Buying big drafty house- any tips to economise heating please?

(22 Posts)
Lovepancakes Sat 11-Jan-14 21:14:02

It is currently gas heating and I'm already worried but then oil costs so much too. Apart from wearing jumpers, has anyone had brilliant heating solutions? It's a beautiful old house but with huge windows. Would insulating the loft for example even help?
Thanks if anyone has ideas or experience. I'm sure we'd toughen up a bit too

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jan-14 21:20:17

of course insulating the loft will help.

how old is it? What sort of windows? Does it have bare floorboards? open fireplaces?

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 11-Jan-14 21:20:33

very thick, lined, heavy weight curtains will help. My parents always had that sort of draylon velvety stuff and it was really good at keeping out draughts. don't forget about draught excluders - people tend not to use them now but they are very good, easy to make your own as well.

Mum2Fergus Sat 11-Jan-14 21:23:00

Insulate, insulate, insulate! Loft is an absolute must in my opinion!

Seal up and gaps in doors and windows.

Keep doors closed.

Curtains at external doors.

If you have curtains, line/interline them (I used throws from Ikea, much cheapness grin ).

I'm sealing floorboards as and when carpets are being renewed.

EeyoreIsh Sat 11-Jan-14 21:25:19

We've made a big difference to our draughty house since last winter, by doing the following:

- ensuring all windows have well fitting, thermal lined, curtains
- insulating the loft (made a massive difference!)
- draught proofing windows
- draught proofing all gaps, e.g. letterbox, key hole, cat flap!
- replacing old single radiators with new double convector radiators.
- being super strict about keeping doors to rooms shut.
- adding stop gap between floorboards (some will suggest you insulate under them, we didn't have the energy!)
- where we've had new carpets fitted, we've put good quality thick underlay down.

Hope this helps!

HappyAsEyeAm Sat 11-Jan-14 21:32:35

We bought our house three and a half years ago. DH and I are used to old houses, but dear god, this one is cold and draughty. We have insulated our loft and draught proofed all doors as best we can whilst still getting them to close, put heavy curtains etc. but we are now resigned to installing timber double lazing at a cost of £47K (lots of big windows). Ouch. It is a huge expense but it will make the biggest difference.

Lovepancakes Sat 11-Jan-14 21:32:50

This is all super helpful, thank you! DH and I love the idea of draught proofing the key hole, would simply never have occurred to me and made me smile.

What a good idea to have a curtain over external doors and so many good things to think about here. We'll have the summer there first hopefully to get prepared!

Lovepancakes Sat 11-Jan-14 21:35:00

It is over 200 years old. Bare floorboards mostly and windows almost down to the floor. There is an open fire and a wood burner .

May09Bump Sat 11-Jan-14 21:42:11

Next do thermal lined & blackout lined curtains. They are not mega thick and I think are reasonable in price. We just got children's ones for my sons room and it has made a huge difference. Also when ordering, if going above radiators order a bit longer and took them behind the radiator - so heat is in the room rater than going behind the curtain and through window.

CodandLobster Sat 11-Jan-14 21:50:18

Our house had very similar problems.

The 2 things that made the biggest difference for us were:

-secondary glazing to the inside of all the windows ( keeps out the noise too)

-changing the old radiators to simple but efficient modern radiators.

Our house has gone from being really cold to lovely and warm!

ethelb Sat 11-Jan-14 21:59:35

Consider long interlined curtains with thermal lining on windows and over doors. Draught excluders on doors make a big difference to.

SuckItAndSee Sat 11-Jan-14 22:02:42

don't have bare floorboards
we had bare boards in the dining room of our draughty old house. We've put a good-quality laminate over the top now, and it's miles warmer.

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jan-14 22:15:03

bare floorboards are very cold and draughty. An old house will have square-edged board which are worse than T&G, probably very gappy. You can pack mineral wool quilt between the joists which will add insulation and block the draughts. Unless for some reason you have to take up the floorboards, you will fit it from underneath which may be cramped and dirty. Some older houses have a cellar or good crawl space which makes it easier. Insulate all underfloor pipes at the same time; clean out airbricks or fit new, clear away all rubbish especially timber scraps which encourage rot. This is also a good time to run any underfloor cables for sockets, aerials, phone, broadband or burglar alarm.

Lovepancakes Sat 11-Jan-14 22:21:46

Codandlobster that is interesting. I don't know how we'd double glaze though as the house is listed and will that stop us? Presumably we could even just do one or two most important rooms like children's bedroom?

I don't think we'd laminate the floors as simply loved them but may change our minds after a few frosty days...

It's quite uplifting so much we can do to help if we focus on it. Thank you all!

Lovepancakes Sat 11-Jan-14 22:25:48

pigletjohn I'm very impressed by your grasp on this! Will look into all this when we're at that stage so thank you. I have a feeling we might be able to do what you suggest from the basement/cellar area as could see the rafters or whatever the wooden bits are called

MummytoMog Sat 11-Jan-14 22:38:44

Yes yes to the big giant curtains made of velvet and lined (with wool or fleece). We have the best velvet curtains ever that a friend's mother gave us, and she had them from the seventies. They are amazingly insulating in the baby's room. We also had shutters fitted and close them religiously at dusk. Looks lovely and really keeps the heat in (but were £££ from Thomas Sanderson). Get a woodburner. Just looking at it will make you feel warmer. Also a number of cats.

Be selective. The rooms that don't really need heating (spare room, for example), turn off radiators and shut the doors. Use woodburner if you have one to heat one room in the evenings. Buy onesies.

(and definitely curtains over doors, and interlining)

ancientbuchanan Sat 11-Jan-14 23:07:20

Curtains over doors. Think about a curtain at the top of the stairs. Sounds odd, but heat rises and your upstairs may be warmer any way.

Dont forget you can I think still get grants for insulation.

If you have an open fireplace that you don't intend to use often but want to keep , put a Victorian style fire screen in front of it.

Put reflector paper behind the radiators.

Pull curtains at dusk. Internal shutters are magic, with a curtain over them.

Yrs yes yes to draught excluders.

Hot water bottles or electric blankets.

Jerseys in the house.

Thermal undies.

Bed socks.

I'm serious about all of the last ones as well as the former. It's how our ancestors lived and indeed many of us were brought up until recently.

OliviaBenson Sun 12-Jan-14 09:01:03

If your listed you'll need consent to double glaze the windows. To be honest, we've just put slimline double glazed units in our house (not listed) and its not made a huge difference (certainly not to the tube of £47k!) All our windows are draftstripped and that's made a big difference.

thermal line and interlining curtains has, as well as insulating the loft. We also put a new boiler in.

PigletJohn Sun 12-Jan-14 09:16:13

A listed building can have secondary glazing. It makes a big difference and also cuts noise. It need not be visually intrusive, and if you have net curtains it can be invisible.

It's true that even if replacement windows are permitted, they are so expensive that they never actually get a payback from fuel saving. However if and when your windows are so rotten that they cannot be repaired and must be replaced, it is worth getting good a performing ones.

Payback is fastest from draughtproofing and insulation.

An old house will have solid walls so no CWI but you can apply insulated slabs to the inside of external walls, or at greater cost, to the outside of the house, but it has to be rendered or clad e.g. a tile-hung or weatherboarded wall, but this is not often practical or permitted unless your house is already built that way.

OliviaBenson Sun 12-Jan-14 09:20:07

Gah, apologies for all the autocorrect and spelling mistakes!

I think SPAB has information about making thermal improvements to old houses.

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