Insulating homes has never been more important

29 November 2021

Ian Preston, director of household energy at CSE is predicting significant increases in energy bills for people across the UK. Insulating homes has never been more important!

Energy bills are likely to rise significantly in 2022. Many households can expect to see around a £400-£600 hike and this could land earlier in the year than previously thought.

As the “energy crisis” continues, Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, has a price cap currently protecting customers from even higher bills but it’s urgently consulting on bringing the next price cap forward to February 2022, instead of 1 April 2022.

Average UK temperatures are much colder in February so it’s likely more people will feel the negative impact on their wallet if this happens.

Meanwhile, energy bills are already at an all-time high. Twenty four energy suppliers have now gone bust with Bulb being the largest of them with 1.7million customers. Wholesale gas prices have gone up by a record 300% alongside some recent limits to gas supplies from Russia; an upturn in global gas demand as economies reopen after Covid-19 lockdowns; and a cold winter last year prompting higher gas demand and reducing the amount we have in storage.

We’re seeing even more households are classified as being in fuel poverty meaning they are likely to suffer a cold home and making tough choices about how to spend limited budgets; sometimes choosing between heating or food. And in the last year, CSE saw a 43% increase in calls to our advice line and we expect this to continue.

Insulation throughout the nation

Insulating homes has never been more important.  We need to insulate our buildings well so they become more energy efficient and there’s a range of measures available for different budgets. Not only will it make a home warmer and save money on energy bills, it’s also good for the planet. In the UK, 40% of our carbon emissions come from heating our buildings.

There is some support available to eligible households for home insulation measures like cavity wall and loft insulation. Cavity wall insulation can often be installed in homes built between 1930 and 1990. Find out if there’s a local advice agency or scheme to give you more information here https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/grants

Draughts

Most houses, particularly old ones, have cracks and gaps through which warm air goes out and cold air blows in. Not all of these can be dealt with by a DIY-er, but many can, such as the gaps between or around floorboards; around windows and doors; through the letterbox; where pipework comes through external walls; around the loft hatch; and around electrical fittings. And the good news is that draught proofing is easy and there’s loads of information in our handy guide.

You’ll save around £30 per year by draught proofing windows, £30 per year if you use a chimney balloon on pre 1900 properties and around £20 per year draught proofing doors.

It’s important to never block boiler flues, air bricks, or window trickle vents and avoid over draught-proofing windows in kitchens and bathrooms where the moist air needs to escape. Otherwise you could end up with damp or mould problems.

Loft insulation

Loft insulation is a simple and effective way to reduce your heating bills, and you can even do some types yourself. It might also be possible to get this work funded by a grant. The better the insulation, the warmer you’ll feel and the more money you’ll save.

Standard loft insulation

Standard loft insulation is appropriate for most homes, when rolls of insulation are laid over the floor joists. Generally speaking, if your home has an accessible loft with no damp or condensation problems, it will be a good candidate for loft insulation.

Even if you already have some insulation your loft may need a top-up. The recommended depth for mineral wool insulation – the most common material – is 270mm (about 1ft), but there are other materials (usually more expensive) which require different depths.

Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years, and it will pay for itself over and over again in that time.

Laying insulation is usually a straightforward job for a competent DIY-er. See our DIY loft insulation factsheet for more information on aspects that need to be considered, such as ventilation and safety.

Wrap up! 

Imagine you are putting a new woolly jumper and hat onto your house. Wrap up now to beat the cold next year.

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter