Is your home Winter Proofed?
The clocks have changed, the long nights are here and the central heating is on for longer but is your home ready for winter?
We all dread the ballooning heating bills which are inevitable at this time of year but ensuring your home is well insulated is one of the best ways to reduce heat loss and heating costs whilst still having a warm and comfortable home.
This can be something as simple as draft proofing your windows, doors and loft hatches or lagging you pipes. These measures are easily done and can prevent water damage from burst pipes which could amount to £100s. Insulating your home is like giving it a tea cosy to wear!
What is pipe lagging and what does it achieve?
Pipe lagging is a special type of insulation fitted around water pipes. It keeps heat within the pipes – so it’s useful for saving energy as well as preventing pipes from freezing and bursting. Lagging also prevents condensation forming on cold pipes.
Which pipes should be lagged?
Pipes carrying hot water from your boiler or cylinder to your hot water taps should be insulated wherever possible. Places to look for hot water pipes include:
In the hot press – pipes from the hot water cylinder
Next to the boiler, and between the boiler and hot water tank
Behind the bath panel or under the sink in the bathroom and kitchen.
Central heating pipes that take hot water to and from your radiators. (For example, pipes under wooden floors will be wasting energy by heating the gap under the floor, instead of saving their heat until they reach the radiator.)
What about frozen pipes?
Insulated lofts do a great job of keeping the house warm, but without the heat from the house seeping up, they can get very cold. Therefore, water pipes in the loft are at risk of freezing or even bursting so they should be lagged. Pipes leading to outside taps should also be lagged.
How to lag your pipes
What do I need? The most common type of pipe lagging is semi-split foam tubes. It is available in different diameters – so make sure you measure the diameter of your pipes before you go out to buy it. You will need: pipe lagging of the right size, tape measure, cloth and detergent or white spirits, utility knife or saw, cable ties or duct tape.
What do I do?
- Locate the pipes you want to lag.
- Turn the heating system off and allow pipes to cool.
- Clean the pipes with a damp cloth and detergent.
- Measure the length of the pipe.
- Cut sections of foam to the correct length using the knife or saw.
- Feed the foam over the pipe and squash into place. Make sure sections of foam fit together snugly, especially around joints and corners.
- Secure every 30 – 60 cm with cable ties or tape.
What else can I do?
Insulate your hot water cylinder: a jacket costs approximately £15 – £30 and could pay for itself in less than a year through energy savings.
Need more help? For online how-to videos, go to www.youtube.com and search for “DIY pipe lagging”
Have I enough Loft Insulation?
As heat rises 25% of your home’s heat can be lost through the roof loft, insulation can reduce this dramatically. In Northern Ireland the current Building Control regulations require 300mm or 12 inches of insulation in your roof space. That is the depth of a ruler so it is easy to measure what’s in your loft and well worth checking to determine how much insulation you have and whether it could be topped up. An average loft could be insulated in half a day. Also as insulation rolls come in depths of 100mm, 150mm or 200mm it is also simple to top up. The rolls can be criss-crossed over what is already there.
What about External Walls?
A staggering 35% of heat loss can be lost through the walls of your home if there is no insulation. If your home was built after 1930 it probably has a cavity so therefore Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) in the form of Graphite 27 plus grey bonded bead is one of the best ways to insulate whether new build or retro fitted. Small bore holes are drilled in the external walls and the bead is injected into the walls from outside. This is a hassle free procedure carried out externally with no mess, fuss or disruption. The bore holes are then plugged so they are undetectable once sealed. Most houses can be completed in a day and the benefits are immediate. Cavity wall insulation comes with a 25 year product guarantee which is transferable should you sell your house to the new owners.
If you house was built pre 1930 you most likely have solid walls so obviously cavity wall insulation is not possible. However there are alternatives available. External Wall Insulation (EWI) has become more affordable recently. This is the application of an insulation layer to the outside of a building in order to improve the building’s energy efficiency and also reduce condensation and damp walls. A house with external wall insulation will be totally transformed. This procedure takes at least a number of days to complete as it involves wrapping your home in insulation and re rendering. With over 800 colours of render to choose from there will be the right colour for you. Your new look “newbuild” home will not only look fantastic but work to reduce fuel bills.
There is another option for solid walls which is Internal Wall Insulation (IWI). This involves fitting insulation boards to the internal walls and then finishing with dry lining or plaster skim. This is less expensive than EWI although not as effective and there can be issues such as having to remove radiators, skirting boards, switches from the interior face of external walls.
The Green Issue
The government is dedicated to improving insulation standards as they realise the best way people can cut their energy bills by up to 40% is to improve the insulation in their homes. There are government grants for everyone and BlueBuild are well positioned to provide their customers with advice and guidance on how they can access grants to make their homes more comfortable whilst using less fuel.
Insulation is guaranteed to cut fuel bills and make your house a warmer welcoming home.