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How to check your home’s insulation in 2023

A poorly insulated home can lead to higher energy bills but also to health problems. Check out our guide to find out if you have good home insulation.

3 min read

When the temperatures drop and a storm usually named with a pun by the media rolls in, your home can feel like a cryogenic chamber rather than a relaxation retreat. Instead of fighting between the thermostat and your next energy bill, it's time to think about how to keep our homes warmer for longer. In the UK we have the worst housing stock in Europe for adequate insulation and soon restrictions will force homeowners to upgrade their housing insulation. If you're wondering whether your home is properly insulated, there are a few ways you can find out.

Check your loft for insulation

The easiest way to inspect your loft's insulation is to look for insulation materials between the floor joists. It’s recommended to wear a face mask, eye protection and gloves before manipulating the insulation material.

Some things to take into account include:

  • The thickness of the existing insulation: Any insulation is better than no insulation but the recommended thickness for maximum performance is 400mm.
  • The state of the insulation: Is it mouldy? Is it falling to pieces? These things will make a difference to its insulation performance.
  • How the insulation is laid: Are there gaps where air could pass? Has it been laid a bit all over the place? Have air vents been covered? Again this may have an impact on its performance and / or lead to condensation. You are looking for a continuous layer of insulation across the whole ceiling / floor.

You may be able to assess your interior ceiling insulation by removing spotlights to check behind the plasterboard. The same goes for your internal walls - this can be done by removing your plug sockets to expose behind the scenes. If you're not confident in doing so then it might be one to avoid, you may end up with a new hairdo and one less plug socket. If you are going to do so you must remember to turn the power off at the fuse box and we recommend purchasing a voltage tester pen to be extra sure the area is safe. For those that are capable DIY-ers, you can also remove the skirting boards and drill into the wall to expose the level of internal insulation.

Look for drafts in your home

Another way to check is to look for drafts around windows and doors. If you can feel a draft, that means that warm air is escaping from your home, which means your insulation isn't doing its job properly. Glazing is one of the main heat loss elements in a household and anything less than double glazing is a concern. Any listed buildings are tough to make glazing changes to, so you may have to cover them with heavy-set curtains as an alternative.

Looking for drafts to check your home-s insulation

Inspect for mould

Mould is a big concern because of the potential health damage it can cause and indicates poor insulation of the home. Insulation needs to be able to maintain airflow, when poorly installed it can disrupt airflow and allow mould to build up. The bathroom is a common place to find mould because of the warm humid conditions, but any exterior connecting walls that have developed mould growth may be a sign of poor insulation.

Check the R-value of your insulation

The R-value is a measure of an insulation's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. Different types of insulation have different R-values, so check the label to see what the R-value is for the insulation in your home. A quick search on the internet should reveal the scale of the problem you are dealing with or probably not dealing with. You might also want to check your EPC rating: a rating of your house’s energy efficiency. One of the main causes of a poor EPC performance rating could be owing to the state of your insulation.

Contact a professional

If you still need to determine whether your home is properly insulated, it's a good idea to contact a professional. An energy auditor can come to your home and conduct a thorough assessment to determine whether your insulation is sufficient and identify any areas that may need additional insulation. Resi has partnered with vetted heat loss surveyors to help get you on the road to a warmer house and heavier wallet. Contact us today to get started.

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How do I know if my house is poorly insulated?

If you notice mould in your house, or drafts around your doors and windows, that should be a red flag.

How can you check if your walls are insulated?

The best way to check your home insulation is by contacting an energy auditor who will be able to advise you on the current situation and what can be done.

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