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Insulating Your Bulgarian Home

Winter has a nasty habit of highlighting the faults in your home that summer conceals; the frozen pipes, damp and the fact that you can now see your breath icing over as you hunt for the matches to light the wood-burner. Even if you only use your home for holidays in the warmer months you may find that after one harsh winter, the holiday home you bought last summer is no longer all that it appeared to be. In Bulgarian builds one of the greatest issues is the lack of insulation. Many houses are built without it and when you view such properties during the heat of the summer months, insulation is the last thing on your mind. If your property has not been insulated, then don’t despair, it is easily remedied and for a lot less than in the UK.

What is thermal insulation?

It all sounds very complicated, all of this talk about thermal insulation, but all it means is any material or processes that can decrease the rate of heat transfer. There are three ways that heat can be transferred; by conduction, convection or by radiation, but this is really getting technical. The simplest way to describe the process is that the flow of heat occurs naturally from warmer spaces to cooler spaces. In winter, it flows straight from your heated rooms to the outside of your home or to areas of the house that are uninhabited like the loft, garage or basement because here there is a big difference in temperature. In summer the reverse occurs; heat travels from the outside to inside your home. Our way of dealing with the different flows in heat is to put the fire on in winter and the air con in summer. If you insulate your home you will save a lot of money on energy bills and repairs and in this day and age, a little money invested now will create massive savings later on.

The benefits of insulating your home

Simply heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately 50 to 70% of the energy used in the typical home and a lack of insulation and air seepage are the leading culprits in the  war on wasted energy. The fact is that insulation will save you money and if you visit in winter or live here all year round, it will make your home a lot more comfortable – for a start off you will not be freezing when you get out of bed in the morning, nor will you be sweltering in the heat when you visit in summer, you see the greatest benefit of insulation is the fact that it will make your house cooler during the summer as well as warm and snug in the winter.

It is difficult to say exactly how much energy you will save because some of this depends on where in Bulgaria you live (compare the difference in climate between the mountains and the coast for example), the size and type of house you live in and the amount of fuel you use according to the living habits of those who live there. One thing is certain you will save money especially as energy bills are likely to rise each year.



External insulation

One of the most effective ways to add instant insulation is to figuratively wrap your house in a blanket. There are a variety of materials that allow you to do this in Bulgaria, but by far the most common is by using polystyrene panels and affixing them to the exterior of your house. The panels can be bought from any builders merchant and they come in a variety of thicknesses. Generally they measure 100 cm x 50 cm and there are around 13 in a pack costing 3.00 1v. per sq m for a thickness of 3 cm. It is worth noting that the thicker the panel, the better the insulation. The polystyrene sheets are easy to attach to any type of external structure. They can also be cut to size to fill gaps. Attaching them to the wall is similar to tiling a bathroom; they are affixed with blobs of cement one on top of the other. To further hold them in place, circular, plastic clips are screwed into each panel. Once a section of the house has been covered you can get on with plastering over the panels. This job is best left to a skilled plasterer, but it is done by attaching a fine mesh over the panel and then skimming over it. Once this is complete across the whole house and the plaster has had several days to dry out, you can add more insulation by rendering the house or if you wish to save on costs, you can simply paint over the plaster with an exterior paint.

It’s child’s play

You don’t have to be a skilled builder to attach the insulation panels to your home although you will need to invest in a few tools like a hand whisk to mix the plaster and some scaffold for the higher parts. There are many companies and individuals who can do the job for you if you don’t want to tackle the job yourself. One thing is certain with this work, the effects are instant particularly if your house has been like an ice box during the winter!