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What I can I do to improve the insulation in the house

(18 Posts)
Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 11:22:52

Our new loft conversion is lovely and warm but the downstairs is often cold. Things we are going to do are
- New front door as that it letting loads of heat out
- Put underlay under new carpet (currently old carpet and there is no underlay)
- Get windows checked and any issues fixed

Are there any other things we can do to improve the cold downstairs?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 13-Jan-16 11:25:37

Thick curtains (or add-on thermal linings for the ones you've got).

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 11:31:00

Hmm we don't usually shut curtains that much as we have beautiful views but then I guess overnight could make a difference!

wonkylegs Wed 13-Jan-16 11:36:00

Do you have an underfloor void (timber floor)? You can insulate under it - it's a faff to do but it's made a big difference to our house, we did it with sheeps wool batt so the fabric still breathes and it was slightly nicer for DH to crawl under the floor with than Rockwool.
Curtain linings, draught proofing (windows, doors, vents, letterboxes etc)
Make sure all rads are heating up correctly and air movement isn't blocked by furniture, rad covers or shelves.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 11:39:52

Yes we do have a void, especially at the back of the house (built on a slope) so that's on the list. Definitely need to do some draught proving too so will sort that out as well.

Thank you smile

specialsubject Wed 13-Jan-16 12:31:27

good lord, shut the curtains at dusk and open them in the morning!

make sure they don't cover radiators. Add thermal linings. if you've got curtain poles replace with rails so heat doesn't escape in the huge gap created by rails. Or add pelmets - unfashionable but like so many out of fashion things, bloody useful.

add a curtain over the front door too.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 13:25:37

OK I will rectify the curtains situation smile

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 13-Jan-16 13:45:27

Do, it will make a huge difference smile

My dad brought an infrared thermometer to my house last winter and we took lots of readings. There was 5 degrees difference between the window side and room side of the thermal curtains, so they were clearly doing a lot of work.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 13:59:27

Wow that is impressive, OK I am convinced we should be curtain shutting

PigletJohn Wed 13-Jan-16 14:48:31

If you buy some draught-strip for your front door, it will cost you about £998 less than a new door, and take you less than an hour.

What sort of doors and windows have you got? Do them first.

Have you got open fireplaces?

How old is the house?

Do you leave the internal doors open while trying to heat the house?

Have you got a conservatory?

How do you heat the house?

It is quite a lot of work to insulate between the joists of the ground floor, but worth it is you can get access, especially if you have bare boards. Even a thin cheap carpet will stop cold air blowing up.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 15:01:49

We need a new front door anyway so that's not an issue but thank you for the idea.

Windows are double glazed - some need refitting due to a bad original install which we are sorting

House is 1950's ish

We're making an effort to shut doors

No conservatory

Heat the house with radiators

We have boards with very old carpet but no underlay at the moment. The old flooring is all coming out so we can put thick underlay in when we do that.

PigletJohn Wed 13-Jan-16 15:07:42

are the windows plastic? Should be fairly draught-free though you need to keep the ventilators open esp in bedroom and bath.

As it is a 1950's house it is pretty sure to be cavity walls. You can often get CWI free or subsidised, try BG first, then other utility companies. They are reliable and unlikely to go bust or run off with your money leaving a worthless guarantee. They are obliged to inspect your walls for faults that might lead to damp, and can be forced to suck out insulation if problems arise, so are now very careful. A house of your age should not have much in the way of cracks or bad pointing though. CWI will save more energy loss than anything else you can do, because the wall area is so large.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 15:14:57

I've heard mixed things about cavity wall insulation and whether it should be used so wasn't sure whether to do that.

Windows are plastic but badly fitted so draughty, hopefully getting that fixed next week. Can feel the heat leaving through the front door too so changing that will hopefully make a big difference.

wonkylegs Wed 13-Jan-16 15:42:01

We rehung and draught stripped the front door, gave it a new weather board, new ironmongery, a new letterbox, new locks and a coat of paint wow what a difference. No draughts, everything works and it's really smart.
Ours is huge(over a metre wide) and would have cost thousands and thousands to replace so that wasn't really an option.

wonkylegs Wed 13-Jan-16 15:48:36

Cavity wall insulation a shouldn't be used in all areas, if you live in an exposed area (coastal, west lakes, on an exposed hill) it's not a good idea due to the problems that wind driven rain can cause. However the company's that install it aren't always too good at advising appropriatly (I suspect it's because it's a commission driven business with little comeback). I have just worked on a project in the Lake District which is a 30's bungalow where it has been installed and due to wind driven rain it has failed and is turning out to be a right mess to sort out ( installers have been worse than useless so we are doing it as part of a wider refurbishment, thankfully we're stripping the building right back anyway).
So it can be good but its not the right solution everywhere so you are right to be cautious.

Madblondedog Wed 13-Jan-16 15:55:08

We're coastal and up a hill (relatively exposed) - lots of wind driven rain here.

Our front door is going to be costly but its needed, I hate our current one as it does not feel very secure.

toodarnhilly Thu 14-Jan-16 23:22:34

Wonkylegs did you do all the work on your door yourselves, or get a joiner/other tradesman in?

wonkylegs Fri 15-Jan-16 05:15:16

Our joiner did it - it's the original victorian door so a fairly huge piece of ornate wood, it took 2men to physically remove it and rehang it. As I said before it's over a metre wide so it's a fairly hefty thing, although it's fab for getting sofas through easily.
It had warped over the years so it was quite a job to rehang. We had joiners here doing our windows and various other bits so it made sense to get them to do it at the same time - they primed the bare wood when they finished I painted it though.
On our previous house I refurbished the door myself, draught seals & ironmongery are pretty easy to fit yourself with a bit of patience as is shaving off edges, sanding and painting.

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