Many homes in Bruton, Ansford and Castle Cary were constructed between 1930 and the mid-1990s. Homes of this era tend to have cavity walls. Across the UK many homes of this period have had their cavity walls and lofts insulated under various government schemes. Locally this is less often the case, even though survey and installation can be arranged free of charge for those on benefits and/or low incomes. If your house has uninsulated cavity walls or its loft is uninsulated, you are wasting money by heating the street.
Because this is such a quick win, Retrofit Bruton and Cary plan to do house to house visits in the estates that were built in this period in early 2022, to explain the benefits, and how to get help with the cost. At the moment the government is offering up to £10,000 of assistance with better insulation and heating absolutely free, to households which meet certain conditions (read more here).
We are starting our house to house visits at Westfield in Bruton, where it seems that less than half the houses have cavity wall insulation.
How to tell if you have cavity walls
Unless the wall is covered with render, this is easy to tell from the brickwork. Solid wall houses have bricks laid in alternating patterns, cavity walls always have them laid lengthways. Some houses built in the 30s have a mix of both types of construction (houses in Burrowfield in Bruton are built in this way). Houses built after the mid-90s tend to have cavity wall insulation as part of their construction.
Cavity wall insulation
Cavity walls are insulated by injecting the insulation from the outside. Foam often used to be used, but nowadays small granules are more popular and effective. You should be able to tell if your home has already had its cavity wall insulated, because the sealed drill holes will be visible on the outside of the building.
The process is quick and cheap, but needs to be undertaken by a qualified contractor. The Centre for Sustainable Energy reported in 2019 that for an average 3-bed semi, installation will cost £500, and the bill savings will be £190 per year for a home heated by gas (larger savings if the heating is electric or oil).
It is important that the work is undertaken following a whole-house condition survey and retrofit paln. This is to ensure that the additional insulation does not bring other problems. Both our retrofit scheme (for those who are able to pay) and the scheme for qualifying households being run on behalf of the government start with a full survey.
Read more about Cavity Wall Insulation from the Centre for Sustainable Energy.