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Home Insulation - Where to start?

  • 23-01-2022 6:19pm
    Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭

    My home is currently 3 bed semi with a B3 rating. I'm looking to get some work done to make the house warmer but don't know what's the best place to spend it on.

    Is it worth getting thermal imaging done for 400 euro first? We have 100mm in the attic which is a bit damp (the attic is).

    Our upstairs is typically warmer than downstairs, with the hall being the coldest area. If I get more attic insulation will this just make the upstairs even warmer while not really combatting the issue with downstairs being colder?

    Thanks in advance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,723 ✭✭✭MicktheMan

    What you likely would benefit from is what is generally known as a heat loss survey. Amongst other things, this survey tests for air tightness (generally the no1 cause of heatloss in houses) and uses, amongst other methods, thermal imaging equipment. Your ventilation requirements should also be appraised as would your heating system & controls etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 317 ✭✭Biker1

    Start with another 250mm of mineral wool on top of what's there. Ensure you don't block the ventilation path at the eaves. Thermal imaging just gives you an indication of possible heat loss areas but this still has to be confirmed by someone who is experienced in house surveys. (Not insulation installers)

  • Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭FrankN1

    Would that keep the downstairs warm or just make the upstairs warmer? The issue is the upstairs is generally comfortably warm as of now so don't need or want to make it too warm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭FrankN1

    Just bumping this in case anyone had any ideas!

  • Registered Users Posts: 692 ✭✭✭jmBuildExt

    How old is the house?... B3 is high for an old semi-D

    Similar situation to myself....Mine is B3 and it has external insulation trip glazing, chimney removed.

    Would have to assume you have the walls insulated at b3 - if you dont its an obvious place to start.

    We have extension on the kitchen built to modern standards (300mm insulated cavity, insulated slab etc) - but like you I have an issue in that the hall is cold. We have a suspended floor in the main part of the house and there is no insulation or airtight membrane under the flooring. I think that is biggest contributor for me downstairs

    Could also look into getting a porch.

    And yes as mentioned, your attic could do with topping up.... its not correct to think that insulating the attic will only cause your upstairs to get warmer... "heat rises" is true - but cold air falls so if you have cold air at the point of your ceiling it will affect downstairs too. Insulation on any part of the envelope will affect inside as a whole.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭FrankN1

    It's 2006 I believe. The previous owner added a large high ceiling kitchen extension but the hallway is still the coldest room.

    Could it be the large external wall on the side of that stairs? Or maybe the door but the door isn't that drafty. We have double glazing windows which are ok.

    We have tiles in the hallway and kitchen which could be a factor. My main question is which would be the best place to start?

    The attic or look directly into how to get the downstairs warmer by maybe getting a thermal imaging report done?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,723 ✭✭✭MicktheMan

    Just adding extra insulation to the attic without a qualitative understanding of how and where the heat is being lost is unlikely to yield the desired result. For instance, adding a thicker wooly hat onto your head is unlikely to keep you warmer if your jacket zipper is bust / cannot be closed and you've wearing shorts! This is the value of the initial investment in the heat loss survey as it pinpoints where the heatloss weaknesses are (takes the guesswork out of it) and helps you to focus on what's important.

  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭iColdFusion

    Is there a chance it was occupied before 2006?

    If it was you can contact the SEAI for advice about upgrades and available grants, should be some free advice anyway

    If it was me id do:

    The attic insulation suggested above and some insulation & sealing around your attic hatch but be aware the more you insulate the attic the less heat gets to your water tank so you might need to insulated this also

    Then closely check all the seals & closing locks for windows and doors and get them replaced/realigned if necessary

    Then you are onto the big boy stuff such as pumping cavity, external insulation and/or insulated slabs to the inside leaf of all external walls which are all decent costs if you cant avail of grants or know a builder!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,047 ✭✭✭monseiur

    Before upgrading the attic insulation you should investigate what's causing the dampness in the attic. If this is not rectified it may cause the roof timbers to decay/rot in the long term. Extra vents in soffit and / or roof may be required. Regarding attic insulation in general - a minimium of 300mm is recommended

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  • Registered Users Posts: 54 ✭✭gigglybits

    The best advice I can give you is to get a heat loss survey done. This will tell you where you are losing heat and therefore what you need to address (instead of just guessing and spending money where it might be wasted). A good surveyor will also indicate how you might upgrade your heating etc in relation to the type of house you have. Air to water is not always the answer.

    Your attic should not be damp, please look at your attic ventilation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭FrankN1

    I think I found a major culprit. Under the stairs we have storage but behind these drawers is just exposed brick wall! It must all be coming from there!?

    I'll have to insulate that and plaster it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 realjohnone

    You could just insulate and clad with osb instead of plasterboard, I did the whole back wall of my kitchen that way. I’d bet that 99% of the houses built with boxed in staircases have the same problem with cold air accumulation in the void.

  • Registered Users Posts: 677 ✭✭✭FrankN1

    Thanks for this. I wonder if this is the culprit anyway as the toilet downstairs is always freezing and it's located under the stairs near this void.