26 June 2014
Taking steps to stop heat escaping from your home is very important in energy efficiency and helping with saving money on your fuel bills.
Before we get into specific ways of keeping the warm air in, let’s first look at how heat energy is transferred and where the most common areas are in your home that allow heat to escape.
There are three main ways that heat energy is transferred around your house:
1. Conduction - Heat is transferred through the floor, roof, windows and walls by conduction.
2. Convection - This can usually be seen with cold air rushing in through gaps in windows and doors causing ‘convection currents’ to force the hot air upwards into the roof.
3. Radiation - Heat can radiate out of your house via the windows, the walls and the roof
The most common places heat is lost in order from most to least are:
1. The Roof
3. Gaps around doors
Reducing heat loss in the roof can be done by laying loft insulation. This often comes in the form of rolls of foil or thick mineral wool, both of which are relatively easy to install and can make a significant difference to your heating bills.
The issue of heat escaping through windows can be reduced greatly by fitting double glazing. Double glazing is so effective because a thin layer of air is trapped between the two panes of glass. As air is a poor conductor of heat, double glazing reduces conduction heat loss considerably.
Old or poorly fitted doors can allow a surprising amount of heat to escape. Consider getting an energy-efficient door which comes with draught-proofing and double or triple glazing. Alternatively, you could simply put a draught excluder across the bottom of your door and installing a flap or brush to your letterbox.
Similarly to the loft, cavity wall insulation can be installed into your walls. If your home was built in or after the 1920s, it will likely have cavity walls, whereby there is a small gap between the internal and external walls. It’s best to have this installed professionally and the usual process is mineral wool, polystyrene beads or foam will be blown into your walls through a series of small drilled holes.
With the current fashion of wooden and laminate flooring, heat loss through the floor can be quite a problem in UK homes in winter. The simplest way to reduce the heat loss is to fit carpets or at least lay down rugs and draught excluders.
Article by Benjamin Clarke