Insulating Older Homes Guide

Older homes are notorious for their archaic charm and character. The downside is that they can get quite cold. They are susceptible to draughts that affect the energy bills.

This guide helps you understand how to insulate older homes.

Why do older homes loose so much heat?

Raising energy bills has led to efficiency becoming a priority. Older homes were built for more practical reasons rather than energy efficiency. Solid walls and suspended timber floors do not retain heat well.

How can I insulate my older home?

There are several things you can do to reduce heat loss in older homes. We've put together this job list that will help bring those energy bills down.

Draught-Proofing

Older homes usually have thin glass windows. These allow lots of cold air to enter the house. Doors and chimneys are  common places for draughts too. Draught-proofing is a great way of keeping heat in your home. Most of the work can be complete yourself.

Simply applying self-adhesive foam strips on windows will make a huge difference. You may also want to consider draught excluders on letterbox flaps. Sash windows can be fitted with brush strips. This is a little more complicated so it might be better to consult a professional.

The Energy Saving trust estimates that by sealing gaps in your windows and doors could save £20 per year [1]. You could save around £15 per year by draught-proofing your chimney.

Roof & Loft insulation

The next areas you’ll want to target are your roof and loft. Around 25% of heat loss can take place from your property’s roof if it is uninsulated [2]. There are two options here. Cold loft insulation and warm loft insulation. Cold loft insulation is simple and can be completed as a DIY project.  Cold loft insulation simply means laying the fluffy insulation down between the rafters. Warm insulation offer better thermal performance but is more expensive. It is better to have this installed by a professional. The type of insulation you select also depends on the type of roof you have.

Loft insulation could provide you with up to £395 in savings on your annual energy bill [3].

Wall insulation

Most older homes, (pre 1920s) were built with solid walls. More modern homes are built with cavity walls. Solid walls lose a significant amount of heat if left uninsulated. This heat loss can be reduced by getting either internal or external wall insulation. External wall insulation tends to help properties retain more heat. It is also more expensive.

Depending on the type of wall insulation you get installed, you could save up to £375 on your annual energy bill [4]. 

Floor insulation

It’s common for older properties to have suspended timber floors. These are floors that are built with timber floorboards, attached to the joists above the property’s foundations. The floors feature a gap that enable ventilation and air movement in order to help prevent damp.

To insulate timber floors, they must be raised and mineral wool must be used. The insulation is around 150mm in thickness [5].

Insulation under the floorboards of your ground floor could help you save around £40 on your annual energy bill [5]. 

What else can I do to increase energy efficiency?

Improving your property’s energy efficiency could also help to lower your carbon footprint. Here are some other things you can do to boost your home’s energy efficiency and lower your utility bills.

Invest in energy-efficient appliances

Ensuring that appliances such as your fridge, boiler and lightbulbs are energy-efficient makes a big difference. Switching from normal incandescent lightbulbs to LEDs lights, for example, will save you around £40 per year. These may seem like small savings but imgine if you implemented 2 or 3 of these. The savings soon mount up.

Smart technology

Smart technology is helping homeowners across the world monitor and manage their energy usage. By getting a smart meter, you can keep an eye on how energy is being used in your home. They also help to make your energy bills more accurate.

Additionally, with a smart thermostat, you could set up personalised heating schedules. Many smart thermostats also learn your routines to suit your lifestyle. You will also be able to access and control your home heating from anywhere. No more facepalm moments when you have left the heating on!

Switch suppliers

Switching energy suppliers is the best way to see significant savings on your bill. None of the energy-saving measures will work to their full potential unless you’re on a suitable tariff. You can use our quick and easy comparison tool to find out which energy supplier can provide you with the best deal for your needs.

 

Caveats

[1] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/draught-proofing

[2] https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/tech/loft-insulation/

[3] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/roof-and-loft

[4] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/solid-wall

[5] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/floor

[6] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/blog/getting-best-out-your-led-lighting

 

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