Home / Topics / Your Home / Insulation / How to insulate your home so all rooms are warm and cosy How to insulate your home so all rooms are warm and cosy by Angela Terry 5 Oct 2022 Insulation 14 min read Share this article Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy linkLink copied! The information provided was correct at the time of publication. Some incentives and grants may no longer be available. We all need to feel warm this winter but how do you heat your home economically with energy prices so high? The good news is there are lots of low-cost energy conservation measures to stop heat loss at home that are quick and easy and which will save you money. Find out how much you could save here. It is sometimes easy not to bother with something you cannot see, (like loft and wall insulation) but with average energy bills at £2500 per year, you will definitely notice the difference both at home and in your bank balance from these energy-saving measures. They will make your home warmer and cosier in the winter and in some cases cooler in the summer. With average energy bills at £2500 per year, you will definitely notice the difference Insulating your loft The single, most impactful thing you can do to reduce heat loss is to insulate your loft. Heat rises, so a home without loft insulation loses around a quarter of its heat through the roof. If you insulate the roof in a detached house you could save £590 on annual bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust’s October 2022 figures. Living in a semi you could save £385 a year and a mid-terraced home could save £330 with loft insulation. So it’s worth investing. And of course, insulating your home will mean you use less energy which is better for the environment. DIY or ask an expert? Insulation has the biggest impact on energy conservation Whether you are “topping up” existing insulation or starting from scratch, laying roof insulation is a manageable DIY job if you wear protect clothing and seek appropriate advice. If it feels too much you can source a trusted installer. Go to the Trust Mark website https://www.trustmark.org.uk to find tradespeople who are part of this Government-endorsed quality scheme. Demand is high currently so be prepared to wait before work can start – all the more reason to start making enquiries now. What do you use? Insulation works by trapping air and creating a blanket around your home. For most lofts, mineral wool or fibre glass is the most popular option (these cost between £30 and £50 for five square meters). If you’re looking for a natural and sustainable material, sheep’s wool is good although it is more expensive (£60 to £80 for five square meters). Avoid spray insulation in your roof as many mortgage lenders will not lend on a home that has used this in the roof. If you wish to use your loft for storage you can easily fit loft stilts to the joists which allow you to place boarding on top of the insulation without compressing it (£1.80 for one or £17.70 for 12 in B&Q). Light covers can be bought to protect recessed light fittings coming through from your top floor ceiling. If you already have loft insulation it may need topping up or replacing if it has compressed or sagged to below 30 cm – the optimum thickness. Tips You need to make sure your insulation is 30cm deep to have the best effect. Try to work with someone else if you are tackling roof insulation yourself. Make sure you have kneeling boards that cover the distance between three joists when moving between joists. Clear the loft so you have a safe space in which to work. Work from a corner. Cover pipes with foam before you start. Don’t fit insulation below a water tank. Remember to insulate your loft hatch using double-sided tape and use insulation tape to make sure heat isn’t loft through gaps. Check our article about roof, wall and floor insulation for even more hints and ideas Insulation cools your home in summer too With record breaking temperatures reached each summer due to global warming, insulation is an increasingly attractive way to maintain pleasant living conditions indoors. Insulation is low cost compared to expensive, power-hungry air-conditioning units so you can receive the benefits of an air-tight home all year round. It works because warm air flows where the cool air is settled. This could be upward, downward, or sideways. When it’s hot outside heat tries to get in from any angle it can find. That includes your roof, which takes plenty of direct sun and gets very hot, insulation prevents it coming in. Seven Other Practical Tips to Reduce Energy Bills Insulation has the biggest impact on energy conservation and these simple measures can make the greatest financial savings: Many of these home improvements can be carried out by home owners depending on their DIY skills Draft proofing (foam strips, draft excluder brushes and chimney balloon).Smart thermostat (set at 19C).Home décor; using thermal curtains and blinds.Double glazing (or temporary secondary glazing film).New boiler or heat pump (if more than ten years old).Wall insulation (cavity or solid wall).Floor insulation (or carpet underlay with thermal properties). Many of these home improvements can be carried out by home owners depending on their DIY skills. All the materials are widely available from DIY stores and do not require a huge investment. As with any home improvements, please check that all work complies with building regulations. For more tips keep reading and visit your energy supplier website. If you wish to use professionals to save time and hassle then the National Insulation Association (NIA) has a list of approved installers. Use the NIA postcode locator tool is at the top of their website to find your local installers. 1. Draught Proofing Many of these home improvements can be carried out by home owners depending on their DIY skills Foam strips, draft excluder brushes and chimney balloons all prevent cold air from rushing into your home from the gaps around windows, doors, letter boxes and other holes in the building fabric. These are easy to fit as they come with self-adhesive strips. They are cheap to buy and make a noticeable difference. Here are some DIY videos on draught-proofing windows and doors. How to Draught-Proof Windows How to Draught-Proof Doors Read more about DIY draught-proofing here. 2. Thermostats and Smart Thermostats In 1970, the average home was heated to just 12C in winter; now heating systems are designed to operate from 18 to 24C Whereas thermometers tell us the temperature in a room, thermostats set the temperature in a room. Thermostats are a more efficient and easier way to control the temperature of your house in winter; opening windows to cool a house down wastes fuel and will result in higher energy bills. Turning your thermostat down, even just by 1 degree, can save you £145 a year. The Energy Saving trust has a really useful guide to thermostats and smart meters. In smart homes, electronic devices communicate with each other to activate gadgets, appliances and in this case smart thermostats. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’. Smart technologies, such a smart thermostat, are a great energy efficiency and money saving initiative. They cost around £200 including installation and are available from all main household or DIY stores. In 1970, the average home was heated to just 12C in winter; now heating systems are designed to operate from 18 to 24C Smart thermostats such as the Hive or Nest can be controlled remotely via an app on your mobile phone or other device, so they save energy as they optimise your heating. For example, if you are away for the weekend, your heating and hot water can be easily switched off, yet you still return to a warm home. Similarly, your home can be zoned so if you work from home, the heating is only in areas of the house you are using during the day. Millions of homes are reaping the benefit of having a smart thermostat installed. How Hot Is Too Hot? In 1970, the average home was heated to just 12 degrees Celsius in winter; now heating systems are designed to operate from 18 to 24 degrees Celsius. Bedrooms upstairs or unused rooms don’t need to be heated to the same temperature as living rooms, try adjusting the radiator controls to a lower setting in these rooms. If your home is zoned (different heating controls for upstairs and downstairs), it is worth adjusting these temperatures and the time of heating to reflect usage in different parts of the house. And wearing suitable warm clothes in winter saves money. Heating Controls Using Thermostatic Radiator Valves Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) on the side of each radiator that can help regulate temperatures around the house. This control can reduce the flow of water through the radiator if they are turned down (from 1 to 5); simply turn to a lower number to prevent overheating in unoccupied rooms. If you don’t have TRVs, or if they have worn out, it is a simple job to replace them and the savings you make will pay for the call out fee for a heating engineer. 3. Home Décor Thermal Curtains and Blinds Window dressing are a standard part of home décor design when renovating or decorating any room. Using thick, thermal curtains or wooden shutters is another excellent way to keep heat in the room. They are widely available in modern and contemporary designs, so there is no compromise on style. Drawing curtains and closing blinds at dusk is the best way to prevent heat escaping out the window at night. Similarly, an easy way to improve floor insulation is to fit carpets with an underlay with excellent thermal properties. But if you are going for a big renovation, then be sure to include thermal insulation. Typically, people start to make changes to the fabric of their home three to five years after moving in. This is the ideal time to invest in insulation and energy saving solutions as part of your home décor upgrade. More Energy Saving Home Improvements 4. Double Glazing A lot of heat escapes through the glass in windows, which is why double, or better still, triple glazing is a recommended energy conservation measure. Double glazing is filled with an inert gas such as argon or has a vacuum between the glass panes to reduce heat transfer from your home. The glass and glazing federation provide a directory of members who have signed up to their consumer code. Replacement windows for an entire house are expensive. If you home is a listed building or in conservation area there may be restrictions regarding double glazing, so it is worth discussing options with your local council planning officer. Secondary Glazing A cheaper and temporary alternative to double glazing is secondary glazing. This is a pane of glass, plastic or even film fitted in parallel to the window. Whilst not as efficient, secondary glazing retains the original character of the windows and is considerably cheaper. Secondary glazing film can be purchased from most DIY stores and fitted in a few minutes and only costs a few pounds. The only tool required is a hairdryer to remove any creases from the “cling film” type material. This solution is ideal for people in rented properties as it offers a quick fix to draughty windows! 5. A new boiler or heat pump If you have an old boiler it could be time to replace it with a heat pump or if not a modern condensing boiler, especially if it is more than 12 to 15 years old. There are still 9 million inefficient boilers in UK homes that are wasting around half of the fuel that is consumed. A new system will save you lots of money if your current boiler can’t be repaired. A new boiler costs around £2,500 installed. There are plenty of finance options available but as always, the details of the repayment scheme are important. For low-income households and those in receipt of certain benefits, help is available (see grant funding below). Qualified Gas Safe installers are required for boiler and heating system upgrades. It’s always best to shop around rather than to wait until the boiler breaks down. A panic purchase, due to a broken boiler in the middle of winter, is likely to end up being more expensive and there may be a limited choice. Better still, you could invest in one of the renewable energy options available such as an air-source heat pump. There is currently a grant of £5,000 towards an air-source heat pump or £6,000 for a ground-source heat pump but having a well insulated home is essential for an efficient heating system. 6. Wall Insulation Regardless of how old your house is, the structure or materials used, it is possible to insulate walls to prevent heat loss. Cavity wall insulation is quick and inexpensive to fit and comes with a 25 year guarantee. If you don’t have a cavity (in much older homes), solid wall insulation can be fitted either inside your home using solid boards or outside using external cladding. Read more about wall insulation here. 7. Floor Insulation If you have a particularly draughty floor then plugging the holes with filler and using rugs are quick fixes. However, if you plan to change the floor covers, such as lay new carpet, or renovate downstairs rooms, then floor insulation is ideal. Again, you can find lots of information on insulating your floors in our handy guide here. Further Information on Grant Funding and Free Advice on Energy Efficiency Measures Help, in the form of free grant funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, is available for many low-income households and those in receipt of certain types of benefits. You may be eligible to have your home insulated for free and receive money towards your bill through the Warm Home Discount. To read more about grants visit Simple Energy Advice website. If you are based in Scotland, call Home Energy Scotland on: 0808 808 2282. If you are in Northern Ireland, call 0800 1422 865 for the Northern Ireland Energy Advice Line, or visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy or the Energy Saving Trust. If you live in Wales, call Nest scheme on 0808 808 2244 which provides funding for low income households and those living in deprived communities. Below are savings for typical gas-heated homes so if a home is heated by oil or LPG then the savings will be higher. Loft insulation (0 to 270mm)Detached houseSemi detached houseMid terrace houseDetached bungalowFuel bill savings (£/year)£590£355£330£590Typical installation cost*£630£480£455£640Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)1000 kg610 kg560 kg1000 kgPayback time*1.1 years1.4 years1.4 years1.1 yearsTable 1. Savings from loft Insulation (0 to 270 mm) sourced from the EST *if contracted or much less if DIY. Figures are based on fuel prices as of October 2022. Loft insulation top up (120 to 270mm)Detached houseSemi detached houseMid terrace houseDetached bungalowFuel bill savings (£/year)£55£35£30£55Typical installation cost*£480£390£370£480Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)95 kg55 kg50 kg95 kgPayback time 8.7 years11.1 years12.3 years8.7 yearsTable 2. Savings from loft Insulation (120 to 270 mm); sourced from the EST *if contracted or much less if DIY. Figures are based on fuel prices as of October 2022. Cavity Wall InsulationDetachedSemi detachedMid terraceBungalowMid-floor FlatFuel bill savings (£/year)£690£395£235£310£180Typical installation cost£1800£1000£580£800£395Payback time2.6 years2.5 years2.5 years2.6 years2.2 yearsCarbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)1,200 kg670 kg395 kg530 kg305 kgTable 3. Savings from cavity wall insulation; figures sourced from the EST These are estimated figures based on insulating a gas-heated home. The average installed cost is unsubsidised. Figures are based on fuel prices as of October 2022. Solid Wall InsulationDetachedSemi detachedMid terraceBungalowMid-floor FlatFuel bill savings (£/year)£930£540£315£420£240Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)1,600 kg910 kg540 kg720 kg410 kgInstallation costs: external wall insulation*No estimatesAround £12,000No estimatesNo estimatesNo estimatesInstallation costs: internal wall insulation*No estimatesAround £8,500No estimatesNo estimatesNo estimatesPayback timeNo estimates16 to 22 yearsNo estimatesNo estimatesNo estimatesTable 4. Savings from solid wall insulation; figures sourced from the EST *Based on a typical 3 bedroom, semi-detached house in Great Britain. Figures are based on fuel prices as of October 2022. Floor InsulationDetachedSemi detachedMid terraceBungalowFuel bill savings (£/year)£180£110£75£95Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)310 kg190 kg125 kg335 kgTypical installation costFrom £1,600 to £2,900Payback time*9 to 16 years15 to 26 years21 to 39 years17 to 31 yearsTable 5. Savings from floor insulation; figures sourced from the EST *If contracted or much less if DIY. Figures are based on fuel prices as of October 2022. Disclaimer This information is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions. Please share this article and comment on social. Share this article Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy linkLink copied!