Wednesday 7 December 2016

Time to batten down hatches for winter

declanf@onlinetradesmen.com

Published 30/09/2011 | 05:00

Do you have any tips for insulating my home?

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With fuel costs rising and another cold winter forecast, it makes sense for homeowners to improve the insulation in their home. A number of grant schemes and incentives are available for eligible homeowners to improve the energy quality of their homes. You can check out your eligibility with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

The attic is a good place to start as up to 35pc of heat loss can occur through the roof. Usually the attic is easily accessible and improving insulation here can be done relatively cheaply. You can choose from a number of types of insulation from the widely used fibreglass and rockwool to more environmentally friendly options such as thermo-hemp, sheepwool and woodfibre insulation.

Cut the rolls of insulation to fit the width of the ceiling joists. This can be a dusty job so it's recommended you wear disposable overalls and a dust mask which can be purchased at www.handyhardware.ie. Ensure you insulate around pipes and the water tank which will help avoid burst pipes in freezing weather. Don't forget to leave a gap where the roof meets the wall to allow for ventilation and prevent condensation. If you would prefer to leave it to the experts, you can find an insulation expert at www.onlinetradesmen.ie.

Draught proofing will also help reduce heat and energy loss during the winter. To draught proof your home you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out.

By saving warm air you'll use less energy to heat your home. One of the simplest methods of draught proofing is to use well-fitting curtains and blinds on windows. Some of the common places for draughts to occur are windows and doors, attic hatches, chimneys, fireplaces, and pipework leading outside.

Windows

There are two different types of draught-proofing strips that can be used to fill the gap between the window and the frame. Self-adhesive foam strips are the cheapest option and relatively easy to install. However, they may not last as long as metal or plastic strips.

Make sure your strip is the right size to fill the gap in your window.

If the strip is too big it will get compressed and damaged and you may not be able to close the window. If it's too small there will still be a gap. For sliding sash windows it's best to fit brush strips or consult a professional on www.onlinetradesmen.ie.

Doors

There are a number of points to consider when draught- proofing doors.

Use a brush or hinged-flap draught excluder to cover any gap at the bottom of the door. Foam, brush or wiper strips like those used for windows can be used to cover any gaps around the edges of doors.

Purchase a keyhole cover and a letterbox flap for external doors.

Attic hatches

Because hot air rises and is lost into the cold space in the attic it is essential to draught proof the attic hatch. Attic hatches can be draught proofed by using strip insulation just like you would on a door.

Pipework

You can fill small gaps around pipework with silicon fillers. Care is needed as fillers block gaps permanently. Apply carefully and wipe off any excess or mess with a damp cloth before it dries. Fillers may break down over time, but can easily be re-applied.

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