If you have read a few of our blogs you may have noticed that a common issue tends to crop up, that of insulation. Whether to reduce bills, improve efficiency or lower your carbon footprint, insulation has the biggest impact on your energy conservation. Take action, feel good and reap the rewards.
How does heat escape from your home?
It’s all well and good listing the actions you can take to insulate your home but understanding the ways in which heat escapes will give you an increased appreciation for how and why the measures we suggest work.
Heat can escape from your home in a few different ways:
- Conduction; where heat moves through solid surfaces such as metal or brick.
- Radiation; heat is carried directly from warmer to cooler objects. A common example of this would be in the heat radiation often lost through the wall behind a radiator if that wall isn’t insulated.
- Convection; heat can escape when warm air rises. If your ceilings and walls are not insulated, air will pick up heat from the warm side of your wall and circulate it through to the cold side.
- Air movement; draughts are a common form of heat loss. They take warm air from within the home and move it outside with an added little stinger in that the warm air is also replaced with cold air coming in.
How can you stop it?
Here are five measures that can have a positive impact across the board and give you the best financial savings.
Using chimney balloons and door stoppers will all have an immediate impact. Likewise, getting a little DIY with the details and plugging up keyholes or filling gaps with caulk or spray foam all add up to making positive change.
Decorative measures are not just window dressing
Choosing furnishings with insulating properties such as heavy or thermal curtains and blinds will help in the battle against loss of heat and dramatically improve the thermal function of your home. You can also insulate yourself and dress warmly – though that suggestion can often be met with a degree of displeasure.
Double glazing is worth it
As mentioned in our blog 5 Energy Reducing Tips, up to one third of your home’s energy can escape through your roof, walls and windows so it makes sense to make whatever changes you can to your home’s building fabric. While it is more expensive than single glazing the benefits are wide reaching. Not only do they help in conserving heat, they add a sound proofing quality to your home and increase both your security and privacy. This comes together very nicely if and when you decide to sell as it positively impacts the value of your home.
Use a smart thermostat
The Irish Times lists “ Eight of the best modern systems” available that promise to optimise your home’s energy usage and save you money. Where you might struggle is choosing which one to go for as they all sound very impressive. As with everything, it is worth shopping around when you do find the right solution for you.
Floors, walls and ceilings/attics; floor insulation (or underlay with thermal properties) is another simple and effective way to keep your home warm and reduce your energy bills. The temperature of a non-insulated floor rests around 11°C, while insulating it can increase the average temperature to 20°C. Not only will it make a big difference to cold subfloors and prevent warm air escaping, it will act as a barrier to letting cold air in.
Increasing your attic insulation to a standard 27cm depth is advised. Attic insulation is often the most cost effective way to upgrade your home’s insulation and reduce your energy bills in one fell swoop.
Similarly to attic insulation, the SEAI offers grants for both wall and attic insulation so it’s worth investigating all angles to find out the best solutions for you and your home.
Hopefully you now have a clearer understanding on how heat works in your home and an even clearer idea on where to look to make changes. Investing in your insulation will mean that every additional change you make to your energy usage makes it work even harder. If you’re interested in adding solar energy to the mix, for longer terms savings and increased energy performance, get in touch.
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