This week, longstanding Friends of the Earth and Green Centre member Chris Burton notes an excellent indicator of how your insulation is working.
At this time of the year my attention is often given to the amount of snow on the roofs around the Port Erin village. This is a very good way of finding out if you have adequate insulation levels in your loft space.
If your house is free of snow but your neighbours are holding snow then there is a good chance that your house is deficient in insulation.
The current recommended minimum for insulation is 270mm (or 10.6 inches) of rock wool type insulation. It is perhaps the easiest area to insulate, and can be done yourself for about between £100 and £350 - and its payback could be as low as two years.
One of the most common enquiries to the Manx Energy Advice Centre at the Green Centre is from people trying to keep the house warm. People want to fit bigger boilers, wood burners, heat pumps and all manner of solar heating systems, but when you ask them how much energy they are using at present they report huge outgoings of energy - and as such, money.
Our return is often to start at first principles and get the basics right from the outset: so the discussion often goes along these lines. “How much insulation have you in the loft? How old is the property? and what is it constructed of?”.
Some people tell us they are in a relatively newly built property, where insulation should be top notch - so it is not worth looking.
I have lost count of the people who come in the next week to tell me they did not have enough insulation in the loft, even on a new build.
Think of insulation as a blanket keeping the warm in and the cold out - it’s worth doing. So go on, next time it snows or is frosty, nip out and have a look at your roof in comparison to other roofs in the area. If your roof is free of snow or frost, how about a trip to the nearest building supplier?
• The Manx Energy Advice Centre is at the Green Centre, Market Street, Douglas and its open for advice on every Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.