How to Make a Period Home More Heat Efficient

Period homes have plenty of character, which is why they are so desirable. However, that character can become quite chilly in winter and drive up heating costs unnecessarily. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your heating bills down without compromising on the features in your home or the feel of it.

Here are a few ways to improve the thermal efficiency of your home, without adding modern features:

  1. Eliminate draughts – unfortunately period homes have a lot of poor seals and gaps around old windows and original doors. In most instances, you can replace weather seals and refurbish windows to get rid of draughts.
  2. Consider double glazing – most period properties only have single glazing if the original windows are there. Without an air gap and a second pane of glass, these windows lose a huge amount of heat. If they have metal frames, they are often extremely draughty too. If your house is not a listed property, you may be able to add double glazed timber sash or casement windows to replace the existing ones while maintaining the character and feel of the property.
  3. Add secondary glazing if you can’t add double glazing – in listed properties, you may not be able to add double glazing at all. If this is the case, secondary glazing is a good alternative to create another barrier against the climate and elements without affecting the exterior of the home.
  4. Add dampers to the chimneys – fireplaces are beautiful features, but can create huge draughts in the winter. Adding a damper prevents heat loss through chimneys and flues when they are not in use. You can also use a chimney balloon, but this can cause a build-up of damp if left in permanently.
  5. Seal wooden floors or add a rug – suspended timber floors can also allow cold air in from the basement or exterior. A fast way to deal with gaps throughout a timber floor is to add a carpet or heavy rug to provide insulation and a barrier against the cold. Alternatively, you can fill in the gaps with a sealant or strips of timber to stop the draughts altogether.
  6. Improve loft insulation – if you have never ventured into your loft, you may not know exactly what type of insulation you have (if any!). Upgrading or adding insulation is a great way to prevent heat loss through your roof.
  7. Upgrade your boiler – while it is important to reduce heat loss to ensure that your home is as heat efficient as possible, it’s also a good idea to consider where the heat is coming from. If you have an older boiler, it may take more energy to create the same heat output as a modern boiler, resulting in unnecessarily high heating bills.
  8. Reflect heat back into your rooms – adding enhancers behind your radiators can help to reflect heat back into the room rather than losing it through the walls. This alone can save you up to 7% on your heating bills.
  9. Line your curtains – there’s a reason so many old homes had heavy curtains, they’re an excellent way to prevent draughts and keep heat in the house. Thermally lining your curtains can drastically improve your thermal efficiency and reduce heat loss by up to 14%, and costs from just £20 per curtain.


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