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Keeping the house warm

(30 Posts)
pettyprudence Thu 11-Oct-12 12:54:02

Not sure if this is best place to ask....

Thanks to mn this year I have finally got round to putting foamy thingies around my outside doors, fitted brushes to the bottom of doors and letter box, made some snakes and put foil down the back of my radiators.

After lunch I am going to Ikea for thick material and fleeces to line existing curtains and make a new heavy curtain to go across front door.

What have I missed? Im lucky to be in a fairly modern, double glazed house (except front and back doors) but I still feel i could do more to keep the house toasty warm and minimise my heating bills. I'm in rented accom though so limited in what I can do (ie small things, no replacing central heating!)

Also any ideas on how to make a cat-flap more draft proof?

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 19:25:13

have you got a hot-water cylinder? what colour is it?

Have you got a loft? climb up and see how thick the insulation is (it will probably be betwee for inches and ten inches). Can you see gaps anywhere except round the eaves?

The foam draught excluders are not much good, look out for E-section and P-section EDM strips. You may find they are subsidied under one of the energy saving schemes. They stick much better if you clean the surface very very thoroughly and allow to dry first.

Look for a portière rod which a wierd sort of hinged and sliding curtain pole that fixes to a door and opens with it.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 20:04:59


Inneedofbrandy Thu 11-Oct-12 20:07:24

Ooh marking place..

pettyprudence Thu 11-Oct-12 21:09:27

No I dont have a hot water tank, I have a combi boiler that is older than my house hmm. I have tried turning the radiators down but they only seem to work when on full blast....

dikkertjedap Thu 11-Oct-12 21:09:37

For during the night, you could use hot water bottles so you can keep the heating a bit lower or alternatively electric blankets (not for kids obviously) but you could put a woollen blanket on top of the mattress and then put the sheet for extra warmth.

Also, warm slippers, warm socks, warm jumpers for everybody in the home. Extra rug on the floor (ground floor) may help as well. Nice plaids for sofas.

Don't forget to air your home regularly. Air naturally gets moist from our breathing, cooking, laundry etc. and moist air takes longer to heat up. I would try not to hang any laundry on the radiators but hang it outside if at all possible and when still slightly damp iron it dry.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 11-Oct-12 21:12:31

It can cause problems turning all radiators down. Can I suggest leaving one large one fully open. I second the need to ventilate regularly or you'll get mould. Open a window for an hour after a bath/ shower, leave one open a bit when you have wet laundry drying and open bedroom windows a bit each am.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Oct-12 21:24:13

and the loft?

if the radiators have numbers that show through a cutout, or against an arrow, they will be thermostatic.

You can turn down or off as many radiators as you want except that the room with the wall stat in it should not have a TRV, it should have an "always on" radiator. The room stat will turn off the boiler and pump once the house is up to temp.

PumpkInDublic Fri 12-Oct-12 13:54:56

I was going to suggest home made snakes! grin

For anyone else interested worn out trousers can be cut and sewn to make two rather cheaply. The pockets can be used to pop an air freshener in too.

Tia4 Fri 12-Oct-12 16:13:39

Our thermostat is in the hallway - is this the best place? And is it more efficient to have the heating set for morning and evening for example or on all the time at 18 degrees?

PeazlyPops Fri 12-Oct-12 16:19:14

I had a thermostat for the heating in the living room, but moved it upstairs on the landing when I was pregnant, as I wanted the whole house to be warm for the baby.

Is the landing a good place for it? I find that upstairs is warm but downstairs is cold.

PigletJohn Fri 12-Oct-12 16:39:33

many years ago, people used to put CH stats in the hall, I think because it would have quite a small radiator and be the last part of the home to warm up.

Modern boilers are now usually more powerful, and it is considered better to put the stat in the room that you use the most, provided that it has no other source of heat such as an open fire or a big cooker that would trick the stat.

The radiators can be balanced so the room with the stat is the last to warm up, so the CH will not go off until the house has reached the determined temperature. That might be 10C if you are just protecting against damp and cold while unoccupied, or it might be 22C if you are frail or scantily clad.

