Jan 19, 2017

Keep Your Home Warm in the Winter

So, it’s winter.

Don’t deny it. Yes, there are still crazy men out there wearing shorts in that laissez-faire manner that says they are forever living their lives in the sunshine and that a little bit of frost never hurt anyone. Least of all them.

Secretly, of course, they’re as cold as the proverbial witches you-know-what. But they can’t give in to comfort and conformity now and slip on a nice cosy pair of cords. It’s way too late for that. And them.

You, on the other hand want to stay warm. But you want to do so with a little style, a little, shall we say it, class?

I salute you and your covered legs. This blog is for you.

Keeping our homes warm and comfortable throughout the colder weather is a challenge for many people. Especially if their homes are poorly insulated.

And it’s very easy to tell those which fall into that category. Just wait until we have some snow and then go and take a walk around your neighbourhood.

The poorly insulated homes will be the ones that ‘boast’ a bare roof. No snow, just a damp patch and some dripping water. Now, that might all look clean and tidy but in reality, it’s a sign of just how much heat is pouring up, up and away from the house, melting all the snow on the roof as it does so.

The house that has a roof that is deep and crisp and even with the white stuff however. Now THAT’S a well-insulated house. Indeed, you can bet your last mince pie that its inhabitants will be sat in their shirt sleeves inside alongside a thermostat that is set to a healthy (and relatively frugal) 18-20 degrees or so.

Not like those in the house with the bare roof however. Their heating system will be on full blast and they’ll be wondering why they’re still cold.

The answer? Simple. Make sure your loft is insulated.

Insulating your loft is one of the most effective methods you can employ to give your home a good Energy Efficiency Rating (EPC-and yes, the acronym should be EER but it isn’t!) and something you should always give a priority to if you have what is known as a ‘virgin loft’ (i.e.) one that has 25mm or less (and that includes none at all) of insulating.

Take it from us, the sooner you act on a loft that is either poorly insulated or, the horrors, has zero insulation, the sooner you will start to notice the savings on your energy bill.

Don’t believe me? Keep reading then.

It’s estimated that, without proper loft insulation as much as 25% of the heat generated in your house will be lost as it rises upwards and out via the loft and roof. But hey, at least the starlings on the chimney breast will be warm-and if that’s all that matters to you then great!

But most people would rather run an energy efficient home and save on the bills.

Good loft insulation acts as a barrier. But it does it in two ways.

Firstly and, as we are explaining here, it slows the movement of heat out of the house during the winter. But also, almost as importantly, it slows that same movement of heat coming into your house during the summer.

It is then, in effect, a form of air conditioning for you that helps keep the house cool and comfortable.

Does that sound all a bit too good to be true? It gets better.

Because installing it is just about one of the easiest DIY jobs you can do in your house.

Don’t know how to wire a plug or which end of a paintbrush is which? Fear not. This is something you can do for yourself.

Remember, in order for you to have a nice warm house, you are going to need to have a cold loft.

The best ones are those that, when you poke your head above the parapet cause you to take an involuntary breath of frigid air and say, “…bloody hell, this loft is cold”. When you are able to say that my son, your job is done and done well.

Making your loft purposefully cold means laying insulation directly above the ceiling in order to produce this barrier to slow that upward movement of heat out of the home during the winter.

It isn’t rocket science. Yet there are thousands and thousands of inadequately insulated homes all over the country with people living in them saying, “…it’s a bit raw in here love”.

95% of homes are insulated with wool insulation. Easy to obtain and, although a little bit bulky, fairly light and easy to carry-as in out of the store and into the back of your car (or a friends if you have one of those little cars that sounds like a hair drier) and then out of the back of the car, into your house and up the loft ladder.

You’ve got that far? Hurrah!

The part of the loft that you need to insulate is between the joists. They’re the long and sticky out bits of wood that you have to walk on to avoid putting a foot through the ceiling when you go up there to get the Christmas decorations down.

See, you didn’t even know what a ‘joist’ was when you started reading this. Now you can drop the word into casual conversation over coffee with your friends.

They’ll be ever so impressed.

Mind you, it’s all very well talking the talk. You’ve now got to walk the walk.

Most roof joists are around 100mm high. And guess what? You can get rolls of insulation that are 100mm thick (or less than that or greater, it depends on the height of your joists) which means you can roll them out, one at a time and in-between the joists.

Simple.

Then, once you’ve done that (and if you want to be so energy efficient, you need a cape and super hero name) you can roll out some insulation that is 200mm thick at right angles to the joists meaning that, when you're finished, you have a thick carpet-like layer of insulation in your loft that you can, if you wish, cover in sheets of MDF so that you have a surface that you can walk on-so no more hopping about from joist to joist for you.

It’ll be a job well done. A loft that will, should a prospective buyer for your property poke his or her head up there greet with a satisfied nod of approval.

But remember. It’s going to be a bit chilly up there. Infact, your loft may end up being so cold that you might, on occasion, find Bear Grylls doing a spot of arctic survival training up there.

Which would mean a job really well done.

For more tips and tricks on making your home more energy efficient, check out our post on that here.