Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) involves filling the gap between your home’s inner and outer walls with insulating material to prevent heat escaping during the winter, and cool air from entering during the summer. This can help to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round, saving on energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint.
With the current climate change debate, the Government has pledged over PS2 billion pounds to encourage energy saving measures for homeowners, which includes cavity wall insulation. However, whilst in theory this is a great idea, many homeowners are facing problems that can make CWI not worth it.
The most common problem with Cavity Wall Insulation is the presence of mould within your home. This is not just unsightly, but it can lead to a number of health issues including asthma and even cancer. It can also cause a number of structural issues such as damp, and is extremely costly to fix.
Mould growth is caused by moisture build up inside the cavity wall insulation and can be very difficult to treat. This is why it’s important that you choose a contractor who is registered with one of the major insulation bodies. This ensures that they have been assessed and meet their membership standards.
You can check if your property has a cavity wall by looking at the exterior brickwork. Typically, a mixture of long and short bricks indicates that there is a cavity present. However, if you don’t know, it is possible to have a surveyor come and inspect your property with a borescope, to confirm that the cavity is suitable for insulating.
There are a number of different options when it comes to installing cavity wall insulation, but the most popular is mineral fibre which is torn up into tiny pieces and blown into the cavity. Alternatively, expanding foam can be used. This type of insulation is very popular in the States and is slowly becoming more common here in the UK. It works by mixing two chemicals together, as it is pumped into the cavity, which causes them to expand. This creates a dense foam insulation which fills the cavity.
Once the insulation has been installed, the access holes are then sealed using a colour-matched mortar or plastic plugs to ensure that they blend in with the rest of the exterior. The installation process should only take a couple of hours and shouldn’t cause much disruption to your home.
It is important to remember that if you live in a flood-prone area, cavity wall insulation should not be installed as it may trap water within the cavities and lead to damp and other structural damage. It is also recommended that you install additional ventilation to your property in order to avoid condensation and dampness issues.
Despite the problems that can occur with CWI, it is still recommended as a cost-effective measure to help reduce your energy bills and protect against any future fuel price rises. You could save up to PS145 per year on your heating costs.