A joint study between EDF and Sprift has found that the average age of insulation in UK homes is over 40 years. The study also found that only one-third of homes had insulation which was updated within the past 20 years, and some 58% have insulation which only meets 1976 standards.
This is very worrying for a number of reasons and is a sign that many homes across the country need an update, fast.
There are numerous reasons to replace old insulation in your home.
There are many reasons to replace insulation in your home.
Living in a cool climate such as that in the UK, home insulation can help reduce energy costs by keeping heat from escaping through the roof and walls of your house. This is particularly critical during the current cost of living crisis, as energy bill prices continue to increase. Insulation which is old and worn may have become ineffective over time, so even though you think your home is efficient, old insulation could actually be costing you hundreds of pounds per year.
Things will be affected on hot days too. Insulation works to keep your home cooler because it keeps out unwanted air from outside, so if your insulation is ineffective, then you will be suffering from more stuffy days and sweaty nights in the summer.
Insulation can also help prevent drafts from entering through cracks or uneven surfaces in floors or walls that could cause mould growth over time if left unattended for too long. Once again, if your insulation is ineffective this mould could take hold, even growing on the old insulation itself.
If your property is particularly old, then there is also the risk that your current insulation could contain asbestos, as was previously used up until around 1990. Long term asbestos exposure can cause a range of health issues, so it’s definitely important to check when your current insulation was installed, and which materials were used.
So how long does insulation typically last, and what classes as “old insulation” which needs to be replaced? Well, there are many factors that affect the lifespan of your insulation. Including:
- The type of insulation – Using modern standards, cavity wall insulation will last around 25 years, external wall insulation around 30 years, and loft insulation for the entire lifetime of the property. However, this may be much shorter if the insulation was installed using standards from decades ago, and products such as loose-fill insulation can be much more susceptible to moisture or damage.
- How well it was installed in the first place – If the installation process failed to include air barriers or special flashing around vents and windows (particularly in older homes), your insulation will deteriorate more quickly than normal.
- How well you maintain it after installation – If your property has suffered any damage, leaks, or botched DIY, then the integrity of the insulation may have been compromised too.
How can you tell if your insulation needs to be replaced?
If you’re unsure whether or not your insulation needs to be replaced, there are a few telltale signs that can help.
- If your insulation is old and dirty, it may be time for a replacement. The older the material gets, the more likely it is that it will become discoloured and start to break down. This can lead to airborne contaminants which are unhealthy for you and your family.
- Check for wear and tear on any ceiling spots where pipes or wiring could be located (such as near light fixtures). If this area has been compromised due to water damage or other deterioration then you will need new insulation installed in order to prevent further damage from occurring.
- If your home suddenly feels drafty, colder on cold days, or hotter on warm days, then this is a sign that your insulation isn’t performing correctly. This can also be reflected in your energy bills rising even faster than expected.
- Yellowed or brittle insulation. The colour of your old insulation is one sign that it’s time to replace it. As insulation ages, it gets dirty and starts to break down, which causes its insulating properties to diminish over time.
- Holes in the wall cavity or ceiling space between studs where insulation used to be installed before being torn out for some reason (perhaps because someone wanted more space inside their wall?). If there are large holes between studs where insulation used to be installed before being removed from somewhere else on the house, then chances are pretty high that those areas aren’t insulated at all anymore because they don’t have any material covering them up yet again—meaning that cold drafts could come seeping into these spots throughout wintertime when temperatures drop.
How To Replace Insulation
If you’re unsure about the quality of your insulation or think that it may need replacing, then we always recommend that you reach out to a specialist such as ourselves.
Insulation can be complex and in some cases, DIY replacements have been known to make things worse.
Our experienced team can assess your current insulation to see whether it really does need replacing, advise you on next steps, and then also offer insulation removal and replacement service to get your home energy efficiency fit for the future, not stuck in the past.
For more information regarding home insulation and anything in this post, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team on 0800 1583605, or send us a message, and we will be happy to help.