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If you live in an old house how do you keep warm?

(67 Posts)
flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 11:26:59

It is worrying me that I am freezing and sat under a duvet again and it is July, how are we going to cope in January. We keep having to put the heating on, but as it is oil central heating we want to use it as little as possible.

It must be cold as my medication makes me feel hot all the time.

We have a real fire in the room where we sit in the evening, we have been using wood and it does not seem to provide much heat. People who have real fires what do you put on them? How do you keep them going?

The dining room has a woodburner which apparantly blasts out quite a bit of heat but we dont spend much time in there, although maybe when the furniture arrives we will.

There is no double glazing and some stone floors so there is little insulation.

It is a lovely house but so cold, what can we do.

HerHonesty Fri 24-Jul-09 11:46:53

aha know the feeling. blankets, jumpers, open fires.. and massive heating bills.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 11:50:42

What do you out on your open fire, do people still use coal? [lost townie in village emoticon]

HerHonesty Fri 24-Jul-09 11:53:18

nope, only cos its messy but i understand it burns for longer and gives off more heat. we use wood. and keep on chucking it in... winter wise you may want to move to dining room as wood burners are much easier to use, clean etc than open fires.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 11:55:44

Yes my granny had a coal fire and it was messy, but there is no carpet to stain but the walls are cream.

We get wood off the estate so it is the easier choice, there is a lot in the woodstore already.

There are no comfy sofas in dining room, just table and bookcases, maybe we need to look at that

Rindercella Fri 24-Jul-09 11:56:14

Ooh, I do not envy you. Your post has brought back childhood memories of being absolutely bloody freezing. Once I even had snow coming into my bedroom (through a cupboard with access to the loft) and ice forming on my glass of water.

My suggestion? Move! grin

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 11:57:34

No we love the house and have only just moved in.

Rindercella Fri 24-Jul-09 11:59:49

I was only joking, honest grin

Beachcomber Fri 24-Jul-09 12:02:46

I would definitely look into making the room where your wood burner is the main living space for winter if poss.

In winter my wood burner is the love of my life.

Apart from that I recommend ugg type boots for warm feet and a poncho. Don't know if you are a stylish type but I never manage to be warm and stylish at the same time in our house in winter.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:05:24

I dont care about being stylish in my own home

The room with the wood burner leads from the kitchen and then onto the garden so makes a natural dining room.
The living room is more self contained but we do need to look at it

Metatron Fri 24-Jul-09 12:08:12

Can you swap the rooms about so you sit in the warmer one?

But yes boot type slippers. Rugs everyhere. Check if the floors can be improved for gaps. Doors closed to keep the heat in. Thick curtains, closed as much as possible.

Can you treat your self to some silk type thermals? Bit nicer than fleeces probably suit you better...

GrendelsMum Fri 24-Jul-09 12:11:53

I can help you on this one!

1) Go round and draft-proof every window, door, hole drilled in ceiling for wires to go through, etc. This is cheap and astonishingly efficient. Do this again and again and again. Then again.

2) Keep all the doors shut. Put snakes on them. Again cheap and efficient.

3) Put heavy thick insulated door curtains on the outside doors. Buy them off ebay if you're on a budget.

4) An open fire burns at about 5% efficiency - that is, you get 5% heat energy into room for the potential heat energy of the wood you're burning. A modern high-efficiency wood-burning stove burns at more like 75% efficiency. So burning the same amount of wood will make you substantially warmer. Moreover, your chimney is sucking centrally heated air out of your house, and up the chimeny. Stand between the door and the chimney, and you'll feel the draft. Stop sitting in the room with the fire, use the one with the wood burner. Either block up the existing fireplace or buy a high efficiency stove and put it in the fireplace.

5) Are you burning seasoned wood or fresh wood? It should be a year old.

6) This is expensive up front, but actually pays its way very quickly if you're on oil. If you fit the Honeywell CM system, you can control the temperature of every room in your house at every hour of the day - so you only heat the rooms you need at the time you need them. WELL worth it. My dad fitted ours for us.

7) When you buy your new curtains, make sure they are really thick. Get fleecy linings, or heavy wool curtains.

8) Install secondary glazing, or ultra-thin double glazing. Or ordinary double-glazing if you can.

9) You could look longer term at lifting your stone floors and installing underfloor heating, perhaps with a ground-source heat pump.

10) And make sure you have ludicrous amounts of insulation in the loft.

11) Warm slippers for all. No-one allowed to say they're cold if they aren't wearing two jumpers. Cashmere jumpers all round. You adapt very quickly to wearing a certain amount of clothes and I found when we got our CM system I then got miffed because I was too hot wearing the amount of clothes I had got used to.

12) Fairly obvious, but you get cold when you sit down without moving - i.e. watching TV, reading book, etc. Hobbies which involve moving, even knitting, seems to make a tremendous difference. If you're cold, do the vacuuming or the ironing, and hey presto, you're warm!

The key thing is actually the draft proofing. I'd say the second most valueable is the Honeywell CM system, but everything else contributes.

You should be fine with this - let me know how you get on.

GrendelsMum Fri 24-Jul-09 12:13:13

Oh yes, is your house damp? That might well be contributing to the inefficiency, as water conducts heat well.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:14:18

Curtains will help, at the moment we just have blinds in the main living room. But curtains in te dining room.

Silk thermals sound nice, almost sexy. God knows how we are going to manage sex in this house. Back to a fumble under the duvet!

Metatron Fri 24-Jul-09 12:18:23

Oh and old houses keep heat out in the summer so the temperature difference in winter might not be as horrific as you are imagining.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:19:43

Thanks Grendel, we are renting which limits what we could do. I have noticed the draft from the fireplace, we have them in all the bedrooms as well. But I will look at draft proofing what we can. We are a nightmare at closing doors but that could be our first start.

We are burning old wood.

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:20:53

That is true Metatron, I was amazed when viewing houses how cool the old ones were inside when we were having our heat wave.

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 24-Jul-09 12:25:10

Would there be any grants available from local council for improvements? Call the environment department as they may be able to point you in right direction. Landlord probably wouldn't object if it isn't costing much? Insulation can sometimes get a grant.

GrendelsMum Fri 24-Jul-09 12:25:42

Metatron - we thought that! Moved in last summer and thought 'it's freezing now, that means it will be warm in winter'. No, it was bloody freezing in winter. On Christmas day, we all sat round the dining table, and my elderly uncle refused to take his bobble hat off. There were days when I thought "I don't care if I look like an advert for fuel poverty, I am going to wear my sheepskin hat indoors."

FlatCap - can you negotiate with your landlord re insulation, double glazing etc? Are there any standards on insulation levels that must be met by landlords? I hope the lack of dg and decent heating system is reflected in the price of the rent!

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:28:58

I doubt she would put double glazing in, the windows are a key feature of the house.

We pay a low rent for the property

GrendelsMum Fri 24-Jul-09 12:36:53

Mm - it would need to be secondary glazing, then. It still makes a tremendous difference. If you could get secondary glazing in two-three key rooms, things might improve.

You can stuff rubble bags full of straw / old rags / newspaper and push them up the bedroom chimneys to block the chimneys and reduce some drafts.

msled Fri 24-Jul-09 12:39:37

where on earth are you to be that cold in July??

flatcapandpearls Fri 24-Jul-09 12:56:25


msled Fri 24-Jul-09 13:03:04

I'm in LOndon and it's perfectly warm here.

HerHonesty Fri 24-Jul-09 13:03:54

oh and have more sex. very cheap and much more fun than itchy wooly jumpers and socks.

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