In these times of fast-rising energy prices, we need to take as many steps as we can to keep our houses warm and at the same time keep down the cost of our energy usage. Because heat rises, one of the best investments we can make is in loft insulation, and it is one of the easiest DIY jobs we can do. So let’s look at what’s out there in terms of the different types of loft insulation and how much it could cost.
The most widely used type of loft insulation that is available from all the major DIY stores comes in a rolled package. It is made from glass mineral wool and is designed to sit in between the ceiling joists. This type of insulation is a base layer, so it is recommended that you use it in conjunction with a top layer for extra warmth and insulation. The average thickness in the roll is usually 100mm, and you will find that the average roll will cover approximately 11 square metres. This will cost around £20 per roll so it should be relatively easy to take a measurement of your loft space and work out how much you need. A top layer roll will also cost around £20 but covers a smaller area, typically 5½ square metres. Alternatively you can buy thermal insulation foil. Costing around £12 for a roll which covers approximately 5 square metres, this is a less messy option as there are no fibres coming from the material; something to consider if you are allergic to glass wool.
If your loft contains the water tank and plumbing, you'll need to insulate these too to prevent freezing and heat loss. Polyethylene pipe insulation can be bought for £3-4 per pack or £5-6 for more heavy-duty coverage. A glass-fibre filled water tank jacket costs around £10-12 for a 25-gallon tank.
Benefits are as listed below:
- It slows down the transfer of heat between your home and the outside. It creates like a barrier so your home may be warmer for longer in the colder weather.
- Lower the cost of your heating - you will get lower bills because you spend less on heating.
- Lower your carbon footprin
- Better energy efficiency
- Increasement in your house's value by improving it.
Many homeowners now want to return to traditional ways of heating our homes without the associated cost to the planet of using mass-produced synthetic fibres. Sheep's wool has long been acknowledged as the ultimate thermal insulator, and you can now buy loft insulation, which is made from this cosy material. The Green Building Store, an online company, feature their Thermafleece CosyWool product made from 75% British sheep’s wool and recycled polyester so you can help the planet and British sheep farmers at the same time. This comes in various thicknesses and is said to be a healthier product to handle than normal insulating material. Other environmentally friendly materials that are increasingly used in loft insulation are Supaloft Green, made from recycled plastic bottles, or Thermafleece NatraHemp, made from hemp, which is a natural plant fibre. If you want an alternative to fibrous materials, another online company called Eco merchant offer another type of natural insulation, which is made from 100%, recycled newspaper. The ‘green’ options are probably initially more expensive to buy. However, whichever type you go for, it will pay for itself many times over as loft insulation should only need replacing once in the lifetime of the average house.