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Heat loss & insulation issues

Whether you are managing a commercial or residential property, to ensure efficient air conditioning within a building, you must take care of insulation.

Estimates suggest that about 25 per cent of the heat produced from a boiler will escape through the roof of a property. This wastes money due to inefficiency, but can also cause serious roof damage. Retrofitting an older building to slow the movement of heat can save you (or your business) money on heating bills and prolong the life of your roof.

Identifying the problem

If you have warm spots on your roof due to heat loss, this can cause snow and ice to melt in that area. The melted runoff will refreeze when it comes into contact with a colder portion of the roof, causing an ice dam to form. When melted water backs up with nowhere to escape, it will eventually leak through the shingles, causing water damage and mould problems in the building.

One way to get an accurate view of heat distribution on your roof is to examine it early in the morning on a day when there has been fresh show. Before the sun starts to shine and melt things, take a look and see if you find patches where the snow has melted off.


The easiest way to improve the situation and increase the overall energy efficiency of your commercial or residential property is to add loft insulation. This type of insulation is inexpensive and easy to install, and typically pays for itself in 2 years or less. It is very durable and can last for 40 years or more.

If your loft is easy to access and doesn’t have any moisture or condensation problems, you can buy rolls of mineral wool insulation and install them yourself. Add one layer between all of the joists and then another perpendicular layer covering the joists. Continue the laying process until you have enough in place to be effective. You may want to consult with a professional to determine how much is ideal.

If the loft space is not accessible, you can have a professional install loose insulation with a blower. Mineral wool or cellulose fibre are popular choices for blown insulation, and both have fire retardant properties for added protection.

If your roof is flat, the best solution is to insulate from above. Unfortunately this is a major project that is best undertaken when you are planning to replace your roof. A layer of insulation board can be added on top of the existing weatherproof layer, followed by a new weatherproof layer. It is possible to add insulation below a flat roof, but this can cause condensation issues, so it’s best to get a professional opinion before considering this option.

Ventilating heat out of the loft is also essential. No matter how well insulated your property is, some heat will escape, and you don’t want it to stay trapped up in the roof.

This can lead to condensation issues and can cause the warm spots on the roof and the damage described above. The best solution is usually to add soffit or facia ventilators. You may also need additional ridge ventilators, depending on the configuration of your roof. Consult a roofing professional for the best advice.

Adding insulation to your loft space is a great way to increase your property’s efficiency. In many cases the upfront costs are relatively low, and the additional insulation will soon pay for itself through lower heating bills. You may even be eligible for installation and financing through the Green Deal program.

In addition to the cost savings and increased environmental efficiency, you’ll also get peace of mind. This winter and for many more, you can rest easier knowing that you’ve avoided costly damage to your roof.

For information on how to effectively air condition your commercial or residential property, get in touch with Oxford Air Conditioning today.

Call 01235 524411 or contact us online today.

Categories: Advice