Solid Wall Insulation
Around a third of the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls. You could therefore slash your heating bills by ensuring that your walls are properly insulated. And for anyone living in a property with solid walls, the savings can be even greater because solid walls let through twice as much heat as cavity walls.
Here, we explain how to go about insulating your solid walls - from the inside or the outside - and look at how much you could save by doing so.
What is solid wall insulation?
Most properties built before 1920 have solid, rather than cavity, external walls.
This means that they allow more heat through because they are solid. If a wall has a built-in cavity, heat will not travel across the gap as quickly or efficiently as it would through solid material.
Insulating solid walls is more complicated than insulating cavity walls because it must be done from the outside or the inside - you cannot simply fill the cavity with a substance designed to prevent the maximum amount of heat transfer.
Internal solid wall insulation involves fitting rigid insulation boards to the wall, or building a 'stud' wall filled-in with mineral wool fibre.
External wall insulation involves fixing a layer of insulation material to the wall, before covering it with a special type of render (plasterwork) or cladding.
Which type is right for you will depend on your budget, your property and whether you want to tackle all the walls at once.
Whatever you choose, though, the good news is that the savings are likely to be substantial.
How much could you save?
The cost of installing solid wall insulation varies, depending on whether you opt for external or internal insulation.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the total cost of paying a company to install internal solid wall insulation ranges from about £5,500 to £8,500, while the savings on offer to the average household are around £460 a year.
Based on these figures, it would therefore take about 12 years to recoup the cost of installing internal solid wall insulation throughout your entire home.
External solid wall insulation, on the other hand, costs between £9,400 and £13,000 to install and enables a typical household to cut its annual bills by £490. The time taken to recoup the cost of installing external insulation is therefore longer at just under 20 years.
You may, however, qualify for a grant to help cover the cost of solid wall insulation. And having insulation in place could boost the sale price of your property if you ever came to put it on the market.
If you are a tenant keen to cut your heating bills by having the solid walls of the property you rent insulated, it may also be worth telling the owner about the Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance.
It runs until April 2015 and allows landlords to claim £1,500 (per property) against their tax bills to help pay for any energy saving improvements carried out.
How to install solid wall insulation
Installing solid wall insulation is a big job and is bound to cause some disruption in your home while it is being done.
As described above, the costs involved are also significant. However, you may be able to reduce the cost of installing solid wall insulation by carrying out the work at the same time as other home improvements.
If you are planning a new kitchen or bathroom, for example, this is an obvious time to fit internal insulation. If you were installing a new roof or having your rendering done, it could make sense to have external insulation fitted at the same time.
Just make sure that the insulation work complies with current Building Regulations, which state that the thermal performance of the insulated wall must be at a certain level.
If you live in England or Wales, for example, this is a U-value (a measure of how quickly heat will pass through the wall) of no more than 0.30 W/m2K.
†10% of customers could save up to £670. MoneySuperMarket Data, May 2016