As homeowners, we all want to make our homes more comfortable. But with the rising costs of energy and the increasing concern for the environment, it’s important, now more than ever, to find ways to make our homes more energy-efficient with effective thermal insulation.

Did you know, you’ll lose 30-35% of your home’s heat through uninsulated walls, 20-25% through the roof, around 15% through windows, 15% through leaky ventilation, 10% through the floor, and 5% through doors.

One of the most effective ways to improve energy efficiency in your home and reduce heat loss, is by improving your home’s thermal insulation. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of thermal insulation and explore 10 simple and affordable ways to make your home more energy efficient by using effective thermal insulation.

Why effective thermal insulation is important

Thermal insulation is like a cosy blanket for your home. It helps keep the heat inside during the chilly winter months and prevents the heat from entering during a hot summer. The result? A comfortable living environment throughout the year and significant energy savings on heating and cooling costs.

Sound good? Let’s explore all the different ways you can improve the thermal performance of your home.

1. Check your home for drafts

Before diving into major insulation projects, start with a simple inspection for drafts:

  • Inspect windows: Carefully examine the areas around your windows for any gaps or cracks. These openings can allow cold air to seep in during winter or let cool air escape during summer. Run your hand along the edges of the window frames to feel for any noticeable drafts.
  • Check doors: Similar to windows, inspect the edges and frames of your doors for any gaps or spaces that could be letting in drafts. One of the worst culprits for drafts is the gap at the bottom of the door.
  • Examine vents: Check all ventilation openings, such as air vents or exhaust fans, to see if they’re properly sealed. Gaps around vents can lead to air leakage, impacting the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.

Seal the gaps

Once you’ve identified any areas with drafts, it’s time to seal them up. Use caulk to fill in small cracks or gaps around windows and doors. For larger gaps under doors, use draught excluders.

Test the draft proof

After sealing any drafty areas, perform a quick test to make sure you’ve effectively eliminated the drafts. Light a candle or use a feather and move it around the edges of windows and doors. If you notice any flickering or movement of the flame or feather, there could still be drafts, if so, recheck and reseal those areas.

Regular Maintenance

It’s a good idea to perform regular checks for drafts, especially before the onset of winter and summer seasons. Weather conditions can cause materials to contract and expand, potentially creating new gaps that need attention.

2. Upgrade your windows

Upgrading your windows is a smart move to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable. Old and outdated windows contribute to significant heat loss, meaning your heating system has work harder to keep your home warm, increasing your energy bills. If your windows are more than 10 years old, it’s time to consider replacing them.

Upgrade to double or triple glazed windows

One of the best ways to improve home energy efficiency is to replace old single-pane windows with double or triple-glazed windows. These modern windows have multiple layers of glass with insulating gas-filled spaces between them. The additional layers act as a barrier, reducing the transfer of heat through the glass.

Have them professionally installed

Proper installation is essential to maximise the benefits of energy-efficient windows. Hiring a professional window installer means your windows are correctly fitted, sealed, and insulated, preventing any air leaks that could compromise their efficiency.

3. Use good quality insulation

Insulation is like a magic barrier that keeps your home at a comfortable temperature. As the old saying goes, buy cheap, buy twice. Invest in high-quality insulation materials like fibreglass or spray foam which have excellent insulation properties, creating a barrier that will keep your home at the desired indoor temperature.

Consider cavity wall insulation

For homes with cavity walls (a gap between two layers of brick or block), cavity wall insulation is the most common type of wall insulation and involves injecting insulation materials, like spray foam insulation, into the space between two walls, typically an exterior and an interior. This process is relatively quick and easy and can be done affordably by a specialist insulation installer, ensuring better thermal efficiency for your home. You will notice a big difference in your energy bills.

4. Invest in thermal curtains and blinds

Investing in thermal curtains and blinds is a fantastic way to enhance the thermal efficiency of your home while creating a more comfortable living space. These special window treatments are made from thick, layered fabrics that possess excellent insulating properties. They have the ability to slow down heat transfer through the windows, maintaining a stable indoor temperature.

Winter benefits

During the colder months, thermal curtains and blinds act as a barrier against the chilly outdoor temperatures. They help trap the heat generated by your heating system inside your home, preventing it from escaping through the windows. This creates a cosy and warm atmosphere indoors, reducing the need for excessive heating and helping reduce energy costs.

Summer benefits

When the scorching summer heat arrives, thermal curtains and blinds are equally effective in keeping your home cool and comfortable. They block out the sun’s heat, preventing it from entering your living spaces. This means less reliance on air conditioning, which translates to energy savings and a more eco-friendly approach to cooling your home.

Choosing the right thermal curtains and blinds

When selecting thermal curtains and blinds, consider the following factors:

  1. Material: Look for curtains and blinds made from thermal insulation materials such as heavy and tightly woven fabrics, as they provide better insulation. Some materials may also have a thermal backing that enhances their insulating capabilities.
  2. Size and fit: Ensure that the curtains and blinds are appropriately sized to cover the entire window, leaving no gaps for heat or cold air to seep through.
  3. Colour: Opt for light-coloured curtains for reflecting sunlight during the summer and dark-coloured curtains for absorbing heat during the winter.

