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How to find the most effective home insulation solution

Insulation is one of the biggest contributors to a property’s energy efficiency. Over 45% of heat loss in homes occurs through the walls, floor and roof, while summer heat entering through the roof and walls accounts for 25% of cooling needs. This means that regardless of whether it’s warm or cool where you live, insulating your house will always pay dividends. The installation process can often be complicated, however, and to maximise the value of your investment it’s critical you make the right decision at every turn.

Blanes - Home insulation isn’t all about the materials. You need to plan from the ground up.

Independent advice

If you have a luxury home, in particular a period property, it makes sense to get independent advice early on in the process. The last thing you want is to install solutions that damage the fabric of your home, reducing its value. A good home inspector should be your first port of call, as their job is to accurately assess your home’s condition – rather than sell you solutions.

Simple solutions

Next, consider whether simple solutions could make a significant impact on your home’s energy efficiency. Experts recommend sealing gaps around plumbing, chimneys, wires and interior walls, including gaps that lead to the attic. Then, if you move on to insulating the attic, you’ll find your investment yields much better results. Even resealing doors and windows or introducing draft excluders can make an impact. The key is to identify – and tackle – the problem areas specific to your property.

Attic insulation

There are a number of attic insulation options, so evaluate each in terms of suitability, efficiency and cost. Most commonly, the process involves laying down roll or batts (rectangular blocks) made from minerals containing pockets of air. When choosing a material, you’ll need to consider whether you require extra protection against moisture or fire. In sealed spaces with oddly shaped corners, you can also consider loose-fill options.

Sustainable alternatives like rock wool and plastic fibres are also available – a good solution if you want your property to be eco-friendly. Sheep wool has the advantages of being breathable, sustainable and biodegradable.

Wall insulation

Unless you’re building a new home or extension from scratch, adding wall insulation will either involve adding a new layer to your existing wall or breaking down an inner wall to inject an insulating material.

Attaching foam boards and blocks is the quicker option, but sacrifices room space. So you’ll need to weigh up the relative value for your property. If your walls have an existing cavity, injecting loose-fill cellulose, fibre or wool insulation is one possible alternative. This isn’t quite as straightforward but allows you to keep the space.

Subsidies and savings

With climate change and sustainability very much on the political agenda, many countries are now offering incentives for homeowners to improve their energy efficiency. Check with your local authority and national government for current policies, or ask installers in your area for advice.

If your home insulation project is part of wider renovation plans, investigate whether it’s possible to make savings by combining projects. For the best return on your investment, careful planning is key.

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