It is preferable to have thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) in all the rooms except the one with the wall stat (as this could cause the rad to go off before the room stat was satisfied). They are also helpful if you go away a lot and want to have extra-big rads to heat the house quickly on your return. As soon as each room gets warm they will throttle down the flow through that particular rad. If the weather is particularly cold they will stay open longer until the room is warm.

TRVs enable you to control temperatures accurately to your whim in different rooms, including for example spare rooms that you will not want to heat much unless you have guests, and it satisfies people who like a hot bathroom and a cool bedroom. TRVs are not very expensive, but to drain down and fit them to a whole whose would probably take a competent DIYer at least a day. It is definitely worth having them fitted at the time the system is installed or the boiler changed.

PigletJohn Fri 12-Oct-12 16:46:54


halls are usually quite cool because the warm air from the rad rises up the stairwell to heat the landing ceiling. It will be worse if there are draughts allowing cold air into the hall. Curtains over the doors, and draught-stripping, will help.

having the ceiling well-insulated will help, so will having the adjacent rooms heated to that the walls are warm.

It is possible that a very long radiator, run warmish, will suffer less heat loss upstairs than a short one running very hot, but I have not seen experiments on that. It might be that a ceiling fan would also help.

BTW some people like to leave the internal doors open. When the heating is on, this will allow the warm air from downstairs to escape and rise up to the landing. This costs more in fuel and makes the rooms less comfortable. I have known people who refuse to accept this and refuse to close the doors angry

MadNortherner Fri 12-Oct-12 16:50:43

Interested in this thread but busy now. Marking my place for later.

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Tue 06-Nov-12 18:49:17

Ok I ave spent the last couple of weeks working towards having a less draughty house. I put a draught excluder around the outside of the front door, repositioned the brush strip at the bottom of the door inside, plugged a gap round the upvc back door, masking taped around the inside of the little used side door and put a bit of folded fleece fabric along the bottom and today used builders flexible caulk along the edge of skirting boards where the most appalling draughts were coming from.
The foil panels for behind radiators are on order from Amazon and I am planning on making a curtain for the front door too. However to save money I plan to use a broom handle as a pole. Rising portieres are expensive.

DinosaursHateUnderpants Wed 07-Nov-12 14:53:59

PigletJohn- what if the wall stat is in the hall, with open galleried landing above, the radiator next to the wall stat does have a TVR - what should it be set to? Help!

DinosaursHateUnderpants Thu 08-Nov-12 12:35:31

Bumping for advice please.

PigletJohn Thu 08-Nov-12 14:12:30

a hall with landing is not a very good place to have a wall stat.

Turn the TRV in the hall to max, and let the room stat control the temp. It will take some trial and error, but you don't want the room stat to go off until all the other rooms in the house are up to temp. When they are, their TRVs should prevent them getting hotter. It may take several hours for the temperature to settle down. Once it has, note for each room the TRV setting that makes it comfortable. Start at about number 3 and move it just a fraction each half hour and see if the room gets too cool/too hot/just right. Write the number down somewhere safe and don't fiddle with them again.

If the hall heats up too fast (unlikely) you can reduce the output of the hall rad by turning down the lockshield valve with a small spanner, at the opposite end of the rad from the TRV. Start by closing it then open it just half a turn and go away to do something else. Return after half an hour. If the rad is now stone cold, open the lockshield just a quarter turn more, go away, etc. and repeat as necessary.

The range of control of a lockshield in almost all at the "nearly closed" point, and once it is near correct, never turn it by more than a quarter turn per half hour. When adjusted correctly, the flow pipe at one end of the rad should be "too hot to hold" and the return pipe at the other end should be noticably cooler.

The lockshield valve has no knob, but usually a plastic cover over the spindle that may be held in place by a screw. Whern you have adjusted it, put the cover (shield) back and secure it with the screw (lock it). "Lockshield" valve because once it has been carefully adjusted, you don't want anybody to fiddle with it.

