Insulate your floor

Last updated Wednesday 2 July 2008

Keep the heat under your feet

Draughty floorboards leak more heat than an unlagged loft. Is it time you put your foot down?

Everyone knows - or should do - about the importance of lagging your loft, but in fact we lose more heat through the floor than the roof. Insulating your floor and blocking the draughts they let in will save 350kg of CO2 a year and stop you hopping from foot to foot on cold winter mornings.

And the good news is you only need to insulate the lowest floor - where the heat is lost.

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Photo: Insulate your floor

Saves up to 350 kg of CO2 a year

76 Bloomers are doing this

CO2 reduction 2 out of 5

Cheapness 4 out of 5

Popularity 2 out of 5

Cost 10 - 90

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How will it make a difference?

Pub Fact

  • Heat loss through floors can be reduced by up to 60 per cent by insulation

You have a choice between insulating underneath the floorboards and insulating between them and the carpet. Taking the floorboards up is obviously more disruptive but saves more CO2 and cash. You can do it yourself for about 90: you'll make the money back in two years and save 350kg a year of CO2.

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How do I do it?

  • Choose a material from the Energy Saving Trust's recommended products or from around the web. Natural insulation such as sheep's wool and recycled newspaper produced less CO2 when they were manufactured so have fewer embodied
  • If you don't fancy pulling up floorboards yourself, get someone in - but make sure they're accredited through the National Insulation Association
  • Under floor insulation will be easier if you have access to floorboards via an unheated basement
  • If you still don't fancy having the floor up, add a fibreboard underlay over the existing floorboards, but under the carpet
  • A cheap option (and therefore good for renters) if you have bare floorboards is to fill in the gaps between them and round the edges along the skirting board with thin strips of newspaper. Cover them in clear silicone sealant from a DIY shop. (See draught-proofing for more details)
  • Carpets do insulate but if you're in love with the look of bare boards, rugs will help. (Beware - floorboards need ventilation, or they'll rot)
  • If you have a concrete or solid floor, it's possible to add a layer of insulation on top but the process can get complicated. See page 19 of the Energy Saving Trust's guide for more details.

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Comments

Zivile, Vilnius 2008-11-16

my parents have made the renovation in our flat,and have insulated the floor,now it's really more warm at home and even my uncle,who came to visit us,said that it's more warm in our flat!

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Glossary terms used on this page
CO2
CO2, or carbon dioxide, is made up of the elements carbon and oxygen. It exists quite naturally in our atmosphere, as part of the carbon cycle. Everyday processes in the plant and animal world both add CO2 to the atmosphere and take it out. However, because it is a greenhouse gas - meaning it affects the temperature of the earth - the exact level of CO2 is important. Burning fossil fuels releases CO2 into the atmosphere, hence the anxiety that extensive use of these fuels is causing climate change.
Embodied energy
Embodied energy - sometimes referred to as 'embedded energy' - is the energy used (and therefore the CO2 emissions) in manufacturing, packaging and transporting a product, material or service. So when calculating the CO2 savings from a new energy-efficient product such as a boiler or washing machine, its embodied energy needs to be taken into account. Usually the energy saved in use will quickly compensate for the embodied energy, but in some cases - such as small urban wind turbines - it may be that a product will use more energy in its manufacture than it will save across its lifetime.

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