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Like most things in our homes we get something fitted and then forget about it until something goes wrong, but should we be checking insulation on a regular basis? Unlike many appliances or home repairs, insulation is not noticeable as it is hidden away inside the loft or the walls, and we often don’t realise the signs of when our insulation is failing us.

 

Signs of insulation issues

Some of the signs that can indicate an issue with your insulation are heat loss changes, damp or condensation. This can be caused by the deterioration of old insulation material, exposure to damp, inadequate ventilation, gaps in the insulation, or debris in the cavity. As a result, it can cause cold spots in your house and damp patches can form on walls or ceilings.
Loft insulation can also deteriorate if it becomes damp or dusty as it can prevent the material from acting as insulation and it can cause it to degrade. It can also naturally compact over time which will impact its effectiveness.

 

External factors

If you have any work done on your property where the insulation is then it might be worth having the insulation checked for damage or potential issues before they arise.
Wall insulation should be checked when you have any work done that involves drilling through the entire wall or removing bricks; fittings to the wall do not count unless it is being fixed to solid wall insulation where special fittings should be used so that it is fixed to the wall and not just the insulation. Checks should be done to see if any of the insulation has been moved or removed as a cold spot could be left. Solid wall insulation needs to be checked in case the insulation material is exposed which can cause damp to get into the material.

Loft insulation can be moved or damaged whilst work is being completed in the loft so if you have any significant work done in your loft, such as roof repairs, pipes or electrical work then it might be worth having the insulation checked in case it needs relaying correctly or replacing to ensure maximum effectiveness and adequate ventilation.

 

Infestations

If you are unfortunate that your loft gets a family of mice moving into it, then the insulation will make a nice warm home for them. Once the infestation has gone and their access to the loft is resolved, you should have your insulation checked as the material is likely to have been removed or damaged.

 

Who should check it?

You can do some basic visual checks on the loft insulation yourself and you can also check if you have the recommended 270mm of insulation, but you are best to call out a qualified and registered installer who can do a more thorough check, we can help you find a local installer. If the issue is related to the material or the workmanship, the installer can help you contact the relevant party to follow up on warranties or guarantees that could help with the cost of repairs.

Warming and relaxing near fireplace.

While it is true that energy companies have been offering free insulation for the last few years, there are still many offers out there to be had. The energy companies have not yet reached all of the customers they are committed to reaching and therefore they still work hard to encourage take-up. You can still take advantage and get insulation that could save you upwards of £100 a year on your energy and heating bills.

These insulation schemes are offered as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and are part of the government’s way of ensuring that the energy companies give something back to their most vulnerable customers.

If you choose both cavity wall and loft insulation, you could save as much as £450 off your energy bills each year, making it well worth searching out the free deals that are available. There are often certain eligibility criteria for these deals and it is important to ensure that this type of insulation is right for you home but this could be a £600 service for free.

 

Current schemes include the following:

 

Eon and Npower

This free insulation scheme is available to everyone (not just their customers) and not just those on benefits if you ask for wall cavity insulation. But those on benefits can get loft insulation on its own if they wish.

EDF

Customers can apply for wall cavity or loft insulation whether you are on benefits or not. This scheme is open to all and for all insulation types.

SSE

This scheme applies only to those on certain benefits, but does apply to either loft or cavity wall, or both.

 

What if I don’t qualify?

While this might seem unlikely according to the above, there may be situations where energy companies cannot help you. In this case you can use the DIY route to install insulation in your loft yourself. This is relatively straight forward and should only cost around £150.

If you want wall cavity insulation, you should always get an expert in to assess your home to ensure it will not be damaged by this type of insulation, Additionally homes built before 1920 are unlikely to qualify as the walls do not have a cavity. Bear this in mind before you accept a quote. Always check the accreditation of your installer before you go ahead.

Builder Fitting Insulation Into Roof Of New Home

Did you know that if you insulate your home you could benefit from a warmer home and save money on your energy bills? According to the Energy Saving Trust, loft insulation could save £10-225 per year, cavity wall insulation could save £70-225 per year, or solid wall insulation could save £120-425 per year, the savings will vary depending on your property.
Some households may be eligible for free insulation if someone living in the property is in receipt of certain benefits as there are grants available to cover or contribute to the cost of insulation. Use our home insulation grant checker to see if you are eligible.

Loft insulation

If you haven’t been in your loft for a while it might be worth having a quick look to see how much insulation is in there. If it’s less than 100mm of insulation you should consider getting it topped up as the current recommended level is 270mm. You can install loft insulation yourself but this is not advisable due to the health and safety risks which include ensuring that any electrical wiring is safe and that there is adequate ventilation to prevent condensation. We can help you find a local installer who can assess your needs and install the most appropriate insulation safely with an industry-backed guarantee.
If your loft has been boarded out then you may have insulation underneath the boards, and unless you want to remove all the boards then your loft won’t be able to be insulated.

Wall insulation

There are many types of wall insulation which cater for different wall types. A lot of UK properties built after 1932 are cavity wall construction and therefore are able to be filled with insulation. Cavity wall insulation is installed by drilling a hole in the wall between the bricks and blowing the insulation material into the cavity. Properties that were built after 1990 are likely to have been built with insulation in the walls.

Solid wall and non-standard construction properties are generally unable to be filled with insulation but they can still be insulated either internally or externally. Internal insulation is a very intrusive form of insulation as it requires moving all fittings on the externally facing walls in order to apply insulation boards and material, which also reduces the size of the room. External insulation is less intrusive but involves layering insulation boards and render to the outside of the property. This doesn’t only insulate your property but gives it a facelift too. There are many decorative finishes available such as classic render, pebbledash, and brick effect. External insulation does require permission as well as building control sign off after completion.

