Are you wondering if loft insulation is worth the investment? Read on for the ultimate guide to saving energy with loft insulation.
Did you know that just 1.8% of new homes in the UK meet the top energy-efficiency rating?
It's no secret that the country is heading into an energy crisis. Our homes are going to generate unaffordable bills if we fail to take action. And this waste of natural resources poses a threat to the environment, too.
You can minimize your home's carbon footprint and lower your bills by saving energy with loft insulation.
It's easier and more cost-effective than you might think, too. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about saving energy with loft insulation.
What Is Loft Insulation?
Loft insulation is a barrier added to the roof space that traps heat inside your home. It stops heat rising and escaping through the roof, keeping homes warmer in winter. It also works in summer to keep your home cooler by keeping the hot air out.
Adding loft insulation to your home will prevent the transfer of heat between your living space and the outside world.
Homeowners can lay loft insulation between and across the joists, which are the horizontal beams along the loft floor. Or insulation can be installed between the rafters, which are the angled beams that support the roof.
Insulation between the joists keeps your living space warm while creating a cooler loft. Insulation in the rafters keeps the loft space warm as well.
There are various options available when choosing insulating materials, although most people choose blanket/quilt insulation due to cost, availability and ease of installation.
It's possible to do the installation at home yourself, or you can call upon professional installers. It's worth noting that there are significant grants and insulation incentives available for homeowners in the UK, read our handy guide here.
Once installed, loft insulation will be an effective energy-saving method for over 40 years.
What Are the Major Benefits of Loft Insulation?
Installing insulation in your loft is relatively cheap. It's easy to install too, and there are a number of reasons why people decide to add insulation to their homes. Let's take a look at the most significant loft insulation benefits.
1. Reducing Energy Waste Will Save You Money
Energy prices are surging in the UK, and millions of homes are expected to be in the grip of fuel poverty this winter. It's never been more important for homeowners to kit out their homes with the most energy-efficient loft insulation.
Approximately 25% of the heat produced from a boiler will leave an uninsulated home through the roof. Insulating your loft will save on your energy bills each month because an energy-efficient home will require significantly less energy to stay warm.
As well as saving money on energy bills, an insulated roof will also increase the value of your home. A UK government report showed that making energy-saving improvements to your property can increase its value by an average of 14%.
2. It's Good for the Environment
Loft insulation will reduce energy usage and lower your home's CO2 emissions. Earth is warming at an alarming rate, and we must act now to ensure this planet remains habitable for future generations. Installing loft insulation is one of many excellent ways to do your bit for the environment, reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.
3. Prolong the Life of Your Boiler
Correctly insulating your loft will also mean there is less strain on your boiler. A boiler's average life expectancy is between 10 to 15 years, and it can be very expensive to replace.
Efficient loft insulation can extend the operational life of your boiler, saving you money and stress.
Different Types of Loft Insulation
There are various loft insulation options that can improve your current insulation set-up while saving you money on your energy bills. But first, lets look at what materials are available to use to insulate your loft.
Insulation roll, blanket, or quilt are the cheapest and most common forms of loft insulation. They're the easiest to fit, so most DIY home insulators opt for these types.
Loose-fill insulation is another option, made from lightweight materials, including cork, cellulose fibre, and mineral wool. It's a more expensive option but is ideal for topping up existing insulation in your loft or if your loft is tricky to access.
Sheet insulation, also known as rigid insulation, is also an option and these can offer the best thermal performance. These rigid insulation boards can be made from synthetic or natural materials. They tend to be less popular because they're very expensive and the environmental cost of production is high.
How to Choose the Right Insulation for Your Home
Traditional blanket insulation installed between and across the joists provides homeowners with an excellent level of thermal insulation at a reasonable price. It's the most popular option with good reason.
If you've got a little DIY experience, traditional blanket insulation can be fitted without professional help. And your loft can still be used for storage if you use Loft Legs to create a raised solid floor over your insulation. Installing Loft Legs is simple, inexpensive and will ensure your new homes NHBC warranty is not invalidated if you intend to use the loft for storage.
Determine how much you want to spend and consider the conditions in your loft. If it's draughty up there, loose-fill insulation probably isn't the way to go. Each type of loft insulation has its own benefits and drawbacks, so take the time to consider which is suitable for your home.
If you're unsure, seek professional advice from a registered installer.
