08 Feb Keeping older homes warm
Older homes are appealing to a large number of people throughout the UK because of their appearance, their iconic reputation and it’s no secret that they also come with a huge price tag. That being said, owners of old Victorian terraces or cottages tend to struggle when cutting their carbon footprint and reducing their energy bills without sacrificing the historical character that made their home so appealing in the first instance. In this blog we will give some pointers on how to make sure older properties are operating as efficiently as they possibly can.
Issues you might face
When it comes to insulating your property, you would be forgiven for thinking that the process would be a long and disruptive one. Traditional forms of insulation on older, solid wall builds would require the installation of a cavity wall in order to accommodate the insulation materials. This can significantly reduce space within the property, and would of course change the appearance somewhat. Although these methods work and do increase a property’s energy performance significantly, the fact that it changes the appearance of the property takes away one of the key selling points of older homes. However, thanks to advancements in technology it is now possible to increase an older build’s energy performance with little disruption and almost no recognisable changes to its appearance.
Considering internal insulation
With preservation of appearance key for older properties key, consideration should be given to installing internal insulation such as Aerotherm. This is a material that is applied to the internal walls of a property, and at 1mm thick is the thinnest material available in terms of insulation options. Applied in a similar way to plaster, this technology reflects heat back into the property rather than simply slowing down its escape – which is the function of traditional alternatives. Essentially Aerotherm enables older properties to be insulated effectively with no changes to the external appearance of the property. This can save up to 35% energy, meaning rooms heat up faster and cool down slower.
A main part of the house to consider as an insulation priority is any loft space that the home may have. This is the most effective place to insulate, as of course heat rises so 25% of heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof. This means that any heat that an older house does manage to retain escapes through the roof if it is left uninsulated. Addressing loft insulation should be first on the checklist when considering how to make an older home more energy efficient.
Insulate your chimney
Some older properties, particularly from the Victorian era have disused chimneys. If you consider that chimneys have been designed to take smoke and warm air out of a property, it’s obvious that they would increase energy use, as heat is pumped out, wasting money for the property owner. One way of minimising draughts and heat loss through the chimney is by using a ‘Chimney Balloon’ or a ‘Chimney Sheep’. Essentially these products block the chimney and reflect heat back down the chimney and into the house, so much less heat is wasted.
There’s no denying it, original windows on older properties look beautiful. Despite this, they are not exactly the most energy efficient windows on the market due to how thin the glass is compared to newer double glazed windows. Frames can also warp and let cold air through the small spaces around the edge. The good news is that there are solutions without installing windows that don’t match the rest of the house. Self-adhesive foam strips are affordable and simple to apply, but may not last very long. Or another alternative would be to use metal or plastic strips to fill in gaps where the older window may have warped. Although this costs a little more and you may have to consult a professional, it is likely to last much longer.
If you are an owner of an older property and would like to discuss how you can make your home warmer and more comfortable but maintain its heritage, contact us today by phone on 01656 818881, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can talk you through your best options specifically for your property type and age.