5. Attic and loft insulation

Attic and loft insulation is essential for making sure your home is thermally insulated. Properly insulating your attic or loft helps to retain the heat generated inside your living spaces, preventing it from escaping through the roof.

Types of attic insulation

  • Blanket insulation is the most common type of attic insulation. It’s made of fibreglass, mineral wool, or sheep’s wool and comes in rolls or batts. Blanket insulation is easy to install and is a good choice for most attics.
  • Loose-fill insulation is made of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool and is blown into the attic by a machine. Loose-fill cellulose insulation is a good choice for attics with irregular or difficult-to-access spaces.
  • Rigid insulation is made of foamed plastic and comes in boards or sheets. Rigid insulation is a good choice for attics that need extra insulation or that have sloping ceilings.
  • Reflective insulation is made of a foil-backed material that reflects heat back into the attic. Reflective insulation is a good choice for attics that are used for storage or that have a lot of sunlight.

6. Insulate your exterior walls

Insulating your walls is key for maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home. It also helps to keep the cold air out during winter. For homes without a cavity wall, consider solid wall insulation. This type of insulation can be achieved through two main methods:

  • External wall insulation: Insulation boards are fixed to the outside of the wall and covered with a protective layer, improving the building’s thermal performance and appearance.
  • Internal wall insulation: Insulation boards are installed on the interior walls of your home, providing excellent insulation and helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

7. Get energy efficient doors

One easy way to lower your energy consumption and increase thermal resistance, is to invest in energy-efficient doors. What’s an energy efficient door? Simply one that prevents heat from escaping during colder months and keeps the cold air out, and vice versa in the summer months. They’re also sealed to prevent any drafts or air leaks. For a cost effective energy efficient door, choose a hardwood external door, as wood is naturally insulating.

8. Consider roof insulation

Roof insulation not only saves energy but also protects your roof from damage caused by weather conditions. This is most commonly done one of two ways:

Methods of roof insulation

  1. Laying insulation boards in the loft: This method involves placing insulation boards directly under the roof inside the loft or attic space. These boards create a thermal barrier, preventing heat from escaping through the roof. This approach is suitable for homes with an accessible loft or attic area.
  2. Installing a new roof with built-in insulation: For those considering a roof replacement or renovation, opting for a new roof with built-in insulation is an excellent choice. These types of roofs come with insulation layers integrated into their structure, providing maximum thermal efficiency.

9. Don’t forget floor insulation

Floor insulation plays a vital role in maintaining indoor warmth, especially during the colder months. There are two effective methods to achieve floor insulation: laying insulation material under the floorboards or installing a solid floor with built-in insulation.

Methods of floor insulation

  1. Laying insulation boards under floorboards: This method involves placing insulation boards between the floor joists beneath the floorboards. The boards act as a thermal barrier, preventing heat from moving through the floor and into the ground. This approach is suitable for homes with accessible crawl spaces or basements.
  2. Installing a solid floor with built-in insulation: Another option is to install a solid floor with insulation integrated into its structure. These floors have insulation materials built into the foundation, providing effective thermal performance and comfort.

10. Plan your landscape and plant trees

 

Bay Windows

Planting trees strategically around your home can provide shade during hot summers and act as a windbreak during cold winters, helping to regulate the indoor temperature. Not only that, the presence of trees and other vegetation around your home can create a microclimate that enhances insulation. The layer of foliage acts as an additional buffer between your home and the external environment, helping to regulate temperature fluctuations.

Conclusion

Improving your home’s energy efficiency by increasing its thermal insulation doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. By following these easy and budget-friendly tips for better thermal insulation, you can make your home more comfortable, save money on energy bills, and contribute to a greener planet.

To find out more about energy efficient windows or energy efficient doors, get in touch with our friendly team today.

FAQs

How much money can I save with better thermal insulation?

With proper insulation, you can save up to 30% on your heating and cooling bills, which means more money in your pocket!

Can I install insulation myself, or do I need a professional?

Some insulation tasks can be DIY, but for more complex projects, it's best to get help from a professional to ensure it's done right.

Are there any eco-friendly insulation options available?

Yes, you can choose eco-friendly materials like recycled denim or wool as insulation options. Or invest in sustainably sourced hardwood timber windows and doors from Windows & Doors UK.

Will insulation also reduce noise inside my home?

Yes, insulation can help reduce noise from outside, making your home quieter and more peaceful.

How often should I replace insulation in my home?

Well-maintained insulation can last for many years, but it's a good idea to check it regularly for any wear or damage and replace it when needed to keep your home energy efficient.

In This Article…

Author

Laura Wakeham

Laura is an experienced writer with a background in the construction, wood work and hardwood industry - having written for various nationwide publications including Houzz, Construction Weekly and other more local editorial platforms. With over 10 years experience, Laura has detailed knowledge on the ins and outs of hardwood fabrications from orangeries to conservatories, windows and doors.

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