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Cheap DIY home insulation: How to make your home warmer on a budget

Every little bit counts: Helping to keep your home warm costs less than you think, and even a very small expense can pay off big on energy bills.

UK residents live in some of the oldest, coldest and least insulated properties in the world – and it’s costing us hundreds of pounds a year on our energy bills.

Many are put off by the thought of paying thousands of pounds for professional insulation, especially during a cost of living crisis.

But insulating your home — and lowering record energy prices — doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Even a simple, inexpensive DIY can have a major impact on reducing energy costs and saving you money.

With some experts saying energy bills will stay high through 2040, here are some of the easiest ways to make your home warmer on a budget.

Every little bit counts: Helping to keep your home warm costs less than you think, and even a very small expense can pay off big on energy bills.

Every little bit counts: Helping to keep your home warm costs less than you think, and even a very small expense can pay off big on energy bills.

Simple ways to insulate your home

According to LoftZone insulation experts, a typical property loses 25% of its heat through the roof, 35% through the walls, 15% through doors and floors, and 10% through windows.

Draftproofing – £60 a year saved

Have you ever wondered why we put radiators under the windows, when they are the coldest parts of the house? It’s about trying to beat the drafts.

When radiators began to be installed in the 1930s, they were placed under windows in the hope that the ubiquitous drafts would push the heat from the radiator further into the house.

This practice has continued to the present day, although the logic has been debunked.

But drafts don’t have to be a fact of life. The charity Energy Saving Trust says the average UK home could save £60 a year on energy bills just by wedging windows and doors against drafts, or £50 a year in Northern Ireland. North.

Sealing is the first thing to do. On a cold day, you can easily smell them if you put your hands near a door or window

The simplest form of draft protection is thick curtains, which help block the cold from windows. It costs from £15 to £50 per curtain.

Dave Raval of LoftZone said: “Draft protection is the first thing. On a cold day, you can easily smell them if you put your hands near a door or window.

Raval points out that heavy fabric curtains are one of the most effective draft protection techniques and have stood the test of time.

“There’s a reason medieval buildings had tapestries on the walls, they really help keep the heat in,” he explained.

The Energy Saving Trust also recommends using wind strips to tape around the window frame, which helps fill the gap between the window and the frame. These will set you back around 90p for a meter of tape.

For doors, the charity suggests installing easy access covers for keyholes and letterboxes, as well as ‘sausage’ type door draft excluders that run along the base of the door.

These cost over £5 but can also be made for free at home using old pantyhose and something to stuff them with.

If you have an open fireplace that you don’t use, a chimney draft stopper helps stop drafts and heat loss through the chimney. These look like thick plastic balloons and cost around £18-20 from DIY retailers.

Be careful, however, not to completely obstruct the ventilation. Some airflow is necessary to prevent mold and carbon monoxide buildup in rooms with open fireplaces or flues. The same goes for rooms that produce a lot of humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Why are energy bills so high?

Since emerging from the pandemic, gas demand has exploded, but supply has struggled to catch up. It has driven up prices and driven up the cost of gas and electricity for households and businesses.

This was made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to a squeeze on gas supplies across Europe and analysts predicted a cold winter could lead to blackouts and rationing Energy.

Secondary glazing – savings vary

As the name suggests, secondary glazing is an additional sheet of plastic or other insulating material next to a single-glazed window – much like cheap double-glazing.

There’s no easy way to determine how much secondary glazing will save you, as “systems range from very cheap and temporary to expensive and very effective,” the Energy Saving Trust says.

But at the cheaper end of the scale is a thin, sticky plastic film that you can peel off and put on your windows. It costs pennies per square meter, but brings only a small improvement in energy saving.

A level above are thicker plastic sheets that attach with magnets or clips. The top level is the professionally installed secondary glazing and then the double glazing.

If you want to try secondary glazing at no cost, bubble wrap can work.

“It’s a bit Heath Robinson, but leftover bubble wrap from Christmas gifts is a good insulator, and the bigger the bubbles the better,” Raval said.

Help with the heat: Insulating a roof means going up to the attic and pushing the wool between the joists

Help with the heat: Insulating a roof means going up to the attic and pushing the wool between the joists

Moderate Difficulty Methods to Insulate Your Property

Fit roof insulation – £640 per year saved

Insulating your roof can mean big savings on energy bills. A person living in a semi-detached house without roof insulation could save £640 a year by installing 270mm insulation in their attic, the Energy Saving Trust says.

Most roof insulation is large rolls of wool spun from basalt, a type of rock. Prices vary, but £25 will buy around 8-10 square meters of insulation. Insulating an entire loft can therefore cost a few hundred dollars, but most homes will recoup that money within 12 months as their energy bills come down.

The installation consists of climbing into the attic and pushing the insulation between the joists, being careful not to crush the wool as this will make it useless.

Cost of life

However, there are a few safety points to be aware of.

First, wear gloves and a face mask, as some people may find wool irritating to their skin.

But the main safety issue isn’t falling through an attic hatch or through the ceiling while walking between joists. About 2,000 people go to the hospital each year for injuries caused by a fall from an attic, Raval said.

Floor insulation – £110 per year saved

For houses with wooden floors, insulating your ground floor can reduce energy bills by over £110 a year for an average house, or up to £180 for a detached house.

Those figures come to £90 and £145 a year respectively in Northern Ireland, the Energy Saving Trust said.

As with roof insulation, this involves lifting the floorboards and laying mineral wool insulation over the netting between the joists. Depending on the size of your home, this can cost up to £100.

But if you don’t want to raise your floorboards, there is an easier way to insulate your floors: carpets with a thick underlay, or failing that, rugs.

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