Many homes suffer from poor insulation, and if you move into a new home, there are certain obvious signs that it’s badly insulated. You can often feel the chill in a badly insulated home, or suddenly notice a spike in your energy bills. However, there are a few more subtle signs you might want to look out for, so you can decide whether insulation is the main issue.
- Un-even temperature throughout the house
If you’ve put the heating on, yet certain rooms feel freezing while others boil, then it could well be a problem with insulation. Before you go running off and starting renovation work though its best to check why this room is cooler than the rest. The most obvious reason will typically be that the heating isn’t working in that room, if each room has its own stat then try turning it up. next check you radiator (or floor if using UFH) is getting hot, if not then it might need bleeding. If your heating is working but its still cold then it could be due to draughts, check the window first. Single glazed & old windows are notorious for being “leaky” allowing draughts to blow through freely, after than check your floor, suspended floors on older buildings tend to be poorly insulated and poorly sealed allowing cold air to blow in. These issues may be particular to this room or apply to some/ all of the rooms in your house and as such may be worth investing in improving. Finally check the walls & roof (if there is a roof space above) and see if they are insulated and if so with what and how much. If you contact our team we will be able to assist with calculating the performance of your existing wall / roof and can offer solutions to help improve each element using multi foil insulation.
- Cold walls / floors inside
Whilst your external walls typically feel colder to the touch because they are directly in contact with the external environment then same should not occur on internal walls / floors (if you externally walls feel cold it may also be worth looking at insulation). If you find that your internal elements are cold though it may be due to a “cold bridge” where an internal element is in direct contact with an external element with no insulate to “break the bridge”. A typical example of this is a concrete balcony that extends out from the internal concrete floor. This allows the cold to travel straight through from outside to inside. This can be solved by insulating either the balcony externally to stop the cold from finding its way in or insulating the element internally to stop it from transferring the cold into your rooms. Unfortunately there is no easy / cheap way to resolve this and the best option is to insulate your wall or floor with a product such as multi foil or more traditional insulation such as glass wool depending on the space available and restrictions of the particular structure.
- Ice issues
Ice building up around the home is a sure sign of insulation issues. This can include:
- Ice dams – in cold snowy weather A well insulated home will typically have a lot of snow on the roof, this is because no heat is getting to the snow to melt it. If your roof is poorly insulated though the heat that escapes may melt the snow on your roof. This will then travel down the roof and into your gutters. In particularly cold regions the weather may be so cold that once the water find the gutter it freezes as there is no longer a heat source to stop it from freezing. This can in turn create ice dams and icicles on your roof / guttering which can cause serious damage and affect your properties ability to drain away unwanted water as it starts to warm up again.
- Pipes — This can apply to both external and internal pipes but can be particularly troublesome when the weather gets cold. If your pipes are un-insulated and run through an unheated part of your home or around an external element of your property they are at risk of freezing. If they freeze this can lead to a whole host of issues such as burst pipes ( water expands when frozen), the last thing you want is for a pipe to burst and take out your heating system in the middle of winter!
- Inside windows – If condensation is forming on your windows and in turn freezing you may need to look at replacing your windows or improving your homes insulation. This occurs when warm moist air find a cold surface (such as your window) to condense on and is a fairly typical occurrence on single glazed windows which offer poor thermal performance, if that condensation is then turning to ice then you know for sure that the performance is insufficient as the outside cold is overpowering the internal heating. This could be due to poor windows, such as signle glazing or damaged / faulty double glazing or it could be that your home is too cold as there isn’t enough insulation.
- Draughty rooms
Draughts are one of the biggest issues older homes face when trying to improve thermal performance. No matter how much insulation you put in, if your house isn’t well sealed then your house is always going to feel cold. You wouldn’t leave your front door wide open in the middle of winter because it would make your home freezing. Having a poorly sealed home is akin to doing just this though but much more difficult to fix than simply closing the door. There are lots of factors to look at if you think your home is poorly sealed, the first step is to check your doors & windows, old doors may fit poorly and allow air flow freely between the gaps. These can be sealed using things such as rubber strips or if too bad replacing the door entirely. The same is true for windows, in fact many windows have trickle vent specifically to lot air flow! This is to help maintain a healthy atmosphere but is detrimental to keeping in your heat a better option would be to use a heat recovery ventilation unit which will bring in fresh air and recovery a large potion of the heat from the outgoing air. Lastly if you think all your gaps have been sealed then the next step is to insulate using a product such as multi foil insulation will improve both thermal performance and air tightness in a single application making it an ideal solution to this issue.
- Wet or damp insulation
If you check your insulation and notice that it’s wet, then it’s time to replace. Old types of fibreglass insulation can become damp due to leaks, if this happens it will cause this insulation to collapse and “flatten” which reduces the performance significantly. Whilst it may dry out eventually which will bring the performance back up a bit whilst its wet all those air gaps that glass wool creates will be lost in turn reducing the performance to virtually nothing, if this happens during winter then your in for an expensive time trying to keep your house warm. Glass wool tends to be very cheap so you could just replace it but if it gets wet again you may up back where you started. To help avoid this you could try a vapour proof insulation such as multi foil, the external layers for a vapour control layer so if installed correctly and sealed it will keep the wet out of the insulation and your house warm.
If you think it’s time to re-insulate your home, then get in touch with SuperFOIL. Based at Unit 25A, Ollerton Road, Tuxford, Notts, NG22 0PQ, you can call us on 01636 639900 for expert insulation advice, and our products are available throughout the UK.