Wrap your home up warm for winter

2011: August

Sometimes it feels like a conspiracy to wish the summer away. The fashion mags are talking about autumn collections, department stores are doing “Back to School” deals,  and now Sustainable Witney is blogging about insulation. But if you can bear reading on, we’ll explain why now is the perfect time to get it sorted. 

Ever feel as if you pay your taxes but don’t get your money’s worth?  The Cocoon scheme is one way for homeowners to get a significant benefit from central government and your local council. Central government, working with energy companies, heavily subsidises insulation work through Cocoon. This subsidy gets a generous top-up from West Oxfordshire District Council and the result is that you pay just £99 for loft or cavity wall insulation. Given that this kind of work can often run into hundreds of pounds, that represents a huge saving for the homeowner.

I used the scheme last summer to get both loft and cavity wall insulation fitted. The process was pretty simple. I rang Cocoon on [number removed because the scheme has ended since this post was published] and was given details of four companies participating in the deal: InstaGroup, Dyson, Miller Pattison and Green Puzzle . Since then, Carillion has also become a participating company. I chose InstaGroup, so Cocoon gave them my contact details for arranging an initial (free, no-obligation) survey.

The £99 deal is based on the assumption that it’s a straightforward job; if there are any tricky issues with your home requiring, for example, extra vents in the attic, there may be an extra charge. The free no-obligation survey allows you (and the company) to find out if this is the case before any work is done. You’re also allowed to have the free survey done by one participating company and then choose another to do the actual work; that’s what no-obligation means, after all. 

Our survey showed that there would be no problems with either the loft or the wall cavities, so InstaGroup confirmed it would be £99 for each job, £198 in total, and agreed to contact me with a date for the work. 

The workmen for both loft and cavity wall insulation turned up on the agreed date and carried out the work with no problems at all. They were efficient and friendly, and took the time to answer my questions about what they were doing. When the work was completed, they gave me two certificates confirming that each job had been done. 

Would I recommend it? Yes. I would also recommend moving as quickly as possible. The coming winter is likely to be the final winter for the scheme, as central government looks at withdrawing its subsidy. 

Non-subsidised insulation prices would be about £270 to lay loft insulation from scratch and about £520 for cavity wall insulation in a 3-bed semi. The £99 deal is even more of a bargain in that context. 

So if you want to get your home wrapped up warm for winter, ring Cocoon as soon as you can. Once that’s sorted, you can get back to enjoying the lovely British summer.