Insulation issues in new build home

Panda126
Panda126 Posts: 49
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Hi everyone, some time ago I raised an issue about our electric radiators as we were not able to keep our new house warm.

We did a couple of tests, and we figured out that there might be another issue which is the insulation.

Our house is losing heat ridiculously fast, for example we can heat up a room up to 20C. The moment we turn off the radiators our temperature starts to drop. We calculated that it is dropping by 0.5C every 20-25 minutes. And with the radiators off the temperature will keep dropping constantly (the lowest we saw so far was about 6C – yes, 6C inside the house with all doors, windows and vents closed)

As you can imagine our bills are very high, and this is with living in a house that is never warm no matter how much we spend on heating.

As it’s a new build house, built last year we never expected anything like this.

We contacted developer who can’t see any issue and told us the house is well insulated.

We continued to look closer at the issue. We invested in Topdon TC005 thermal camera, and what we saw shocked us.

It seems that we have a lot of cold spots in the house which from my understanding might suggest poor insulation, or no insulation at all. All outside walls seems to be very cold (they’re super cold when we touch them as well) but there’s a lot of cold spots in the ceilings as well.

I’m attaching photo of some examples of the cold spots we located in our house.

Does anyone have any experience with poor insulation in new build houses? Can someone advise me if we’re right thinking that the insulation is an issue in our home?



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Comments

  • zxzxzx
    zxzxzx Posts: 12
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    Are those windows double glazed??

    Might be a good idea to put some standard photos up to give perspective of what else we are looking at?
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,738
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    Presumably they are panel heaters using daytime electricity?
    Unfortunately nothing is more expensive to run.
    Why wasn't this flagged up during the buying process?
  • Netexporter
    Netexporter Posts: 1,032
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    Some exterior infra-red shots would be useful, too. Ideal weather for it!
  • Panda126
    Panda126 Posts: 49
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    Yes windows are double glazed. 

    First photo shows ceiling in the room where the window is. Next three photos shows area where the windows are.
    Next two photos shows wall behind the toilet. And rest of the photos shows the ceiling. (ground floor)

    Yes we have panel heaters. We've been told we're buying eco-friendly comfortable home.


  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 5,001
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    Would those blue cold patches really make that much difference though?
  • Magnitio
    Magnitio Posts: 878
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    I've heard of a number of issues near where I live with new builds. The worst had no loft insulation at all as it had somehow been forgotten. Typical issues are that the loft insulation doesn't go to the edges of the property (the difficult bits), missing around ceiling vents (which might be an issue shown in your photo), poor insulation around windows (also shown in your photo) and missing wall insulation (where they have run out or couldn't be bothered to put it in). The corners of rooms will often appear to be cold as warm air doesn't easily circulate into corners, but it can also be a sign that the insulation doesn't join up where the walls meet. You could try to get an independent expert in to examine the property and produce a report, but it is best to get the developer to agree that they will act on any of the findings.
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  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,248
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    Panda126 said: Our house is losing heat ridiculously fast, for example we can heat up a room up to 20C. The moment we turn off the radiators our temperature starts to drop. We calculated that it is dropping by 0.5C every 20-25 minutes.
    For a new build, that is terrible and more than twice the temperature drop I get in a late 1920s semi. Last night, the temperature outside was around -1°C, and I experienced a drop of about 0.39°C per hour (went from 20.5°C to17.8°C in 7 hours).
    With a 1°C/hr drop, I'd be having some very stern words with the developer, and if no action on their part, looking at legal action. If the developer tries to deny a problem exists, get a professional thermographic survey done to pinpoint the cold spots and use that to beat the developers around the head. Whilst your thermal images demonstrate that there appears to be a problem, a report from a qualified/certified expert carries much more weight (important when it goes to court).
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  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,738
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    Panda126 said:
    Yes we have panel heaters.
    The cheapest to buy, but the most expensive to run.
    Panda126 said:
    We've been told we're buying eco-friendly comfortable home.
    Just spin from a cheapskate builder.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    Our house is losing heat ridiculously fast, for example we can heat up a room up to 20C. The moment we turn off the radiators our temperature starts to drop. We calculated that it is dropping by 0.5C every 20-25 minutes. And with the radiators off the temperature will keep dropping constantly (the lowest we saw so far was about 6C – yes, 6C inside the house with all doors, windows and vents closed)
    Just to say, this is not in and of itself a sure-fire sign of a poorly-insulated house. It's a sign of a structure with low heat capacity (or, put another way, low thermal mass).
    If you have a lightweight timber-framed house, for example, the materials of construction it will hold less heat than a conventional heavyweight brick-built house. The flip-side is that it will also take much less time to warm up.
    My house is brick-built and (in the current weather) it loses about 0.2 degrees per hour overnight. When my gas boiler fires up in the morning, my house then warms at about 0.5 degrees per hour; it takes about four hours to warm back up to the thermostat set point.
    How quickly does your house warm up again when you turn the heating back on?
    In your previous thread you said you were using about 70kWh/day. Are you still using the same amount now? And between what times are you running your heaters? This will give us an idea of your average rate of heat loss.
    Some exterior infra-red shots would be useful, too. Ideal weather for it!
    Agreed. Photos of the outside of the house will be much more useful for finding any areas of poor insulation. They will be particularly clear during the current cold snap.


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  • Panda126
    Panda126 Posts: 49
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    Our house is built of brick and block. We have internal walls built of block as well, that's downstairs and upstairs the internal walls are made of metal frame. 
    As for your question how fast we can warm up the space - it's difficult to answer. We have an open plan downstairs with two radiators and if we close the door we can heat it up very quick. Probably as quick as the temperature drops. However, there's no chance to heat up the rest of the house. We gave up on utility where I included the photos of thermal camera with cold spots. It would never heat up, and if it does it'll drop to 12-14C again ridiculously fast. 
    This morning at 8.30am I had 15C in my office downstairs, I closed all doors and put the heater on 20C. This is a very small room and reached almost 18C at around 10am. 
    Room upstairs takes ages to reach comfortable temperature (19C) but don't think there's any chance to reach this temperature with this weather without spending fortune and having radiators on 24h and our master bedroom can have heating on 24h and would never reach 19. The room above garage is the coldest one. 
    We still use around 70kwh a day.
    We have the heaters on all the time. We just adjust the temperature. We usually set 17C for the night except the room where we sleep. We work from home so during the day we set higher temperatures in the room where we work and 18C in the other rooms. I usually give it a blast at 20C in the morning but it won't make any difference as the temperature drops too fast. 
    We tried to set it on timing, so we had the radiators turning on for 2h every 2-3h and we had them for about 6h off at night but the temperature in our bedrooms upstairs was 10C so we stopped and we just set the minimum temperature now.
    As for the thermal inspection we are going to book it asap.
    We'll also try to use the camera outside tomorrow morning to see if we can spot anything.

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