Insulation & double glazing
Although around half of heat loss in a typical home is through the walls and the loft; the other half is lost in other ways which can be reduced with insulation and draught proofing. There are grants, such as the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) of up to 100% for these measures so there really is no reason not to!
If your home is not properly insulated all the warmth will simply escape and you will have to keep replacing it, or get cold quickly. The ECO (Energy Company Obligation) is the government’s response to encourage you to insulate your home and ensure that the energy companies support you to do so and will give you a grant for up to 100% of the installation costs.
Stopping the heat from leaving where you want it to be stops you having to run up large bills generating more heat to stay warm. Over and above the walls and the roof the key areas that you should consider insulating are:
- Floor Insulation – Around 10% of heat can be lost through the floor of your home. This could mean as much as £70 a year through the floor boards and skirting boards
- Tank & Pipe Insulation – You can save 75% on your hot water bill if you don’t have an insulation jacket around your hot water tank, by fitting one!
- Glazing – Windows in particular but also doors can allow over 20% of the heat in your home to escape. The Energy Saving Trust recommends windows that they claim can save around £130 per year and they reduce noise
- Draught Proofing – 12% of heat can be lost through draughts. Simply using strips and excluders could save £25 a year!
With some very simple measures there is money and carbon that can be saved in every home.
The ECO (Energy Company Obligation) grants can pay all the cost for some insulating your home depending on your circumstances, and will pay something regardless of your circumstances, typically between 40% and 70%.
- How energy efficient are replacement windows?
- When choosing replacement windows, you can check its energy efficiency by looking at the BFRC energy label. The higher the energy rating, the more energy efficient it is. At the moment there is no obligation for window manufacturers to label their products, however by opting for a high rated window you know you will be buying the most efficient window.
- What type of glass is best for double glazing?
- The most energy efficient glass for double glazing is low emissivity (Low-E) glass. This often has an unnoticeable coating of metal oxide, normally on one of the internal surfaces - next the gap. It lets sunlight and heat in but cuts the amount of heat that can get out again, instead reflecting it back into the room.
- What keeps the two panes of glass in double glazing apart?
- The panes are separated by pane spacers set around the inside edges to keep the two panes of glass apart. For a more efficient window, look for pane spacers containing little or no metal - often known as 'warm edge' spacers.
- Can fitting double glazing cause condensation?
- If there is not a sufficient level of background ventilation in the room, condensation can occur, but some replacement windows will have trickle vents incorporated into the frame that let in a small amount of controlled ventilation to stop this. Condensation can sometimes occur on the outside of new low-e glazing. This is because low-e glass reflects heat back into the home and as a result the outside pane remains cool and condensation can build up in cold weather - this isn't a problem. Low-e glass actually prevents condensation appearing on the inside of your window as it would if your double glazing featured standard glass, as in the inside pane is kept warm by its special coating.
- Do replacement windows need to comply with building regulations?
- Yes, except where there are restrictions that prevent you doing so, such as planning restrictions. Before you do any work, make sure you check with your local planning office, particularly if you live in a conservation area, have an Article 4 direction on your property or have a listed building.
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