Older houses can be absolutely stunning with their period architecture and heritage details, but those original windows, old insulation, drafty chimneys, and extra-high ceilings can pose a serious challenge when it comes to energy efficiency and locking in heat.
We often hear from owners of older houses that it isn’t such an issue in summer, but in winter their gorgeous home turns into an icebox and their energy bills go off the charts. So if a full renovation is off the cards, proper insulation can make a world of difference.
So let’s check out some FAQs about insulating an old house.
Is it even worth insulating an old house?
Yes! Investing in quality insulation will improve the comfort-levels in any home year-round, no matter its age. We actually wrote a whole article about health benefits of warm homes in winter, in case you feel like some more light reading. Not to mention all the other benefits of lowering your bills and reducing your carbon footprint.
How to improve insulation in an old house
First of all, it’s important to check where your home is losing its heat—windows, floorboards, ceilings, and chimneys can all be serious culprits here, and sealing these gaps and cracks is a great start. From there, you’ll want to check the existing insulation in the home (assuming there is any!) to work out where it is, what it is, its condition, and how it can be improved. We offer a range of solutions that can be customised to your house.
Will insulation damage my older home?
If you’re worried about the installation damaging your heritage home, Envirowall is a great blow-in option for older homes that were not insulated with batts during the original construction.
Envirowall is far less disruptive than other types of insulation—it only requires a hole the size of a 20-cent coin, and can be blown in from the exterior or interior. The blow-in system retrofits insulation within those empty wall cavities, filling up the drafty spaces and effectively sealing your home. It is also way more cost-effective than removing plaster or weatherboards to retrofit insulation. It can be blown in through plaster, weatherboards and even through the mortar in most brickwork, and fits itself around existing insulation and wiring.
Can I put new insulation on top of old? Does old insulation need to be removed or replaced?
The short answer is you can do either. We generally prefer to put it on top in most cases. But we also do removal on a case-by-case basis, particularly if your existing insulation is very old or mouldy.
It also depends on what type of insulation you already have. Some types of insulation (like foam) can last a very long time without issues. But of course, the older your home, the more likely it is that your insulation has been compromised by rodents, insects, allergens, or mould, which can grow when moisture gets trapped within the layers. And you definitely don’t want to be breathing that.
These issues lead to cold, drafty houses, high energy bills, and most worryingly, they can be damaging to your health.
So if the existing insulation is in really bad shape, we always recommend removing it. Our insulation specialists can assess it and advise your best course of action.
How to dispose of old insulation
It’s very important to do this carefully, especially if the old insulation has mould or other issues. Your insulation company should be able to safely dispose of it for you if you need to remove it.
Can I DIY old home insulation?
You can, and we have an online shop where you can purchase what you need if you decide to go this route. Please be aware though that particularly in older homes, it is very easy to damage the house if the insulation job isn’t done properly. And that can get really messy, really fast. So if you’re not 100% sure about safety measures, exactly what you need, and how to protect your house, we recommend a professional install.
What makes insulation more effective?
A proper, professional assessment! It’s absolutely worth it to get a professional to come and look at your home to work out the most effective means of improving your insulation (and stopping that heat escaping). We offer this free service at no obligation to you.
Of course the most well-insulated homes are fully fitted out in ceilings, walls, and underfloors, but this can get costly to do all at once. Our team can help you work out how to create a custom solution for your unique home that works within your budget.
Ready to lower your energy bills and have a cosier home this winter?