If you have a modern condensing boiler it will be at its most efficient ticking along at about 60C. Unless your rads are quite large you may have to turn it up in exceptionally cold weather to deliver enough heat. However you should not need to adjust your wall stat or TRVs from the comfortable setting. Turning them up does not increase their heat output.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:24:19

Most cat flaps are staywell, if you look on amazon you will see Petsmart ones. Most of their range is lined with brush seals.

The apetures are similar.

treesntrees Thu 08-Nov-12 18:09:52

pigletjohn I live in a small modern house without a hall. The wall thermostat is in the lounge which is open plan to the kitchen (double glass doors usually open) and the stairs. There is a smallish radiator under the window in the lounge a tiny one at the foot of the stairs and a large one in the kitchen (hense the open doors) Upstairs the radiator in the box room is off except in the coldest weathr. The one in the second bedroom where I dry my washing is very slightly open with trickle vents open. The bathroom radiator needs bleeding about once fortnightly and is not as warm as I would like probably due to the electrician moving the loft insulation and leaving a hole in the ceiling when he removed a faulty light. The main bedroom radiator is on number one. My problem is, apart from when the oven is on my lounge never feels warm enough when just sitting despite the wall thermostat being at about 23. Where am I going wrong. I have a Baxi boiler with hot water cylinder and upstairs is lovely and cosy.

PigletJohn Thu 08-Nov-12 19:09:58

being open plan, with the doors open, the warm air will rush upstairs. The ground floor will always be relatively cold.

the radiator should not need bleeding weekly. I think you probably have a feed and expansion tank ("header tank") in the loft. If you can have a look up there, see how deep the water is, and how much mud is at the bottom. There ought to be a corrosion inhibitor in the water and perhaps there isn't. If there was, there ought to be a label on the boiler or the cylinder saying what sort, and when added, and there is often an empty one-litre chemical bottle thrown down in the loft. The usual brands are Sentinel and Fernox. Tie a rag or something round the curved pipe which is bent over the top of the F&E, and go back a week later to see if water has been coming out of that pipe, so the rag will be wet or stained. Take the rag away so it's can't fall in the tank. There ought to be a close fitting plastic lid to keep dirt and wildlife out.

If your boiler has a pressure gauge on the front, perhaps behind a flap, there will not be a F&E tank.

Do you like DIY plumbing?

The gap in insulation, is there a downlighter?

treesntrees Thu 08-Nov-12 19:22:52

thanks pigletjohn. I keep away from diy/plumbing leave it to the experts but your information means I can ask intelligent questions. Although I might not understand the answers.
I've made a heavy curtain for the stairs. Just waiting for son to put up batten. Hope this might keep some of the heat down stairs.
There are down lighters in the bathroom.

PigletJohn Thu 08-Nov-12 19:41:55

You can get a fire-resistant smoke hood to put over a downlighter in the loft, and you can insulate over that.

I don't like downlighters.

Hot air will rise up through the hole.

Lofts should be insulated with about ten inches of quilt these days.

DinosaursHateUnderpants Thu 08-Nov-12 20:53:59

PJ - Yes, unfortunately the radiator is pretty much underneath the wall stat. so if we put the hall rad on to 4 (via TRV), which is the median point, the wall stat registers the temp as being reached pretty quickly (and it's South facing with lots of sunshine too!), whether it be 19/20/21 degrees, much sooner than all of the other rooms of course, the hall is toasty warm and elsewhere is cold.

We have long ago turned the TRV's in the upstairs rooms down considerably and upstairs is fine really as far as comfortable temp is concerned, but the downstairs rooms are cold, probably because any warm air from downstairs shoots up! My brain says that if we turn the TRV on the hall rad (under the stat) totally off or to minimal we may get a balance so long as the upstairs rads are on minimally.

I am experimenting by setting the hall rad to the setting of '1' at 2pm today and so far the downstairs is noticeably warmer. Our TRV's go from '*frost' to '6'.

PigletJohn Thu 08-Nov-12 21:51:56

I'd think about having the wall stat moved. The cable could be taken through the wall to the adjacent room, or it could be run along a bit.

It is at mains voltage though so you need someone competent.

You should not use a TRV in the same room as the wall stat. If you have a TRV you must turn it to max. If you want to reduce the output of the rad in that room you must do it at the lockshield.

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