We’re all tightening our belts these days and looking for extra ways to save money. And yes, you can be green and not break the budget. Energy saving in your home is a great place to start.
One extremely effective measure is installing cavity wall insulation – it could save you more than £100 a year and is remarkably cheap to fit. Go green, save money and keep your home warmer.
What is cavity wall insulation
There are several ways to insulate your home. Loft insulation is a quick an easy way to save energy and so is draught proofing and secondary window insulation.
But did you know that cavity walls can account for around 35% of the heat lost from your home?* Installing cavity wall insulation is the solution.
If you live in a home that was built within the past 100 years or so, chances are you’ve got cavity walls. That means they’ve got two layers of walls, separated by a gap. The idea is so that rain doesn’t soak through the outer wall into your home, but the downside is that it results in poor insulation.
So what is cavity wall insulation? Cavity insulation plugs the gap between the walls, keeping the hot air in and the cold air out.
It’ll mean it’s easier to keep your home warm and you’ll save money on fuel bills. There are several types of material that can be used, and you’ll need to get a professional in to do the job.
They’ll usually drill small holes of about 2-3cm into the outside walls and inject the insulation material via a flexible hose through them and into the cavity. After the cavity is insulated they’ll fill in the holes to match the rest of the wall.
It’s a quick and clean process that will only take a few hours to complete and shouldn’t create any mess in your garden or outside spaces.
Note that cavity wall insulation is not the same as standard wall insulation, which is when you insulate a solid wall, and that new homes built in the last 10 years will probably already have insulated cavity walls. Individual apartments within blocks of flats aren’t suitable for cavity wall insulation – the whole block will need to be done to be effective.
Check with a reputable installation firm to see if your home is suitable.
How much you can save?
Cavity wall insulation is a real money saver. For a typical 3-bedroom semi with gas heating, it’ll save you up to £135 a year on fuel bills.**
What’s more, it offers a whopping annual CO2 saving of around 550kg, so it’s not only good for your pocket, it’s good for your conscience too.
How much does cavity wall insulation cost?
Naturally, how much cavity wall insulation costs depends on the size of your home. But even for the largest homes, it’s not an expensive option. Coupled with Carbon Emissions Reduction Target subsidies from energy suppliers it can cost as little as £100 to install and up to around £350 for a typical 3-bedroom semi.**
That means that it could start paying for itself within a year or two.
Problems with cavity wall insulation
There have been some problems with cavity wall insulation in the past as it’s claimed it helps cause damp problems in the home. First up – cavity wall insulation doesn’t cause damp, but it can make an existing problem worse if done badly.
Properly installed insulation using the correct materials will let the wall breathe and stop water coming in from the outside wall and you shouldn’t have any problems with damp. For peace of mind, your best bet is to use an installer recommended by the British Board of Agrément (BBA), National Insulation Association or the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency who’ll be able to get the job done properly.
Some homes aren’t suitable for cavity wall insulation either, particularly if they’re exposed to high winds. You can also call the Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 on information on reputable installers, if your home is suitable and how to avoid dodgy insulation.
Best cavity wall insulation materials
Let an expert supplier decide the best cavity wall insulation materials for your home. It’s not a job you should attempt yourself.
There are four main types of cavity wall insulation material, but all are designed to stop the heat escaping and keep the warmth in your home:
- expanded polystyrene beads or granules
- foam insulation (generally made from urea formaldehyde and not always suitable)
- mineral wool (wool made from spun rock or glass)
- warmcell 500 – this is made from 100% recycled newspapers and is the most eco-friendly option
Whatever the material used, it should be certified by the BBA and made to British standards. They should have water repellents that will stop moisture seeping through them and onto the interior wall.
The Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme also rates the most eco-friendly and energy saving materials.
Get those walls filled and start saving
It’s clear that if your home is suitable, cavity wall insulation is an essential part of your home insulation strategy. Combine it with loft and window insulation and you’ll be well on the way to making a low-carbon, energy saving home, that will save you money to live in. Find out if cavity insulation will work for you and get planning today.
* Cavity Wall Insulation – Which?
** Cavity Wall Insulation – Energy Saving Trust