10 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Insulation Loft Home Loft Insulation

With the cost of heating bills going up and up, if you haven’t already insulated your loft, now is the time to do so. Read on to find out more.

Hot Air Rises

Much of the heat from your home will escape via the roof without adequate insulation in your loft. In fact according to the Dept of the Environment, a quarter of heat can be lost through the roof of an un-insulated property.

A huge amount of heat is of course also lost through the wall cavities, windows and doors, but since hot air rises, it’s the roof of your home which is the key area to protect first and probably also the easiest.

What Is Insulation?

Insulation is a way of retaining heat through providing a warmer ‘layer’. It works in the same way as putting on an extra layer or two of clothing to protect you from the cold.

When you have your heating on, you want to protect as much of it as possible from escaping through the roof and keep that warmth within your home.

Why Insulate?

Insulating your roof space will save you money, keep your home warmer for longer in the winter and the roof space cooler in the summer months - and also reduce the amount of energy you need to use.

If everyone insulated their loft, it has been estimated an annual saving of £700 million could be made, which is enough to pay for over half a million families to heat homes that otherwise might not be able to afford to. In addition, a ton or more of carbon dioxide per household could be saved, helping to massively reduce our overall carbon footprint.

Types Of Insulation

There are different ways to insulate your loft – some cheaper and simpler than others but none of them difficult to install. The two main types of insulation are 1) a mineral wool or fibreglass rolled ‘blanket’ and 2) ‘loose fill’ pieces of polystyrene-type granules.

A further type of insulation is foam, which requires professionals to exude it into your loft through pipes.

There are also more environmentally-friendly and possible ‘safer’ types of insulation available with two good natural options being sheep’s wool and recycled newspaper products.

How Insulation Is Inserted

The insulation layer is usually laid out or spread between the joists and the floorboards of the loft with planking on top of that should you wish to be able to walk on the loft floor or use it for storage. If the loft has been converted for use as an extra room, then insulation can be put in the wall cavities.

DIY installation is relatively easy but protective clothing and masks should be worn if laying synthetic types of insulation as it can be an irritant.

Savings

If you are insulating your home for the first time and lay the recommended 270mm depth of material, it has been estimated that you could save approximately £200 per year, or about 20% of your annual heating bill.

If you wish to have your home assessed for the best way to insulate it or save energy, then many companies offer this service for free. There are also grants available to help with the cost of lost insulation.

Grants

As the government recognises the importance of loft insulation, grants are available to help do so, covering either all or part of the cost. To find out if you’re eligible, contact your local council for more information.

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