By Ruth Barton
Winter is coming and, with the United Kingdom facing its greatest risk of blackouts since 2007, it’s a good idea for everybody, to winter-proof their homes to ensure that being cut off from electricity isn’t as bad as it could be.
With energy prices rising, an estimated 6.6 million homes are planning on reducing their bills by cutting back on the heating. Minimizing the heat loss in your home will help it stay warmer for longer, saving you money on the heating bill and allow you to be more environmentally friendly.
Thermal imaging cameras are able to map the heat loss in a home and are an extremely effective method of showing where insulation can be added and heat saving measures can be made. The majority of heat is lost through the roof and walls, therefore, to reduce heat loss these should both be insulated.
Although forking out the money for insulation in one lump might seem a little pricey, some of these procedures will pay for themselves within a year. It’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for any government grants or the Green Deal as these could cover all of the costs or at least contribute.
Walls can be responsible for up to 33% of heat loss. In the U.K., most homes built after the 1930s will have some form of cavity wall brickwork. Cavity wall insulation can increase energy efficiency in a home by huge amounts, reducing heating costs by up to 15%. Insulating a cavity wall requires the space (cavity) between the inner and outer walls to be filled with insulating materials. Only a registered contractor should determine if the homes are suitable for a cavity fill and carry out the insulation.
Cavity wall insulation costs around £450, will save a homeowner around £175 a year and 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. The money saved will almost pay off the cost of the insulation in three years.
If your house is pre 1930s, then it is likely your home will be built from a solid wall; these are more difficult and costly to insulate. This requires adding extra walls to your current ones either internally or externally. Internal solid wall insulation will reduce the space inside the home but is a lot cheaper, costing around £650 while insulating walls externally will cost anything between £3500-6000, depending on the size of your home.
26% of heat in homes is lost from the roof, so save on the heating bill and keep warmth in by insulating the roof. This can be a DIY job or completed by a professional. It simply requires an insulation quilt to be added to the loft, the recommended thickness is 11 inches, costs around £205 and could save the owner around £50-100 each year on heating.
Thermal imaging cameras also show that a significant amount of heat is lost through windows. This can be avoided by double glazing and using heavy or thermally lined curtains. These measures could save you on your heating bill by up to £140 and £90 per year respectively.
It is also important to draft proof your home. It could save you between £35 and £45 a year and is a DIY job of simply finding the cold air and blocking it off with sealants, these could be foam, tubes, rubber or silicone.
Make sure that you’re not one of the one in four Brits expecting to have a cold home this winter. These small steps are affordable, will save you money, will usually pay for themselves within the year or so and will keep you warm.
Ruth Barton is a professional writer who is passionate about environmental issues. She is constantly looking for ways to reduce her carbon footprint.