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Insulation: Give your home a jumper

Millions are missing out on loft insulation and wall insulation according to new government figures. 9.6 million homes don’t have enough loft insulation and 7.8 million do not have enough cavity wall insulation – that’s one in every four homes.  

Are you feeling insulated?

Given the UK’s outdated infrastructure that might not be the most surprising thing you learn this week, but when you consider that all the major energy suppliers are also offering free or cut price deals for loft and cavity wall insulation it does seem a bit strange. Estimates put the number of households taking up these deals at around 100,000 each month, but 200,000 could be taking advantage of them.

And it’s not as if we’re all perfectly happy our efficient homes. Research from Consumer Focus shows that most people don’t think their home is as energy efficient as it could be, and they don’t think they’re on the cheapest energy deal either. Here’s what they found:

 – Two-thirds of consumers aren’t confident that their home is as energy efficient as it could be, but seven out of 10 don’t plan to do anything to improve energy efficiency in the next year

– There’s also a knowledge gap – 47% don’t know how thick the insulation in their loft is, so they don’t know if it could be improved.

– Over a third (35%) are unaware that suppliers offer free or discounted insulation available to everyone, with the schemes paid for out of customers’ bills.

 – Two- thirds say paying a £200 one-off fee for home insulation is a good investment, as it saves at least £100 off their bill every year

– Just one in five are fully confident that they’re getting the best deal from their energy supplier.

Get started with the uSwitch top-5 insulation tips

1) Make sure your house is suitable for cavity walls

First, ask yourself when was your home built? If it was after 1930 but before 1995 it probably has cavity walls. Secondly how thick are your walls? Cavity walls are usually at least 30cm thick – measure at a doorway or window.

2)  Does your house have loft insulation?

Loft insulation is suitable for almost any home with an accessible loft without damp or condensation problems. If you have no loft insulation, or insulation that’s less than 60mm deep, you’ll be able to get your loft insulated for around £150. If you already have loft insulation of 60mm or more and just need a ‘top up’ that will cost around £200.

3) Know why you’re doing it

Your house is always losing heat. For a typical house the walls will lose most heat, around 30% and up to 40%. The roof will be next at around 25%, probably followed by windows and doors at around 20%, and the floor (of your lowest storey, at around 10%).

4) Make sure you don’t need planning permission

In most cases, insulation work does not require planning permission from your local council. Exceptions may include external wall insulation and, in areas where there are conservation schemes, glazing. But even if you don’t need planning permission, building regulations could apply, so check with your local council’s building control department.

5) Don’t forget the little things

Draught proofing is the little sister of insulation, but it packs a big punch. It’s a quick, cheap option, but considering around 30% of the heat in your home is lost through draughts it shouldn’t be ignored. Our top-ten draught proofing tips will guide you through the do’s and don’ts.