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Insulating your home has many benefits, including protecting your home against the cold in winter months as well as excess heat in the summer. Insulation can also help reduce noise, and it isn’t as expensive as you may think, with savings to your energy bills you can see instantly and you will have paid for your investment within a few years, as insulation offers the best return on energy efficiency investments.

If you already have insulation in place, and it is over twenty years old, you may want to consider replacing it, as insulation at that time wasn’t the best quality and doesn’t offer the best energy efficiency for your home. If you have a new build or eco-home, many of them have such extensive insulation installed that they do not need heating systems, relying on natural heat from sunlight.

Heat often escapes through a number of ways; through solid walls, through radiation, through convection as it rises, and then through air movement as it escapes through windows and doors. Therefore because heat can escape in different ways, it is important to consider the roof, walls, floors and windows when looking to install insulation. You generally do not need planning permission to install insulation unless you are fitting it into external walls or areas of conservation. However it is always best to check.

There are many types of insulation, and many people experiment with different materials. Insulation can be used from sheep’s wool, wood, paper and even plastic bottles. So you can be sure of reducing your environmental impact whilst getting your home insulated too! Papier- mache can be a great form of insulation to prevent draughts in cracks or gaps in window frames or walls.

It’s worth considering the structure of your home when looking at insulation too. Many metals along with brick, stone and concrete are bad insulators and therefore would greatly benefit from additional insulation.

There are limits to insulating your home, so don’t think that piling up several layers will make it super effective! It won’t. In fact it will become less cost effective. In order to decrease the heat flow by just a small amount beyond already having a double layer, you will need almost ten times the amount of insulation. Therefore the savings that you could make initially could end up being negative if you go too far with it.

It is a good idea to seek professional advice where you can and get quotes from various companies. It is also worth noting that you could be entitled to a government grant towards the cost of insulating your home so it’s a good idea to ask around and find out more, as that could save you more again. And remember that heat does not just rise, it can escape in all directions so it’s a good idea to look at insulating walls and floors as well as the roof. With such low cost options now, insulating your home can be a relatively low cost investment with much larger savings on your energy bills.

by Cormac Henderson

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