Revealing the truth about insulation to tackle winter chills
Q: I want to install insulation, but won’t it make my home even hotter during summer heatwaves?
A: The good news is that insulation traps heat in the winter and keeps it out in the summer. It helps improve the efficiency of your home, whatever the temperature.
As both the cost of living and climate crises escalate, it’s a brilliant investment, financially and environmentally. It will keep your home warmer in winter, cooler in summer and cut your energy bills. Here’s the lowdown …
When it’s cold outside, wall insulation provides a thermal barrier that considerably reduces the amount of heat escaping from your home.
This means less heating is needed. In the summer, the reverse happens.
Hot air outside the home can’t get inside as easily.
The kind of wall insulation you need depends on your property.
Cavity wall insulation is suitable for homes built between 1930 and 1990.
It is installed by drilling small holes in the outside walls and then injecting mineral wool, polystyrene beads or polyurethane foam into the gap between the inner and outer walls.
Older properties with solid walls require solid insulation boards attached to the inside of external walls. Alternatively, homeowners can attach external cladding, but this is a slightly more expensive option.
Heat rises. In the winter, this means a quarter of the heat escapes through your roof, if it’s not insulated. Fitting roof insulation isn’t necessarily a big job.
In many cases, you can do it yourself. Just make sure you follow expert guidance and the mineral wool is at least 27cm thick.
As well as wall and loft insulation, you can keep out the heat in summer and trap it in during winter with a series of easy DIY hacks. For a start, make sure all your windows are properly sealed by sticking a rubber trim around the inside of your windows.
You can buy it online or from DIY stores for about £13 a roll. If you haven’t got double glazing on windows, you can buy stick-on window film for around £8.
Also make sure you have blackout or thermal linings on your curtains or blinds. Go for the thickest ones you can afford.
Insulation is how you can stop your home feeling uncomfortable throughout the year, without resorting to the expense – and additional carbon emissions – that come with turning up the heating or investing in aircon for the summer months.