What is thermal insulation and how is it used?


Thermal insulation is the solution to one of our most challenging property problems in the UK – how do we prevent or reduce heat loss? This is naturally to reduce the amount of money and gas and electric we use to do this. Heat radiates from the walls, windows, roof and floors of a property so as heat is lost you have to contend with lower internal temperatures or spending more money heating the space over and over. In the summer, this heat loss can turn into heat transfer, where too much heat comes into the property. Thermal insulation is a relatively simple solution that seeks to prevent too much heat loss and too much heat gain. Some of the most common areas to insulate include lofts, cavity walls, external walls, and floors.

Loft insulation

Loft insulation generally comes in large rolls and is installed in your loft to prevent heat rising through your roof. It is estimated that around 25% of heat loss is through the roof, so this should be the first place you insulate when you move in to a new property. Loft insulation includes loft rolls made of glass wool, mineral wool and sheep’s wool. Each of these fairly natural products are low-cost and can be installed in bulk for maximum return on investment. How do I insulate a loft?

Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation is a type of thermal insulation used in homes with cavity wall construction. It prevents heat loss through walls by filling the void between internal and external walls with insulating foam, insulation board, roll insulation and many other options. An estimated 33% of all heat loss is through walls, so consideration should be made to some kind of wall insulation.

External wall insulation

External wall insulation can include cladding and insulation systems that are affixed to the outside of your walls. This works for properties without cavity walls and prevents heat loss through external surfaces. As above, around 33% of heat loss is through walls. External wall insulation, also known as EWI, is also beneficial if the walls are solid (brick, for example) and homeowners don’t want to lose floor space by insulating inside the property.

Floor insulation

Floor insulation can be placed underneath the floorboards on each level of your home. It helps prevent heat loss through the floor and can also provide acoustic protection too. This combined effect helps reduce the estimated 15% of heat lost through floors and helps stop noise travelling between floors, if you opt for certain combined thermal and acoustic floor insulation products. How do I insulate a floor?

Given the high price of fuel and our often inclement weather, it makes sense to prevent heat loss wherever possible.

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