Checking for suitability

It is important that you get professional advice about whether your property is suitable for insulation and that you seek any permissions that are required before work commences. Wall insulation inspections can involve inserting a borescope into the wall to check for any issues or existing insulation. We can help you find a local installer who is a qualified installer who is registered with the NIA, CIGA, or BBA that can check your walls and install the most appropriate insulation. They will also provide you with an industry-backed guarantee (CIGA for cavity wall and SWIGA for solid wall insulation).

Checking insulation quality

Once insulation has been installed it is advisable to have the insulation checked by a qualified and registered professional (as per above), especially if you are experiencing issues with heat loss, damp, or condensation. The causes of these could be due to deterioration of old insulation material, inadequate ventilation, gaps in the insulation, or debris in the cavity. If you require your insulation checking, let us help you find a local installer who can investigate the issue and check on any guarantees to help with the cost of repairs.
With so many insulation options open to you and the potential savings that you can make, it’s worth investigating what can be done to make your home warmer and cheaper to run especially with rising energy bills. Enter your details into our home insulation grant checker to see if you are eligible for any help with the costs and to find a local installer.

Builder Fitting Insulation Into Roof Of New Home

Most homes are suitable for one form of insulation or another depending on your wall type and the condition of your loft, but often different rules apply on whether you are able to insulate your walls depends the product being used, wall type and condition.

 

Loft insulation

It is worth having a look in your loft to see if it is already insulated or can be insulated. It is recommended that you have 270mm of loft insulation and it is worth topping it up if it’s below 100mm. If your loft is converted, boarded or the loft hatch is inaccessible it won’t be suitable. You can either insulate the loft yourself or get an insulation company to do it.
Cavity wall properties
Distinguishing whether your walls are cavity construction or solid is determined by the brick pattern. If the bricks are in a regular pattern length ways throughout the wall then it is likely to have a cavity. If the walls are covered then you can measure the width of the wall and if it is over 260mm then it is likely to have a cavity. Those with a cavity wall construction should be able to be filled with insulation. An insulation company will do a survey prior to filling the cavity and will put a borescope into the wall to check if it’s already filled with insulation and clear to fill it.

Solid wall properties

To determine if the walls are solid, check the brick pattern, if they form an alternating pattern then the wall is solid. Solid walls can still be insulated but they can’t be filled and would have to be internally or externally insulated. Internal insulation will reduce the size of your rooms and would be disruptive. External wall insulation is less intrusive but does require additional checks with the council.

Non-standard construction

If you live in a timber or steel-framed property, stone property or pre-fabricated property then they are unlikely to have a cavity in them or if they do they are probably not able to be filled. Some of these build types can be treated the same as solid wall properties, however, different planning rules may apply and you should seek expertise advice on whether the property is suitable. In particular, in the case of stone properties these are often prohibited from having external wall insulation by some councils as it changes the look of the property.

Savings

If you are able to insulate your home you could save between £10-225 per year with loft insulation, according to the Energy Saving Trust, this varies depending on the size of the property and how much insulation is already present. Cavity wall insulation could save you £70-225 per year and solid wall insulation £120-425 per year depending on the size of the
property.
It is also worth checking if you are eligible for free insulation as people who are in receipt of certain benefits are eligible for grants to cover or contribute to the cost of insulating their home.

house insulation concept. copy space

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There are a lot of factors which can cause damp issues in your home, however you might be surprised to learn that your home insulation might be the cause of your damp problem. As bizarre as it might sound, your home insulation might well be making your home damp.

 

Making the right decision for your home

Purchasing your home is the largest financial investment you will probably make in your lifetime, so every decision that you make relating to the safety, health and happiness of your home is usually carefully researched and weighed up with all the pros and cons looked at. Despite the high level of concern with which most people approach the decisions about their home, making the right choice about the type of home insulation that is most suitable can often be problematic.

 

Do your research

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Rather than simply making your home toasty and warm, cavity wall insulation can actually cause damp. Cavity wall insulation is praised for the savings you can make on your energy bills, however it can actually damage your home. Don’t let this put you off having cavity wall insulation installed in your home, just make sure you do your research first before you have it fitted into your home in order to check that your property would benefit from cavity wall insulation.

 

Catching it before it spreads

shutterstock_367304294Loft and cavity wall insulation causing damp is neither a new nor an unusual phenomenon; a swift search online will show you this! But what can you do about it? If you’ve noticed mould starting to grow on your walls then this might be due to your loft and cavity wall insulation, which can cause condensation. If left untreated, this can eventually turn into black mould in your wardrobes, cupboards, behind your chest of drawers and on your carpets. Black mould doesn’t just look and smell unsightly, it is also hazardous to your health, particularly to sufferers of asthma.

 

Why it happens?

The science behind why loft and cavity wall insulation causes damp, is that warm air holds more water than cold air and because hot air rises it used to escape through your roof. Once you’ve had loft and cavity wall insulation, the hot air is no longer able to escape through your roof so all of the hot, and damp, water is forced back down into your house, on to your walls, carpets, clothes, furniture and wallpaper where it turns into condensation and eventually turns into mould. These places then become prime breeding grounds for mould to grow and thrive creating that recognisable ‘damp’ smell.

 

The answer:

The answer to this tricky problem is not just to avoid cavity wall and loft insulation like the plague and to wear more jumpers, instead the ventilation of your home needs to be thoroughly examined to make sure that you are making the right decision. Otherwise your anticipated annual saving on your household bill from the insulation could become overshadowed by costly damp treatments and dehumidifiers. Ventilating your home is vital to the health, wealth and happiness of your home so it is important that you have a careful and thorough inspection of your home before you jump into having any home insulation fitted in your home.

 

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