Guest blog: Installing external wall insulation – heating off this summer?

IMG_0873Guest blog by Ms S Bhogal of Iver in Buckinghamshire: In February 2015 Ms Bhogal won a solid wall insulation show home competition promoted by South Bucks District Council. Here she shares her experience of having external wall insulation fitted to her home… “I live with my mother in a house that was built in the 1930’s that has solid walls. Since we moved into our house, I don’t recall ever switching off the heating; the house was always cold in fact I had to increase the number of radiators in the house. There were leaflets distributed in our area regarding solid wall installation. The thought of getting our house warm really interested me on this subject and I investigated further.”

“My research highlighted the dangers of carbon emissions and the impact this is having on our environment. I wanted to bring down my high energy bills and do my part to help reduce the heat loss in my property.

Statistics say that over 40% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions (the main greenhouse gas which causes climate change) actually come from buildings and the things we do at home every day at home, such as wasting energy.

Fully insulating a home really helps. It means the boiler works less hard and less fossil fuel is consumed. It ought to have numerous benefits for my situation:

  • Eliminate condensation and mould issues associated with cold walls in my property
  • Enable me to save on heating bills and beat escalating energy prices
  • Increase comfort for us
  • Help the environment by making our home more energy efficient

My journey started in December 2014 when I first contacted an installer for an evaluation and quote.  I picked up contact details of the assessor from the leaflet and contacted Everwarm for an initial appointment.

IMG_0877After several calls of chasing them for an appointment, finally I got a date after five weeks. After the assessment, it further took me a couple of week before I received my quote that was much higher than the other three quotes I had already received. It included scaffolding for my property, a bungalow; there was no need for it. It was removed when I challenged them and shared the other quotes, so I was glad I took the further three quotes. I received great news on 16th February 2015 that I had won the solid wall installation show home competition that was being carried out in our area. I contacted Everwarm for installation dates and was advised in March that it would start on 21st of April 2015.

I took the first couple of days off and the next week off but they didn’t start until on 23rd April 2015 with a ‘pullout’ test by the installer which took 3 hours. The work started 8 days late; the installers were very friendly and did a great job, but we encountered several problems on our journey. The initial work had to be stopped as the wrong material was delivered and the completed work of the past couple of days had to be redone, thus delaying the project for another couple of weeks.

IMG_0880Once the work stared; Rockwool insulation was glued and nailed them into the walls around the house with plastic cap fittings. Over the next three weeks the installers rendered the house and next it was followed by the primer coat; so far we are at the end of June 2015 and the work has still not completed.

Further frustration was added as the installer had not provided me with a colour chart and this has taken over three weeks. We have finally got the colour right but we received more bad news. Three decorative triangles (9x6ft) on the exterior could not be covered with the external wall installation. A specialist team would have to carry out an assessment and provide me with suggestions. The triangles, I learned, would have to be tackled with internal wall insulation. It’s coming to the end of June 2015 and still I have not received the completion dates for the installation.

Issues:

Communication from the installer was really appalling, and the frustration on the whole projects due to the delays and no clear guidance on commitment dates for this project.

It’s coming to the end of June 2015 and I’m still waiting for the internal wall insulation assessment to be carried out.

Positive outcome:

Still waiting for the final coat of paint to be applied on the property but my property is much much warmer. I used to always have the heating switched on, even in summer, but so far I just put the heating on for an hour or two in the morning and the house feels warm for much of the day. Very pleased with the outcome!

More to come on the internal wall insulation required for the three triangles in my next guest blog…

Note: The Green Deal provider used was Fosters. In their group are solid wall insulation installers Lakehouse and Everwarm. The above views reflect my personal experience of using them.”

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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