Even small changes can have a huge impact on how comfortable your homes feels and on your energy bills.
As a first thing I would be looking at draught sealing and weather-stripping your house. Most of us can not afford to replace the windows but weather-stripping them and also closing off walls and ceiling vents can make a huge difference. It can also help a lot just to replace a few windows, if money allows. For instance, the big glazing areas in your living and dining area. Or a particular old rusty window.
The next thing to look at is the insulation. In an ideal world your house should have a continuous insulation layer all around it. Sadly, often this might proof to difficult or expensive, but again, every bit counts.
The easiest thing is to add insulation to the ceiling/roof. Even if you have insulation there, it might have start to decompose and not perform as good as it should. I would aim at an R-value of R5.0 or R6.0. Sometimes it might even be cheaper to put two R3.5 layers on top of each other, to create an R7.0.
Then you should look at the walls. If you are replacing plasterboard or external wall cladding installing new insulation batts is really easy. However, if you do not want to touch the existing structure, you still have a few options. If you have roof tiles you can lift up the tiles and fill in loose insulation from the top. Or, if you have a metal roof, you can trill little wholes in between the studs and then spray insulation in. One important thing is that you have to make sure that the insulation just does not fall through, so you will have to close of the cavity at the bottom.
The downside to the sconed option is that you will need to patch up and repaint the walls again. But regardless, this will definitely improve the performance of your house significantly.
Next you should look at the floor. Can you get access underneath the house? If so, fixing batts to the underside of the bearers is really easy. If there is no or limited access it gets harder. The only way would be to lift the floor boards. So, in some cases this might be cost prohibitive.
When looking at retrofitting insulation it is crucial that whoever installs the insulation knows what they are doing. Unfortunately, even within the industry there are many trades people that don’t know what they are doing….
Another easy fix is external shading. Try to keep the sun out of your house in summer, rather than cooling your house down once it’s too hot. You can either plant deciduous trees in front of windows or install external blinds. Even most hardware stores have some simple and often quite cheap solutions available. They might not be the best-looking options, but they will do their job.
If you are planning to update your house and don’t know where to start just get in touch with us I can put you in touch with some specialists that can help you with the retro fitting of insulation and the draught sealing of your home.