Practical advice: park home insulation
Don’t get cold feet!
When winter comes around, owners of older park homes may complain of cold feet caused by nippy air rising through the floor. Now might be time to consider having underfloor insulation installed.
During the balmy autumn months, cold floors and chilly feet are the last thing on your mind. But when the temperature drops outside, owners of older park homes may find themselves noticing uncomfortable draughts creeping in at floor level. It’s the last thing you want when you settle down for an evening in front of the television.
Of course, you can turn the thermostat up on the heating.
That might not compensate for the chilly air rising – but it will increase your fuel bills.
Specialist company Park Home Insulations estimates a third of all park home heat loss is through the floor of the property, so it is clearly something to be tackled.
Why does heat escape?
Park homes are raised off the ground and air circulates underneath. This is important for health and safety reasons, but due to the way park homes are constructed there are opportunities for the cold air to get into your home, through the floorboards, by pipework and around the edges of the home.
New park homes are insulated to a high standard but it’s worth bearing in mind that, over time, insulation fitted at the manufacturing stage can deteriorate, as in a home of any type, reducing effectiveness.
And in older park homes, which may have been manufactured to lower insulation standards, you could be spending more than you need to on your energy bills and struggling to keep your home warm.
The answer is to have underfloor insulation installed. There are plenty of options available but it’s important to make the right choice and avoid your purchase turning into an expensive mistake.
Why should I insulate my park home?
Insulating your park home is not cheap, but it brings a host of long-term benefits that will both improve your quality of life and save you cash. And it is just as important for the underfloor area of the park home to be insulated as well as the walls.
The obvious first benefit is it will make your park home warmer in winter. A park home without good underfloor insulation can lose heat quickly, with temperatures dropping within minutes of the heating being switched off.
Keeping your home at a constant warm temperature prevents condensation and thus deters the build-up of damp, mould and mildew. Not only is it good for your home, but it’s good for your well-being. That’s the same for a home of any type of construction, of course.
With heat trapped inside your home by good insulation, your boiler doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature at a comfortable level, which, in turn, lowers your energy bills.
You can switch your heating off earlier without the temperature instantly plunging, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds. And, of course, using less energy is good for the environment as well as your wallet.
How does it work?
Different companies use different systems, so search around for the one that best suits your needs – and your budget.
For example, Devon-based Insulated Homes Ltd carries out a full survey of your park home, before installing a breathable, insulated foil blanket under your home. The system features a 40mm-thick quilted material, consisting of aluminium foil, wadding and high-density foam.
The quilt is fixed directly to the joists under your home and any gaps around pipes are tightly sealed with insulating tape. The insulation is completely removable and does not require any changes to pipes, cables and underfloor areas.
Caravan Underfloor Insulation, in Lincolnshire, uses a four-layer thick foil, bubble and thermal insulation system. The double bubbles form an insulation barrier, trapping air within its structure.
Aluminium foil creates a waterproof insulation, reflecting heat trying to escape from the home back up through the floor, as well as preventing cold air from the underfloor area penetrating.
Another, different, example is Park Home Chassis Services’ SnuggerFLOOR – a fully bonded and sealed underfloor insulation system, providing a complete fixed layer under the home to eliminate air gaps and draughts.
It meets all health and safety requirements, including the 25mm gap between the base of the home and skirting. This allows air to flow freely in the floor space and leaves air vents unblocked, eliminating a potential cause of condensation build-up.
It’s important that you continue to have full access to pipes and wiring below the floor. Some systems use spray foam directly onto the underside of the home which inevitably seals all the pipes and wiring, preventing any future access.
Things to consider
Before you start, check with the park owners that any work you want to do is allowed under your agreement. It’s also recommended that you appoint a surveyor to make sure your home
is suitable for the work and that there are no major issues that need to be addressed.
Grant funding might be available to help pay for some improvements so check with your local authority on what you might be entitled to and ask the installation companies if they can help you to apply for funding.
Whichever approach you go for, the result should be a cosier home. Before you know it, you will be kicking off those slippers!