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How To Check Your Insulation Is Up To UK Standards

Spray Foam News

Insulation is a vital part of your home. Good insulation can mean cheaper heating bills, less damp and mould and better living conditions. In the same vein, bad insulation can cost you a fortune, cause structural damage to your home and in serious cases hurt your health.

Here’s a quick guide that you can use for a DIY insulation check of residential loft and wall insulation. However, ideally insulation checks should always be done by a professional, so if you identify what you think is dodgy insulation or you have any questions, get in touch with the friendly team at Mass Foam Systems on 0800 246 5051 or request a call back.

Roof insulation – Common issues and loft insulation thickness regulations

The law in the UK for loft insulation was updated in 2006 to help reduce carbon emissions lost through heating badly insulated buildings. There are regulations on the depth of the roof insulation (depending on the material). Yet regulations focus on heat loss, safety and insulation qualities, rather than what materials must be used.

Firstly, safely get up to the roof space, make sure you have the correct safety equipment: a step ladder on level ground, eye protection and a mask if necessary. You should be able to check the following loft insulation qualities by sight:

  • Do you even have insulation?
    • Despite regulation, loft insulation can sometime be completely missing.
  • Does it cover the whole ceiling?
    • Over time old roof insulation can get damaged or fall off. For older buildings the loft insulation may have been hastily installed in the first place.
  • Is the roof insulation thick enough?
    • For certain materials the loft insulation regulation thickness is 270mm. This can be hard to check, so the rule of thumb is the insulation should be the same thickness or thicker than the joist.
  • Does it look overly uneven, have slumps or look squashed or tucked in? (especially at the bottom)
    • This can happen to older insulation, especially if it has been badly installed. It is rare with modern expanding foam insulation or Icynene® insulation.
  • Does it look wet or damp in areas?
    • Look for discoloration or a certain damp smell.
  • Is there any sign it has been damaged by birds or other animals?
    • You can search for animal droppings, nests, noises or holes in the insulation.

In most of these scenarios, you will need to completely replace parts of the loft insulation. If you have any questions about the points raised above, call us on 0800 246 5051. We are experts in Icynene® spray foam insulation, an open cell spray foam insulation that is perfect for lofts and can save you bags of cash in your heating bill.

Checking cavity wall insulation

It can be much harder to check if a cavity wall is insulated properly. However, there are some simple methods for checking if your wall insulation is adequate:

  • Does the wall feel colder than the other walls?
    • This can be a sign that the wall isn’t properly insulated
  • Knock on the wall, does it sound hollow?
  • Is there any damp, mould or discoloration?
    • This is very often a sign of poorly installed or faulty insulation

If you are still unsure, the best way to check without damaging the wall is to remove the electrical socket cover. Turn off the electricity in the room before you do this and ensure you have taken all possible safety precautions beforehand. Then remove the cover, shine a torch in the hole and check, if you see some insulation you can even remove a small part to check the material and quality.

Have you done a quick DIY insulation regulation checkup and found some anomalies? Call us at Mass Foam Systems with any questions on 0800 246 5051.

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