The best flooring to help reduce energy bills

The best flooring to help reduce energy bills

With energy prices skyrocketing, many Brits are concerned about the increasing price of goods and want to know how to lower household costs.

As carpet and flooring specialists, we wanted to share our inside knowledge on some of the ways your flooring can be the key to keeping your energy bills down. We also teamed up with Gary Cowley, Sales Director at Interfloor, to reveal the best flooring to invest in to help keep the heat in, and reduce your energy bills in the process.

What is the best flooring type to retain heat?

You may not know that 10-20% of heat loss occurs through the floor, so the type of flooring you have can make a crucial difference in how much heat loss you experience.

We know that the best type of flooring to reduce energy costs is carpet; it’s an excellent, natural source of insulation, which can save money on your energy bill by increasing your home’s ability to retain warmth.

How does carpet keep heat in?

Carpet fibres help to trap cold air, preventing the coolness from permeating your space. This, in return, helps reduce energy bills by stopping you from reaching for the heating! The thicker the carpet, and therefore the more fibres it has, the greater the thermal insulation. You can find out more ways to reduce heat loss through your floor, with our handy guide.

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What type of carpet is best for keeping the heat in?

Wool carpet is the most effective thermal insulator because wool fibres not only retain their pile height for longer (which is a key factor in retaining insulation) but also feel much warmer and comfier underfoot than other flooring types, helping to make you actually feel cosier too. Because it's so warm, it's a great option to make your bedroom feel cosy.

Carpets trap air just above their surface, which reduces draughts and makes you feel warmer than you would if you were stepping on concrete, wooden or vinyl floor. This helps to reduce energy bills, as you may be swayed to turn off the heating!

It’s important to note that you’ll get the most benefit if more rooms in your home are carpeted. Although there are a few rooms where carpet may not be wanted (in the kitchen or bathroom!), the more carpet in the home, the more effective it will be.

So how do you pick between different carpet types and underlays to enjoy the positive impact on your energy bills?

How do carpet R-ratings affect heat retention?

When we talk about R-ratings, we’re talking about the measure of insulation that a carpet has – the higher the rating, the higher the insulation level. You can find out more about this in our 'What is carpet' guide. In fact, in a recent study, carpet was found to have an R-rating of 0.18, whereas plywood has a rating of 0.08, and concrete 0.07.

For context, at Tapi we use a 'TOG Rating' - 1 TOG = 0.1 R-value

Gary Cowley confirms that: “Concrete and plywood floors draw heat out of a room, so avoid these if you want to reduce your energy bills and keep heating costs low.

How do different underlays affect heat retention?

As well as considering your visible flooring, you should also look at carpet underlay too – Gary says: “Quality, thick underlay will provide a protective barrier against draughts. High tog rated underlay will stop the heat escaping through a floor, as well as provide exceptional comfort under the carpet.”

For the rooms that you’re unable to carpet, you can add an underlay to help keep heat in. Vinyl floors don’t need an underlay as they already have a base layer, so are often the best choice for your bathrooms or kitchens.

How much money can you expect to save from better flooring?

Gary Cowley, Sales Director at Interfloor, has worked in the industry for several years and, with his expertise, estimates that carpet and underlay could reduce energy costs by as much as 15%.

According to another study we consulted, the temperature of rooms with textile floor coverings is approximately 1-2 degrees higher than an equivalent room with hard floor coverings, which can bring about an estimated savings of between 8-13%. So, it’s worth considering for long-term financial savings!

Johanna Constantinou, Brand and Communications Director at Tapi, commented that: “With energy bills increasing, many Brits will no doubt be worrying about what this means for them and maybe start looking for options to help keep costs down. Choosing the right flooring is one of the best ways to help reduce your energy bills, as an insulated floor will make you feel so much warmer in your home and help reduce draughts too. This is important, especially with the uncertainty of energy prices as we look to the future.”

For further tips on looking after your carpet and ensuring its longevity for the winter months later this year, check out our carpet care guide. Alternatively, come to your local Tapi store to see the different carpet options we have in stock.

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