Consumer story: Help the elderly come in from the cold during ‘Cold Homes Week’ (2-6 February 2015)

Now that cold, wintry weather is upon us, we can see only too well what hardship older residents may have to contend with if they live in cold housing. Too many of our older citizens still become ill, end up in hospital or meet an untimely end during the winter months.

Although the excess winter deaths occurring in England and Wales has dropped to 18,200 for the 2013-2014 winter period, this figure still shows that 11.6% more people died in the winter months compared with the summer months.

During ‘Cold Homes Week’, the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association, urges relatives to increase the insulation levels of properties which house their elderly relatives to meet today’s thermal insulation standards.

The decreasing number of winter deaths corresponds with the prevalence of better insulated homes in recent years. This does show the huge benefit that properly insulated housing can make. Indeed, it must also have other benefits such as keeping people out of hospital.

It’s not just the elderly who are at risk – people with existing illness can be particularly prone to further ill health when they are living in cold, damp conditions. Homes which are well insulated will be far warmer and retain the heat for longer, resulting in comfortable homes with lower fuel bills.

Spray applied or injected polyurethane foam will provide far better insulation than the equivalent thickness of most insulation materials, whilst stabilising the roof and/or walls.
For superior insulation performance, the foam, spray-applied at rafter level, together with the existing 100mm layer of insulation at joist level, brings the thermal performance right up to today’s stringent standards and even avoids the need to ventilate the roof space.

Injected cavity wall insulation provides an insulating barrier and provides stability to the walls, avoiding the expensive job of replacing wall ties. The foam is also beneficial in hard-to-treat properties which are unsuitable for other materials, or for homes at risk of flooding, where other products might not survive.

To provide reassurance to customers who require injected cavity wall insulation a 25-year BUFCA warranty is available. A list of professional installers is available from www.bufca.co.uk.
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Notes for editors:
1. An estimated 18,200 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales for the 2013-2014 winter period. Whilst this is the lowest rate for many years (since 1950-51), the figure still shows that 11.6% more people died in the winter months compared with the non-winter months. These provisional figures were released by the Office for National Statistics on November 28, 2014.
2. The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association is the trade association representing the sprayed and injected polyurethane foam industry (www.bufca.co.uk).

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