House is freezing cold in winter - what to do?

(9 Posts)
lioncubofcintra Mon 08-Feb-16 16:26:41

My mum's house was built in the 1950s. It's a basic terraced house. About 10 years ago we had central heating installed - before that we had to rely on gas fires and electric heaters to keep warm. Despite having CH, the house is still excessively cold, particularly downstairs. The downstairs rooms and kitchen are so cold, it is uncomfortable to sit in them during winter. The lounge room has a fireplace. It still has an active gas supply connected to it, but the fire never gets used. My mum got it for ornamental purposes. There is a small rectangular hole in the fireplace. If you put the radiator on, the heat simply escapes through the hole and up the chimney. You can also hear the wind coming down through the chimney. The room is simply unusable because it's so cold.

I've talked to my mum about it but she doesn't want the fireplace bricked up. The fire and gas supply would need to be removed and disconnected too, and I'm not sure what that would entail. Are there any other options to keep the heat from escaping up the chimney? I've also asked her if she would consider having wall insulation installed but she doesn't want that either. I'm tired of living in a freezing house, even if my mum is happy to put up with it. Moving out isn't an option for me and won't be for the foreseeable future.

SmallGreenBouncyBall Mon 08-Feb-16 16:34:16

what flooring is there?
double glazed windows?
general draftproofing?
are the radiators working, do they need bleeding?

is the ch running properly? when was it last serviced? ours has a 'summer' (only hot water) and 'winter' (hot water and heating) button.

bilbodog Mon 08-Feb-16 18:05:26

You can get chimney balloons to block unused chimneys which might help. Do you have draft proofing around front and back doors? Does your mother keep the central heating thermostat on low to save money - my mother used to do this when I complained her house was cold - when she died my dad just turned up the controls when he was cold and the house was toasty warm!!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 08-Feb-16 18:11:03

You don't need to buy a chimney balloon - a plastic bag stuffed with other plastic bags will do exactly the same job.
Draft excluding, thick curtains, loft insulation are all easy wins.

PolterGoose Mon 08-Feb-16 18:14:14

Double glazing?
Carpets?
Thick curtains?

I suspect you won't be able to block the chimney with a gas fire in situ.

How often is the heating on and at what temp?
Is there a room thermostat?
Radiator thermostats?

Is it a concrete panel type house?

LisaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Feb-16 18:14:29

I have to say underfloor heating is amazing too. It's not expensive to instal or run and our icebox kitchen, which is right next door to a glass conservatory, is toasty warm all winter long. It's also great for drying clothes - so that removes any guilt factor over using it as they dry in just one day.

lioncubofcintra Mon 08-Feb-16 19:20:52

I'm sure the windows are all double glazed. Upstairs is carpeted, but downstairs isn't. The kitchen and hallway have tiled floors, the front room and living room both have laminate floors. There are curtains in all rooms except the one with the fireplace. There is a thermostat upstairs which controls the heating for the whole house. The individual rooms don't have thermostats. The radiators also don't have thermostats. I think the radiators were bled about three years ago. They are all working. The boiler is 10 years old and gets serviced regularly.

I usually have the target temperature on the thermostat set to 23C. The problem is that it only monitors the upstairs temperature. When it gets to 23C upstairs it switches the heating off in the whole house. It's much colder downstairs.

specialsubject Mon 08-Feb-16 19:32:30

the gas point only needs capping. The bin-liner with an old pillow is the classic solution to stop the heat rising.

you need TRVs on the radiators and to bleed them a bit more often than every 3 years.

BTW drying clothes indoors....2 litres of water per wash load straight into the house. Avoid whenever possible.

PolterGoose Mon 08-Feb-16 19:34:57

The main heating thermostat should be moved downstairs. Heat rises, and upstairs won't have doors being opened and suchlike messing with the temperature! Decent underlay with carpet would probably be warmer.

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