Have you started to notice a chill in the air, and not just when you’re outside? While this isn’t concrete proof that your home isn’t properly insulated, it’s certainly an indication that something may be amiss. Remember the ‘Beast from the East’, early last year? Well, it’s blustering its way back in 2019 – so, if you have any concerns about your insulation, now is the time to act.
If you’ve noticed any of the following subtle signs already, you may be in for a chilly start to the year, so we’ve also included a few tips to help you resolve the issue.
When your central heating is switched on, and a moderate temperature is set for the entire home, every room should hold this temperature steadily. A sure sign that insulation is an issue in a specific room is if this temperature is unsteady. If there is no obvious visible reason, such as one side of the home comprising single-pane windows, then insulation looks likely to be the issue.
While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model for performing this test, such is the variety of home sizes and shapes, having all doors and windows shut should keep the temperature consistent. If it doesn’t, the areas you should immediately check are the windows, roof, external doors and walls. Windows and doors are usually the first port of call here, but the walls and roof are typically more troublesome.
This is simply because we frequently interact with windows and doors, so they become much more prominent in the mind at all times. However, the more ‘unseen’ walls and roof can often be the source of those strange chills that appear in the home. If you consider that installing an extra layer of insulation on a hot water tank can save the average household £20 every year, according to The Telegraph, imagine the money and warmth saved by improving insulation throughout the home.
High energy bills
The cost of heating your home is another thing you’ll want to look at closely. Okay, you probably already study it fastidiously and do what you can to keep it low, but if it’s consistently higher than you expect, insulation is the next place you should look.
If your home was built in the last ten years, it’s likely to already have cavity wall insulation fitted as standard. Double-check that this is the case, and then look into what’s above, in the roof. However, if your home is older, while it may have been built with a small space between each walls (known as the ‘cavity’), it is not actually guaranteed to have cavity wall insulation fitted.
According to Which?, the annual cost saving in a standard semi-detached home by having cavity wall insulation fitted is around £150. While it is not exactly inexpensive to fit in the first place, it should actually be saving you money within the next three or four years. Spread over the length of your average mortgage, this becomes a serious saving.
Do note that, even if you haven’t noticed drastically fluctuating temperatures in your home, your heating bill could be the clearest indication that your insulation isn’t up to scratch. If you’re still unsure, perhaps check with a neighbour, or somebody who owns a similar property, to see how much they are paying for their heating.
Water leaks in the attic
While poor insulation means that heat is regularly escaping from your home, if the roof is affected, it normally means water is also getting in. When checking your attic or the upper floors of your house, you may not find pools, puddles or streams seeping in, but you may discover black mould or sniff out a musty, stale smell.
Even if this problem is located in just the one place – even a place you hardly ever visit, like the attic – it’s likely to spread and lead to more damage to your home in the future. Furthermore, because these rooms are so infrequently used, it is also more difficult to both identify a particular insulation problem and resolve it with roof repairs or new, fitted materials.
According to uSwitch, around 25% of heat lost from an un-insulated home goes through the roof, making it only slightly less costly than un-insulated walls. When you consider the added threat of water damage, the roof becomes not only the most problematic in terms of fixing the issue but the most costly over time, too.
Roof insulation options depend on the type of property you have, with pitched or sloping roofs usually more straightforward to insulate. While a professional roofer will be required to check the roof itself for problems, when it comes to dormer and flat roofs, these require genuinely specialist skills in the roofing trade. Companies like Findley Roofing & Building will perform comprehensive checks on roofing insulation, and deliver flat roof repairs in Newcastle upon Tyne and surrounding areas.
Other signs to look out for
More rarely, but still occasionally, other signs will appear that indicate an insulation issue in either your walls or roof. Finding bugs or rodents residing or nesting in your home means that they’ve clearly managed to get in somewhere you haven’t yet discovered.
With rodents, in particular, that is likely to be somewhere spacious enough for them to forage in and out at will. If you have a basement, the insulation problem you’ve been looking for all around you might actually be just beneath your feet.
Frozen pipes also mean that the temperature between your walls, or floors and ceilings, are reaching extremely cold temperatures and could even burst. Finally, if the ‘Beast from the East’ does hit your home in the next few weeks, the way the snow lies on your home could point you to exactly where the insulation problem lies, itself.
If the snow seems to have no problem melting away from your roof but is actually freezing as it enters the gutters or forming stalactites as it drips away, you’ll see that too much heat is escaping through the roof of your home.