Alternative Technology at Home in Suffolk
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I have upgraded the insulation of the house by increasing the thickness of the loft insulation.
When the house was built in 1975, loft insulation was not considered to be very important. Consequently only 50 mm of fibreglass insulation was in place. Our loft was always home to many cardboard boxes and the various junk that you seem to collect. I got the idea to re-use expanded polystyrene packaging that was sent in parcels we received to provide extra loose insulation.
I was happy with this until I realised this could be a fire hazard and so set about the unpleasant task of clearing the massive amount of polystyrene chippings out of harm's way. After a few hours my long suffering back had tortured me enough - there must be an easier way? There was, in the form of a garden vacuum cleaner which I had thought was useless for its designed purpose. It was comparatively easy to push the cleaner around the loft and suck up all the chippings.
Next, with the loft now clear, I investigated what extra insulation I could provide. Wickes builder's merchants had a 3 for the price of 2 offer on 150 mm rolls of rockwool insulation. I spent about £140 and half a dozen return trips to Ipswich to get enough to do the whole loft across the rafters. This gave me a decent total insulation thickness of 200 mm, but in fact 270 mm is recommended in the UK now.
The difference last winter was quite noticeable. We have the upstairs radiators on a separate heating circuit with its own thermostat and in the evening the upstairs heating rarely came on at all. This shows that the heat from downstairs was previously escaping through the loft, forcing the upstairs heating to come on.
I am now in the process of increasing the insulation thickness still further to the latest Building Regulations Standard of 270 mm. In fact, it will actually be closer to 350 mm as I got some insulation at a really good price on eBay. Have a look yourself below.