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Consumer Expert Shares How To Save Over £400 On DIY Home Insulation

ImogenGroome
November 11, 2021, 11:00 AM
  • Ofgem proposals indicate the energy bill cap could be reset four times a year
  • Getting all UK homes up to Government standards for energy efficiency will cost £330 billion
  • Consumer expert Tom Church reveals how he saved over £400 on installing his own loft insulation
  • He shares a comprehensive guide on how to complete a thorough and safe job yourself

With rising concerns about energy bills and the cost of keeping homes warm, it makes sense to begin researching money-saving methods to reduce monthly utility expenses. Fortunately, those who have access to their attics will be able to take steps to make their homes more energy efficient without forking out for expensive professional fees.

Tom Church, Co-Founder of the money-saving Black Friday app, said: ‘There are understandably concerns about the rise in energy bills. Making homes more energy efficient, enabling consumers to save hundreds per year on their expenses, is no easy task - recent estimates suggest the cost of making UK homes meet government standards is £330 billion.

‘However, there are steps you can take right now to save on your utility bills. Not only can you employ measures such as installing a smart meter and washing clothes at a lower temperature, it’s possible to install some types of insulation yourself. In particular, loft insulation is highly effective, as according to the Energy Saving Trust a quarter of the home’s heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated house.

‘Earlier this year I installed cold loft roof insulation in my loft and saved over £400 compared with quotes I received for a professional installation. Here are my tips and tricks for getting the job done on a budget.

Decide on the type of insulation you want. If you aren’t using the loft, or only use it for storage, cold roof insulation is best. It is applied to the floor and traps in the heat, keeping it away from the loft. Alternatively, warm roof insulation keeps the heat in the loft and makes it a decent place to live in. I went for cold roof insulation, which is the type I’ll be discussing.

Choose between floor rolls and floor boards. Floor rolls are easier to apply than boards. What’s more, they take less time and you don’t need as many tools. However, floor boards are ideal if you have a need for a large storage space which can easily be accessed. I went with floor rolls because this option allowed me to save even more! My loft is 50 square metres, and the floorboards I priced up cost £50 on average. This was equivalent to around £16 per square metre. Meanwhile, the rockwool insulation rolls I looked at were £40, equivalent to just £6 per square metre.

Don’t forget safety. Before you head into your loft, make sure you’ve got the right protective equipment. I wore gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles to prevent dust and debris from causing irritation. These are available from stores such as B&Q, eBay and Amazon for a low price. I paid just £1.99 for safety goggles from Amazon, and a pack of 2 disposable dust masks were just £3 at B&Q.

Size up your area. You want to ensure you don’t waste money buying excess materials, so heading into the loft to get the right measurements is vital. Use a tape measure to work out the overall surface area, then consider the length and thickness of the insulation you want to buy. Bear in mind that the government recommends an insulation depth of 270mm as the minimum for glass mineral wool. Also consider whether there is existing insulation already in place. If so, you may not need to buy as much to top it up. Also consider that buying and installing too much can cause ventilation issues, so be aware of this before putting too much in.

Gather your supplies. This is where shopping around and researching the best prices really pays off. I noticed how much I was saving by doing it myself at this point. When I looked up quotes, I realised the average cost per hour for a tradesperson would be £150, and it would take between 2 and 4 hours to get the job done. That means I could have paid out £600, particularly as my loft is on the larger side.

I ended up getting the Knauf EkoRoll Loft Insulation Roll which was £19 per roll. Each roll covered 8.3 metres squared, and I had some existing insulation already. So I got 6 rolls and paid £114 in total - much cheaper than a £600 quote! I also needed a tape measure, screwdriver, pen and paper, scissors and wooden board offcuts, and I already had these. Others may need some insulation guards if their loft has downlights.

Get rolling. Begin in one corner, furthest away from the loft hatch, and slowly work your way back over there. Place a wooden board to lean on at a right angle to the joists next to those you’re placing insulation in. Then place the first roll between the joists, being careful to leave a gap of around 25mm away from the eaves to ensure the area can remain well ventilated and condensation free. Be sure to push the insulation against the joists so there aren’t any gaps, but don’t apply so much pressure that you squish it! You can fluff the insulation up with your hands - as long as you’re wearing gloves - but be aware that it will potentially take a while to reach its full height. If you need to join two rolls of insulation together, place them so they are close together, but don’t make them overlap. If you need to cut the insulation, be sure to use a long and sharp knife which has a serrated edge - a bread knife is a good option.

‘Once you’re done, you can relax, knowing that not only have you saved hundreds of pounds by doing the job yourself, but you’ll also be saving money on your annual energy bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust, having good loft insulation can save consumers an average of £150 per year - so it won’t take long to save what I spent on my insulation, and then I can focus on how much I’m saving every winter!’

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