As we make our way into summer, insulation is probably the last thing on your mind. However, insulation isn't just designed to retain heat – it also keeps it out, which will help you stay cool during hot summer days.
With the cost of living a big concern for all of us, it's likely you're looking for ways to cut your spending. Ensuring your home is properly insulated will keep your energy bills down during winter, plus it keeps your home cool during a hot summer, making it less likely that you'll need an energy-guzzling air conditioner.
Below, we take a closer look at the benefits of insulation. Plus, you'll spot some expert tips on how to prepare your home for winter.
The UK is heating up. According to the (published in July of last year), recent decades have been warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century. In fact, the report also claims that all the top 10 warmest years for the UK in the series from 1884 have occurred since 2002.
Typically, a British summer doesn't last very long, which is why most of us don't have a home-wide air conditioning system.
A portable air conditioner will keep your home cooler, and, again, we can point you towards the should you need one. However it will be expensive, a hassle to store in between summers if you don't have much space, and will use plenty of energy – helping neither the environment nor your bank balance.
Effective insulation can help you deal with hot weather, as it limits the amount of heat that can travel through the walls and roof, meaning your home stays cooler for longer.
Loft insulation is a relatively cheap and effective way to keep the heat out - or in. The Energy Saving Trust says that a quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. It adds that, if installed correctly, loft insulation 'should pay for itself many times over in its 40-year lifetime.'
In many cases, you should be able to install loft insulation yourself – invest in some rolls of insulation and lay it between the joists making up the floor of your loft. Add a second layer at right angles to achieve the minimum recommended depth of 270mm.
Installing insulation at joist level means the roof space above will still get hot in summer (and will be cold in winter). If you plan to spend time in your loft space, or store temperature-sensitive items there, insulating at rafter level - the underside of the roof, as in the photo below - may be a better choice. It's often more expensive and usually needs professional installation, but your loft will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
If the air outside is warmer than it is inside, you need to keep that air out to avoid an uncomfortably warm house during summer. Insulation won't be as effective if, on hot days, you open all the windows. In the evening, however, you'll need to use ventilation to bring cool air into your home.
Taking a shower using cool or lukewarm water can also help, especially if you let yourself air dry rather than reaching for a towel.
Although we're still in summer, it's a good idea to think about any jobs that'll need taking care of before or during winter.
Try to make sure that your insulation is up to scratch before it starts to get chilly, as it could save you from wrapping yourself up in a blanket at the end of the year or paying a lot more in heating bills.
We also recommend getting your boiler serviced during the summer. Towards the end of the year, boiler professionals are in high demand, so acting sooner rather than later could potentially help you avoid an emergency call-out. See our guide on for more details.
You might also want to consider:
If you need professional help insulating your home, consult a Which? Trusted Trader.
The Which? Trusted Traders scheme recognises reputable traders who pass a strict assessment process. Before a trader can earn their 'Trusted Trader' title, we check the trader's credit reports, customer satisfaction and business procedures, as well as conducting an interview and assessment.