So the new house is lovely now that it’s the middle of summer in Dublin, but the surveyor warned us that there was “basically no insulation whatsoever”! He hinted that we “might want to get it looked at” before the colder days set in. We needed to quickly warm the house up and improve our BER rating which was originally E2 – which is pretty terrible. That sounds like a good place to start works on immediately.

Original E2 BER rating

There are plenty of contractors around the country who will give free home energy surveys. We went with a crowd called Complete Insulations who are based out in Lusk. They recommended three things to make the house warmer and more efficient.

1. Insulate the attic

The attic is an easy one – it’ll cost you around €500 to line an attic of around 65 sqm (700 sqft) with 300mm rockwool.

2. Insulate the walls

This depends on the type of walls you have, but we opted for internal dry lining. This means that you stick a big thick insulated board (80mm) on the inside of the walls and then plaster over the top of them. You lose a few inches inside the room, but it will be toasty and you’ll be left with a nice smooth wall to paint. We are in a semi-detached house and this work cost around €8k.

3. Replace the boiler

This is where things can get hairy. If you have nice new-ish radiators and pipes you’ll get a nice new boiler and change from €5k. However, because our house was built in 1955, the radiators are crap and most of the pipes are made from gun barrel metal. This tends to corrode after 20 years and will ruin a new boiler pretty quickly.


Our original decision was to postpone this work for now and just insulate the attic and walls. Sounds good… until the boiler blew up on the last day of works.


Another €8k for new boiler, radiators and pipes. Something very un-Irish that we decided to do along the way was to get rid of the immersion tank completely! We have gone with a boiler that heats the water on-demand as you use it – a Worcester 30si if you’re interested.

So after just doing the attic and walls insulation, our BER jumped to a D2. That gave us a 27% reduction in CO2 per year by itself. Once we had done the boiler work and been reassessed, we jumped again to C3 – this means by doing the insulation and the boiler work we reduced our CO2 output by 41% in total.

All of the work above qualified for grants and tax relief which you can read about here.

– Seán

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