Because heat rises it should come as no surprise that up to a quarter of your heat can be lost through the roof of your home. Insulating your roof space is a quick, easy and is a relatively inexpensive way to save energy and reduce your energy bills. And because most types of loft insulation material will last for over forty years, it will pay for itself many times over. If you qualify for free loft insulation, you will start saving on your heating bills from day 1.
DIY Loft Insulation
If your roof space is easy to access and is free from condensation and damp, it should be very easy to install loft insulation and for many homeowners it can be a DIY job. However, it can be a dirty job and if you qualify for free loft insulation, a professional installer will insulate your roof space for you.
If the joists are regularly spaced, rolls of mineral wool insulation can be easily installed in your loft (though you should wear appropriate protective clothing because it is a severe skin and eye irritant for most people).
The minimum recommended thicknesses for loft insulation are 270 millimetres for glass wool, 250 millimetres for rock wool and 220 millimetres for cellulose but the vast majority of properties that have had loft insulation already installed will generally only have 100 mm fitted. If glass wool loft insulation is fitted, normally 100mm will be laid between the joists and a further 170 mm over them.
Loft Insulation – Costs and Savings
If you engage a contractor to install loft insulation for you, then based on a three bedroom semi-detached property, you should expect to pay up to £300 but if you do it yourself the cost should be less than half of that. Obviously if you are entitled to free loft insulation, there will be no installation cost.
Annual savings on your energy bills will be approximately £180 per year if you currently have no loft insulation at all and around £25 per year if you currently have 100 mm of loft insulation installed.
If every property in the UK had loft insulation installed to the recommended thickness, around £500 million would be saved on heating bills, and carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 2.7 million tons!
Storage Space in your Loft
If you intend to use your loft for storage then you will probably need boards fitting over the joists but if you only insulate between the joists the insulating material will not be thick enough. To be able to install enough loft insulation you need to either insulate between the joists and then fit boards with insulation bonded to the underside of them, or raise the floor levels to enable you to install the recommended thickness of loft insulation. Whichever method you choose, the loft insulation material should not be squashed to accommodate the boards or its insulating qualities may be reduced.
Insulating the Pipes and Water Tank in your Loft
By installing effective loft insulation, not as much heat from your home will be lost into the roof space. As a consequence of this it will be colder in your loft and therefore the water pipes and water tank will need to be protected from freezing during cold winter weather.
Water pipes and the water tank in your loft should be well insulated and the loft hatch cover should also be insulated and fitted with a draught excluder around the edges to stop cold draughts coming through it, into your home.