The Green Deal, one such rollout, which was launched in 2015, gave homeowners the chance to make energy-saving improvements to their homes without the upfront cost.
But in the rush to insulate, many homes had unsuitable works carried out which are now causing real problems with dampness and mould.
Loft or cavity wall insulation, in the right type of property can save the owner a lot of money each year. The Energy Saving Trust says cavity wall insulation costs up to £1,800 to install, and can save between £180 and £690 a year on your energy bills, depending on your home. Loft insulation costs up to £890 and can save between £330 and £590 a year.
So what went wrong? In many cases, insulation was put into roof spaces without adequate ventilation causing condensation build up which can rot timbers.
I have even seen it added into homes where slates were missing allowing it to become completely saturated. And because it is so absorbent, many homeowners are blissfully unaware of any problem until it is too late
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Cavity wall insulation issues are even more common. Recently, I spoke to Aydin Sigva at Cavitech about it, a company that specialises in removing failed insulation.
Aydin told me it gets wet if there are gaps in pointing between the bricks or if a gutter leaks for a long time. She pointed out that bricks absorb water and eventually this saturates the insulation leading to damp getting into the house. He explained that this is very common in exposed locations – on top of hills or near the sea
Removing wet insulation is a specialist task and doesn’t come cheap. A cost of around £3,000 is common but leaving it isn’t an option, the dampness can be severe and cause mould and health issues if left.
We shouldn’t avoid insulating our homes, doing so makes them cosier, greener and cheaper to run. But specialist advice should be sought before getting it done to make sure it suits the property.
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Damp and mouldy homes don’t just make life a misery – they put lives at risk. I fear the cost of living crisis is only making this issue more acute. I am seeing more and more cases of this at the moment in properties I am viewing. It is also evident in pictures shared with me by colleagues in the industry. And rain is a massive contributory factor too. This can enter the home through a porous external wall or because of defective guttering or roofing. Once it has penetrated it soaks into insulation and plasterwork.
This is a perfect environment for mould to grow. The UK is experiencing increasing amounts of torrential rainfall so there is little doubt things are likely to get far worse in the future.
Condensation often creates damp as well. We all experience condensation in our homes when cooking or after a shower. Good ventilation is key, because moisture has to be allowed to escape.
Many people don’t ventilate adequately in an effort to preserve warmth in the home. But despite the fact this step is taken with the best of intentions it can actually store up massive problems for the future.
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