How to save money by preventing heat loss from your home

With all the talk about heat conservation and the resulting rising energy costs, what can I do to reduce heat loss in my block-built bungalow that was built in the 1980s. We replaced the original single glazed windows with double glazed windows about 20 years ago and had the walls pumped out about 10 years ago. I hear a lot about airtightness these days and wonder what steps I can take to improve things. I’m worried that my attic will be particularly cold when I enter it and I wonder if this is “normal”?
Aidan Kereen, Waterford

Hello Aidan

Thank you for your question. Yes, I guess we are now looking at the “barrel” of a perfect storm. With oil prices at decade highs, daily news of melting ice caps already high and electricity and energy bills and the advent of electric vehicles, it’s no wonder we’re starting now looking at our aging homes and wondering how they can be brought into line with this growing search for efficiency.

When thinking about saving energy, you need to consider the efficiency of your home’s fabric and the efficiency of your heating system.

Your fabric is essentially the outer shell of your building (your ground floor, outer walls, and top floor/attic ceiling. These should be as effective as possible at trapping the heat you generate (and in pay full price!).

Double glazed windows fitted 20 years ago will be considerably less efficient than an A rated double glazed window fitted today.

It’s good to hear that you’ve already improved your thermal envelope with the introduction of cavity insulation and double glazed windows and these will certainly help retain the heat.

It should be noted however that double glazed windows fitted 20 years ago will be considerably less efficient than an A rated double glazed window fitted today.

Check all of your exterior window and door frames for drafts. These usually occur around the edges, opening sections and thresholds of doors. This can be a simple do-it-yourself repair or the assistance of a window repairer if replacement parts are needed.

You may actually be able to swap out some of your double-glazed cells for a more efficient A-Rated double-glazed cell, but it’s best to contact a window company about this to see if your frames allow for this.

As for the insulation of your cavity, you can also have this insulation removed by a specialist contractor and install more effective insulation if necessary. An insulation company and a BER specialist can advise you further here.

Kieran McCarthy: “Check all your window frames and exterior doors for drafts.  These usually occur around edges, opening sections and door sills.
Kieran McCarthy: “Check all your window frames and exterior doors for drafts. These usually occur around edges, opening sections and door sills.

Since you live in a bungalow, you will likely have a very large area of ​​insulated ceiling between your main floor and your attic.

Given the area, it would certainly be prudent to ensure that you have around 400mm of quilt insulation. I would advise you to check that you don’t have any major sources of air leaks in that ceiling. What would be particularly important here would be your ceiling rose/wire penetrations and even your recessed lights.

I would also advise you to contact an electrician who can install light hoods to create an airtight enclosure near your lights which can then be glued to your ceilings.

Also check that there are no other sources of air leaks through the cracks or junctions and if these are present you can certainly fix them from above with weather stripping tape. air that you can buy from any construction merchant.

There is one thing to keep in mind here, however. It may be that while you are improving the airtightness of your home, you come to a point where there is not enough air circulation. Make sure you have a set of window vents or wall vents. In the absence of these, you may need the advice of a ventilation company to ensure you have adequate and managed ventilation. Obviously, there is an optimal balance to be found here.

Finally, I would take stock of your heating system. If your home was built in the 1980s and you still have the original boiler in place, I strongly advise you to get a quote from a licensed plumber for a condensing boiler installation. Although you are still burning fossil fuels (which is now not recommended), your boiler is considerably more fuel and emissions efficient.

Hopefully, by the time you have some of these measures in place, fuel prices and energy bills will have stabilized and we can all look forward to a more environmentally friendly and peaceful future.

Civil engineer Kieran McCarthy is founder and director of design and construction at KMC Homes. He is co-presenter of the RTÉ program Cheap Irish Homes.

The hugely relevant and popular TV show Cheap Irish Homes returns for a third eight-episode series and is looking for contestants. Co-presenters Maggie Molloy and Kieran McCarthy say that in return for buyers’ willingness to do a little work, they’ll unearth properties within reach of those on a tight budget, whether it’s a cottage, townhouse or village or town shop or pub to convert.

Applicants must be available for multi-day filming between April and September 2022.

To apply for the show, email: [email protected]