Tips for a Successful Insulation Installation
Choosing the right type of insulation for your loft is crucial, but there are a few other things you should know before you get to work.
You need to be able to see in your loft . If there is no mains electric up there, ensure that it's well-lit with an ultra-bright, battery-powered LED light. Alternatively, if there is already a fitting in the loft, an ultra-bright adjustable LED bulb is the perfect choice.
Don't overfill your loft with insulation, and don't use too little either. If you're installing blanket loft insulation, the optimum depth is 270mm - 300mm. You should lay the first 100mm layer of insulation between the joists, and the second layer of 170mm - 200mm a right angle over the joists.
If you want to install insulation but still intend to use your loft for storage, you will need to raise the level of the floor. You can buy purpose-built Loft Legs to do just that.
Loft Leg's innovative loft solutions are made from recycled materials and it's no wonder we're trusted by energy companies, insulation installers, and homeowners throughout the UK. Our unique loft storage products create valuable space while helping save households considerable amounts on their energy bill.
If you have any downlighters in the ceiling below the loft it is important to ensure the fittings are suitable to be covered with insulation. If in doubt, use a Loft Lid to cover the downlight fitting before rolling the insulation out over it.
How Much Loft Insulation Do You Need?
Before installing anything, it's a good idea to calculate approximately how much loft insulation you'll need. You don't want to buy too much, and you also don't want to return to buy more.
As stated above, the recommended thickness for loft insulation currently stands between 270mm - 300mm. That's a lot thicker than recommendations from the 1980s when professionals would opt for a thickness between 25mm - 50mm. Conduct a thorough check of your loft to see how much insulation there is currently before buying more.
Next, you'll have to take measurements to calculate how many rolls of insulation material you need to buy. Measure the length and width of the loft in metres. Multiply the length and width to get your loft's square metre area (m2).
To give you a general idea, a 60m2 loft would require ten insulation rolls, based on a standard roll size of 1.14 metres wide by 5.68 metres long and with a thickness of 170 mm.
How Much Can Loft Insulation Save You?
Improving the thermal efficiency of your home can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills. The savings will vary depending on what type of house you live in, and how big it is.
It's difficult to give precise figures because energy prices are rising so much this year. However, a properly insulated home can save homeowners upwards of £300 a year.
The average cost of loft insulation in the UK is between £5 and £11 per square metre. Costs will vary depending on several factors, but hiring an installer to do it for you will likely cost around £250 extra.
These notable savings tallied up with the low installation costs mean that loft insulation pays for itself in a short space of time. It can easily be installed in a day, setting you up for a cosier and more energy-efficient home this winter.
How to Maximise Savings From Your Loft Insulation
You may qualify for a helping hand to pay for your loft insulation. The UK government's ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme enables some households to receive grants to cover the cost of energy efficiency improvements.
The installation process is crucial to maximising your savings too. Be sure to choose the right type of insulation for your loft, and call upon the specialist skills of a professional for more challenging installations. To maximise energy efficiency, ensure your insulation is not below the recommended thickness of 270mm.
Avoiding insulation compression is key to ensuring you have the most energy-efficient loft insulation. Compressing your insulation can reduce its energy-saving properties by more than 50%.
As long as everything is installed correctly, your loft insulation savings will leave you pleasantly surprised for years to come.
How to Find an Installer
If you've got some DIY experience, it's possible to fit blanket loft insulation and all our range of products yourself. But some installations, such as a warm loft, require a skilled tradesperson with the necessary equipment to ensure everything is done correctly.
At Loft Leg, we're always happy to offer our expert advice and assistance. We work with a number of recommended installers, so we can point you in the right direction.
Alternatively, the National Insulation Association (NIA) is a not-for-profit trade organisation in the UK. They provide consumers with valuable information and advice on the insulation measures available for their homes. And you can use their website to find an NIA installer near you.
Saving Energy With Loft Insulation Is a No-Brainer
Hopefully, this guide has shown you that energy-saving loft insulation is well worth the investment. Installing it will increase the value of your home, save you money on energy bills, and you'll be helping the planet by reducing your home's carbon footprint.
The loft insulation benefits are impossible to ignore, so get your DIY kit out or call on a professional to assist you.
Did you find this guide helpful? Want to know how to apply this information to your own home? At Loft Leg we're on hand to help, so contact us if you're interested in saving energy with loft insulation.