# HOW- TO 1

All forms of heating are expensive and much of this heat is lost through the weak points of the building –
roof, doors, gaps around windows and badly fitting floorboards.
This How-To guide discusses loft insulating, draught proofing and other methods of reducing heat
loss. Thermal insulation can reduce heat loss, save money and improve the standard of comfort in the
home. One of the greatest benefits is gained by insulating the loft. Using the HOMEBASE range, which is
made to British Standard BS5803 Part 1 1985, loft insulation is surprisingly easy and quick to complete,
requiring the minimum of tools and equipment.
HOW- TO
HOW-TO INSULATE AND SAVE ENERGY
• Insulation: 5.3m x 150mm x 370mm or 8m x
100mm x 370mm or 8m x 100mm x 570mm –
Select from the HOMEBASE range of glass
wool insulation, depending on the depth and
spacing of the joists
• Pipe lagging
• Gloves
• Goggles
• Lagging kits for water storage heaters and hot
water cylinders
• Crawling boards, as wide as possible (around
2m x 230mm) and long enough to span at least
4 joists
• Extension cable
• Wander light
• Large scissors or trimming knife,
• Tape measure
• Short length of batten
MATERIALS
TOOLS
HOW- TO 2
PREPARATION
1. Check for woodworm and, if present, treat before laying insulation.
2. Vacuum the whole loft space. Consider hiring an industrial vacuum cleaner.
3. Keep the trapdoor shut while working. Make sure you have a handle fixed to the inside of the trapdoor.
ESTI MATI NG THE NUMBER OF ROLLS
Count the number of spaces between the joists. Measure the length of the joists. Calculate the total length and
divide by the roll length.
For example, 12 spaces x 8m = 96m
96m ÷ 8m = 12 rolls or 96m ÷ 5.3m = 18.1 rolls
Building regulations call for 200mm thick insulation in a building with a pitched roof, but in some cases this may
not be practical. If the loft is to be floored for storage purposes, the joists may not be deep enough to allow this
thickness. The insulation should suit the joist depth without having to be compressed. Using 18mm thick chip-
board will add to the insulation effect.
SAFETY
Insulation must not be laid over electrical cables as they could overheat and catch fire. If necessary
re-route the cables.
I MPORTANT
Use crawling boards and do not try to balance on the joists when working. Never stand on the ceiling of the room
below, as it will not be strong enough to take your weight.
LAYING GLASS WOOL INSULATION
1. Pass all the rolls of insulation up into the loft. Only open them while in the loft.
2. If the loft is used for storage, create a clear area for working.
3. It is essential to maintain good ventilation in the roof space. Insulation can cause condensation, which might
rot the roof timbers. This can be prevented by not tucking the insulation too tightly into the eaves.
I MPORTANT
Ensure that there is a gap under the eaves and that the air flow into the roof space is not restricted.
SAFETY
Make sure you have adequate temporary lighting. Glass wool is made up of fibres that can get everywhere and
irritate the skin. Wear protective clothing, made of thick cotton rather than wool. Tuck trousers into socks and
wear a long sleeved shirt, taped around the wrists. A suitable face mask, bearing the CE mark, should be worn.
Wear rubber gloves when handling the insulation. Should skin irritation be experienced, it may be lessened by
rinsing under cold running water before washing.
HOW- TO 3
4. Starting under the eaves, unroll the insulation between the joists (F1).
5. Glass wool fibre rolls are designed to suit the joist spacing in the average house. If the spaces are too narrow
or variable, the rolls may be cut to fit. Measure the width required and mark it onto the outside of the
unopened roll. Use a sharp carving knife to cut the roll to fit (F2).
6. Lay the insulation onto the ceiling between the joists and try not to compress it (F3). Insulation relies on
trapping air, so it is less efficient when compressed.
7. Use a piece of wooden batten to push the insulation up to but not into the eaves (F4).
8. Rolls may be joined by abutting (matching) or overlapping them by 75mm.
F1 F2
F3 F4
HOW- TO 4
9. Water storage tanks should be insulated using either a 'tank lagging jacket' to suit the tank size or 50mm thick
polystyrene slabs to suit the tank. The slabs may be held together with duck tape (F5).
To comply with water by-law 30 the tank should be fitted with a close fitting lid to keep out contaminants. This
should be used together with a by-law 30 fitting kit comprising filtered warming pipe adaptor, vent pipe con-
nector and a filtered breathing unit.
I MPORTANT
Ensure that there is a gap under the eaves and that the air flow into the roof space is not restricted.
Key
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
K
L
M
Cistern lid (to give a maximum gap of
0.65mm).
(to protect against heat and frost).
Warning pipe filter (top prevents insects
etc.entering the cistern via warning
pipe).
Breather filter (to allow free exchange
of air)
Vent pipe connector (To seal where
vent pipe enters cistern via cover).
90 bend and dip tube (to terminate
minimum of 50mm below shut off water
level).
Fixing nuts and washers.
Plastic backing plate.
Compression nut.
Protective cap (pushfit).
Disc mesh filter 0.65mm max. opening
o
F5
HOW- TO 5
10. Pipes, both in the loft and under suspended floors, must be insulated to prevent them from freezing.
HOMEBASE supply split foam pipe lagging (F6), which is very easy to cut and fit.
Hi nt
Stick two thicknesses of 50mm polystryrene insulation onto the loft trapdoor cover with PVA.
REDUCING HEAT LOSS
HOT WATER CYLI NDERS
These should be lagged with a purpose-made insulating jacket and the pipes should be lagged with split pipe
insulation (F6). Take care not to cover the thermostat or the mains electricity cable (it may overheat).
CONDENSATI ON
Make sure that there is enough ventilation to eliminate the build up of steam from cooking, bathing and shower-
ing, as well as the water vapour associated with normal breathing. An adult produces around 0.85 litres of water
during a night's sleep. Some ventilation, either natural or fan-assisted, is required to prevent condensation, which
can lead to mould growth, timber decay and the deterioration of decorations.
A wide range of dehumidifiers and extractor fans are available from HOMEBASE stores. These will help to
extractor fan.
SUSPENDED WOODEN FLOORS
Wooden ground floors, most often found in older housing, can be very draughty and lose a great deal of heat.
Floorboards shrink, leaving gaps between them and under the skirting boards. The best way to insulate is to lift
the floor and support the insulation material on plastic garden netting stapled to the joists (F7).
F7
F6
HOW- TO 6
REDUCING HEAT LOSS
An efficient way to draught proof is to hardboard the whole floor and fit a beading round the edge (F8).
A panel of self-adhesive reflective foil stuck onto the wall behind each radiator helps to prevent heat loss through
the wall and reflects the heat back into the room.
WI NDOWS
Windows can loose heat rapidly and should be inspected for badly fitting closures and draughts. Joints between
the frame and masonry should be sealed, inside and outside. Use a cartridge gun with silicone or acrylic sealant.
Check underneath the windowsills and seal any gaps.
Insulating film (seasonal insulation) provides instant double glazing. The tough and durable film shrinks to fit the
window tightly with the heat from a hairdryer. It is quick and simple to fit and requires no special tools.
Windows that open can be fitted with draught-proof strips or self-adhesive foam strips, a range of which are
available at HOMEBASE. External doors can be treated in the same way and a nylon 'brush' draught excluder
can be fitted to the letterbox. Internal doors can be fitted with draught-proof strips on three sides and a special
sealing strip on the bottom edge.
SAFETY
Conventional flue heating appliances require air to burn properly. Never make a room airtight or fit an
electric fan that may starve the unit of air.
F8a
F8b