Saving Heat In The Home

You wouldn’t deliberately throw money away, so why do it unintentionally? This is just what you could be doing if your home is not properly insulated. In fact, for every E1 you spend on heating, 75 pence could be going straight outside. That is a waste of both money and heat.

Of course, many people fall into a sense of false security by thinking that their home is insulated because there is some glass fibre matting in the loft. If this was put down some years ago, it is unlikely to be up to modern standards, so check your insulation now!

If there is not any insulation in your loft, then enquire at your local council offices for up-to-date information on insulation grants to which you are probably entitled. But do this before the material is bought or the work started.

Heat losses can be reduced by insulation, but never eliminated. The drawing shows the proportions of heat lost by the various parts of a typical semi-detached house without any insulation, and how effective insulation can reduce this heat loss by more than half.

Insulating materials

Glass fibre matting Light, cotton-wool-like glass fibre material supplied in rolls. Thickness is 100mm. May irritate sensitive skins so you should wear gloves. Cut to length with scissors or a sharp knife.

Mineral wool matting Similar to glass fibre matting, but made from spun mineral wool. Vermiculite granules Made from heated mica which expands to form spongy, lightweight granules. A loose-fill material which is supplied in sacks and simply tipped out and spread as desired. Chest ailment sufferers should wear a dust mask when handling this material.

Expanded polystyrene beads Granules of expanded polystyrene sold as a loose-fill material.

Expanded polystyrene slabs Expanded polystyrene moulded into large lightweight slabs that vary between 13mm and 75mm thick. Cut to fit with a sharp knife or breadsaw. Decorative expanded polystyrene tiles can be used for ceiling insulation.

Building paper Stiffish waterproof paper which can be used as a lining in lofts and sheds to reduce draughts. Also available with a foil surface that will reflect radiant heat.

Aluminium foil A thicker and stronger version of the familiar kitchen foil. Reduces radiant rather than conducted heat losses. Special coated foil to prevent tarnishing is available for fixing behind radiators on outer walls. The foil may be self-adhesive or fixed by double-sided sticky tape. Some types have an additional layer of foam.

Moulded foam pipe insulation Split foam plastic or rubber sleeve which clips around water pipes. Available to suit all sizes of

pipes. Paper-backed insulating bandage is an alternative material for insulating pipes. Double-sided adhesive tape Transparent tape with adhesive on both sides which can be used for fixing thin, clear plastic sheet to windows.

Plastic sheet double glazing Self-adhesive magnetic strips attach to window frame (timber or metal) and perimeter of 2mm thick acrylic sheet.

Double glazing channel Clear or white soft vinyl channel which is used to edge glass to form a simple frame. Turnbuckle clips hold the frame in place. A cheap form of double glazing for timber windows.

Double glazing kits May have plastic or aluminium frames to give fixed, hinged or sliding secondary sashes. Vary in sophistication and quality of finish.

Hot water cylinder jackets Must conform with British Standard 5615:1978. Available in several sizes, so measure height and diameter of cylinder before buying.

Draught excluders

Mastics Non-setting mastics will prevent draughts getting through cracks around window and door frames. Available in white, brown, grey, black and other colours. Usually supplied in an injector pack with screw-down applicator, or for use with a mastic gun.

Silicone rubber sealant Special packs (some containing release tape) are available for sealing irregular gaps in window frames. When cured, the sealant adheres to the frame, but the release tape prevents it from sticking to the window.

A selection of draught excluders and other insulating materials. Moving from left to right along the bottom are: bristle strip excluder, rise-and-fall excluder; threshold draught excluder; interlocking door bottom strip exduder. On the top are: all-purpose double-sided tape for fixings; rubber-backed draught strip and synthetic strip for doors and windows.

Door threshold excluders Rigid PVC or aluminium carrier incorporates a row of bristles or soft vinyl flap. The carrier is screwed to door to prevent under-door draughts. The brush type can be used on hinged and sliding doors. Some threshold excluders fix to the floor directly under the door. These are usually aluminium with a soft vinyl or rubber arch which seals by pressing against the bottom of the door. Threshold excluders and weatherbars Used where draughts and rainwater come under a door. Consist of two parts — usually a combined aluminium weatherbar and vinyl seal draught excluder which screws to the threshold, and an aluminium weatherboard which screws to the base of the door.

Letterbox excluders Long bristles in a plastic frame prevent draughts, even when newspapers are left in the opening.

Vinyl foam self-adhesive tape Plastic foam draught excluder with self-adhesive backing — the surface to which it is fixed must be clean, firm and dry. Foam is available in various thicknesses and with ordinary or wipe-clean surface. Colour usually white. Cheap, but not very long-lasting.

Rubber foam tape Also self-adhesive, but harder wearing than vinyl foam tape. Wipe clean surface. Coloured grey or black. Nylon pile tape Another self-adhesive draught excluder, but with a nylon pile, carpet-like surface. Suitable for surfaces that slide together.

Rigid brushstrip Draught excluder with rigid PVC or aluminium holder in which a row of bristles is inserted, or incorporating a soft plastic or rubber buffer. The strip is tacked to the outside of a door or window frame with the brushstrip or soft buffer forming the seal.

Sprung draughtstrip Flat flap of stiff plastic or phosphor bronze with nail fixings at one side for fixing to the inside edge of door and window frames. The unfixed flap edge forms a seal against the door or window.