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Insulating your home

A large amount of the heat generated in your home can be lost unnecessarily due to poor insulation. You can slow down the rate that it escapes by ensuring that your home is properly insulated. Not only will this be saving you money but you'll also be helping the environment by saving energy.

Large detached house

Loft insulation

Twenty five per cent of heat generated is lost through the roof of your home. This makes insulating you loft floor a must.

By ensuring you have at least 270mm (10 inches) of loft insulation, you could save up to 25 per cent of your heating costs.

Even if you already have some form of insulation, you can still top this up by laying extra insulation over the top.

There are four types of loft insulation:

  • blown mineral wool/blown cellulose fibre
  • mineral wool quilt
  • encapsulated mineral wool quilt
  • loose fill.

You can install loft insulation yourself by getting advice from your local builders merchant or DIY store, both the mineral wool quilt, encapsulated mineral wool quilt and loose fill types can be DIY installed.

If you decide to do it yourself, always ensure that air is allowed to circulate under the roof and that you do not cover any air vents. Good ventilation is essential to minimise the risk of condensation.

There are currently significant grants and discounts available for insulating your home. Please visit our Grants pages to find out more.

Cavity wall insulation

Being the largest surface area of your home, un-insulated walls can account for up to 33% of your total amount of heat lost. If your home was built after 1930 it is more likely to have cavity walls, which unlike traditional solid external walls, have an inner and outer layer with a small air gap or 'cavity' between.

One way of finding out whether you have cavity walls is to measure the thickness of the wall at any window or door. Cavity walls are at least 300mm (12 inches) thick, whereas solid walls are normally only 225mm (9 inches) thick.

Another way to identify cavity walls is to look at your walls from the outside. If the bricks are all the bricks are length ways then you probably have cavity walls. If you have walls where some of the bricks are end on then you don not have cavity walls.

If you do have cavity walls, insulating them is a must for saving both money and energy . This involves the injection of insulating material into the wall through a series of small drill holes. It's a straightforward job that should cause little disruption. Cavity wall insulation is carried out by professional installers and should come with a 25-year guarantee.

There are currently significant grants and discounts available for insulating your home. Please visit our grants pages to find out more.

Solid wall insulation

If you do not have cavity walls, you can still insulate them. Where walls are solid, the insulation can be added either externally, known as external cladding or internally, known as dry lining.

External cladding involves insulation being fixed to the outside of your walls and suitably weatherproofed with a decorative finish. Although this is more expensive than insulating cavity walls, it is ideal if your outside walls already need to be redecorated or repaired.

Dry-lining involves fixing insulated plasterboard onto the inside of your solid walls. It is recommended that this is only carried out when you already have some decorative work planned.

There are currently significant grants and discounts available for insulating your home. Please visit our Grants pages to find out more.

Hot water tank and pipe insulation

By insulating your hot water tank and pipes, your hot water will stay hotter for longer and actually cost you less.

Hot water tank jackets can be found in any good DIY store and are cheap and easy to install. Fitting a thick insulating jacket can cut heat loss from your hot water tank by up to 75 per cent. Even if you already have a jacket, if its less than 75mm (3") thick, you'll save even more money by replacing it or fitting another around it.

Insulating your hot water pipes wherever you can will also help to keep the water hotter, particularly between the boiler and the hot water cylinder. It will also reduce the waiting time for your hot water to get to the tap. Pre-formed split foam insulation is cheap and easy to use and available from any good DIY store.

Draught proofing

Wherever you can feel cold air coming in through gaps in your windows and doors, warm air is escaping. Fitting draught proofing is a simple but effective way of reducing the amount of cold air coming in and stopping the warm air from escaping.

Draught proofing materials vary according to the areas they are designed for:

  • self-adhesive foam sealant strips - suitable for most doorways and windows
  • brush pile excluders - for sash windows and sliding doors
  • rigid strips with a rubber seal - ideal for large and uneven gaps.

But don't forget to ventilate!! If you have a coal or gas fire it is important that your home is properly ventilated. Sweep chimneys regularly and check any airbricks for blockages.

Don't draught proof kitchen or bathroom windows and doors as these help to keep condensation under control. If condensation remains, open any trickle vents you have or try fitting an extractor fan. You should always open windows while cooking, running hot water or drying clothes.

There are currently grants available for draught proofing your home. Please visit our Grants pages to find out more.

Contact details

South Derbyshire District Council
Energy Officer
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Swadlincote
DE11 0AH

Tel: 01283 595974
Online: contact form
email: energy@south-derbys.gov.uk

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