March 18, 2013

One of the biggest reasons home and property owners are losing heat and energy from their domestic heating oil is through a lack of, or poor quality insulation. There are many types of insulation either natural, environmentally friendly or man-made that maximise thermal performance.

The list below are just a few examples of the types of loft insulation available. Some may require a professional certified installer so always check before purchase about the correct procedure. If you are installing yourself make sure you follow the correct safety procedures and use appropriate tools and protective clothing.

It is also wise to discuss with a professional the most suitable option for your home. Many domestic heating oil properties are old buildings that some types of insulation may not be suitable for.

Blanket or Batt - One of the most common forms of insulation it is sold in rolls of glass, rock, felt or mineral fibre and is simple to install without the need for contractors. The blanket or batt is good for properties with domestic heating oil and for larger spaces such as walls but some of the materials can be an irritant on the skin so best not to use where people will be in regular close contact with it. A non-irritant, greener option is made from recycled sheep's wool but this is more expensive.

Loose-fill - Is made from different lightweight, granular materials such as cork, mineral wool or cellulose fibre with greener options of loose-fill being from recycled products such as newspaper. It is very pliable that can fit into smaller, more difficult spaces and is an excellent top up to existing insulation, however it can come loose in draughty areas.

Sheet - Designed for the sloping sides of the roof, sheet insulation comes as firm boards and be customised being made to size, fire/moisture resistant and/or with a decorative covering. The benefits of sheet insulation for a domestic heating oil property are that it can be a greener option with some being made from natural materials like cork, straw, wood and has a high insulating value per unit thickness. Cons are that it can be more expensive than other insulating products and that the sheets use large amounts of energy during production.

Blown fibre - Installed by a contractor, the fibre is blown in between joist gaps in the roof. Quick and easy to do by a professional it is great for getting into areas where access maybe more difficult. The 'greener' option is that it can be done with recycled wool or paper. It isn't recommended for domestic heating oil properties with draughty lofts and is a more expensive option.

Having an air-tight, well insulated home is essential for creating an energy efficient, sustainable home. It will also help to reduce the cost of your domestic heating oil bills and the initial cost outlay will pay for itself in just a few years.

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