Considering period homes are those houses that were originally built at a time before World War I, it can be thought their energy-saving ability is dated or near-impossible. However, when it comes to renovations in period homes, this can certainly be rectified. Your period home can be warm whilst generating little energy and keeping costs down simply by using some effective, energy-saving solutions and home improvements. Here is a list of several ways you can make your home warmer, reduce costs and save energy whilst maintaining the physical and visual elements of your period home as much as possible.
Consider investing in renewable energy which can be attached to the roof or sides of your period home. The most common renewable energy sources for period homes are solar and wind, but energy can also be drawn from the ground and air too. This method reduces costs on energy expenditure. However, it can impact the visual appearance of your period home. Ensure you have sought appropriate advice and have all the necessary information about the installation process, costs, appearance and effectiveness before investing.
Purchase a smart meter which will monitor your energy use. A smart meter is a small device that will inform you how well your period home performs and where costs could be reduced. It digitally reads your gas and electricity use and displays it on an in-home display screen conveniently located in your home. You may be surprised at how much energy certain appliances in your home are using in comparison to others. Energy suppliers across the UK can install a smart meter in your period home at no cost if you are a customer of theirs.
Seek ways to fill your floor gaps. Particularly in period homes, there tend to be gaps from movement and general wear and tear over the years. Old floorboards are particularly prone to having small gaps left between them. These can result in a lot of heat being lost, perhaps the equivalent to that of a small window being left open. There are two simple methods for reducing heat lost through gaps. You could invest in a large, thick rug to lay over the floorboards. The rug provides extra insulation and creates a barricade for heat to escape. Another method is to purchase sealant strips at your local hardware store to inset into the gaps. They are inexpensive, reversible and discrete. Filling your floor gaps could save you up to £40 per room, per year.
Consider installing LED lighting around your home. Whilst they can be an expensive cost to your renovation, they do instantly reduce electricity consumption and the savings in electricity bills will offset the purchase cost. LEDs last for an average of 25,000 hours and can come in a range of styles suited for any period home, from dimmable spotlights to filament.
Schedule the time to check your heating system. A yearly service is an important measure to take to ensure that your boiler is working correctly. It should be replaced with a highly efficient condensing model if it is older than 10 years. This could save up to £305 per year. Check your radiators are working as effectively and as they should be. If they are cooler at the top than at the bottom, it means there could be air trapped in the system. Bleeding them is a DIY quick fix that could solve this problem. If they are hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom, then there could be sludge in the system that needs flushing out. This can be be fixed, professionally, with the process usually costing around £500.
Seek ways to draught-proof your doors and windows. Another issue that rises in period homes due to their age and wear and tear is that narrow gaps around windows and doors are likely to be present. These gaps can create draughts and rattling noises. Instead of using silicone sealants to fill these gaps, considering using draught strips that can be removed in the future if needed. A draught excluder to stop the draught from under the doors is another quick solution that is inexpensive and easily purchasable for less than £25.
Consider insulating your loft. Around a quarter of a period home’s heat can be lost through the roof space if it hasn’t been insulated. A cost-effective solution to fixing this problem if your home does not have insulation, is to purchase mineral wool – around 27-30cm deep – for around £20 per roll. It’s a tricky task as it requires the use of protective clothing. However, mineral wool has excellent fire resistance and sound-insulation qualities. Other insulation materials to consider include natural minerals such as sheep’s wool quilt, loose cellulose made from recycled newspaper or a breathable spray foam insulation such as Icynene.
Blocking the chimney is another method to reduce heat lost in your period home. Around four percent of the home’s heat can be lost from an open chimney. A device can be inserted into the chimney, such as the Chimney Sheep, which blocks the draught. The device is made of a thick layer of felt and can be placed into the chimney when the fireplace isn’t being used and removed easily when you need to use the fireplace. Conversely, if the fireplace is never used, installing a chimney balloon which inflates to fill the opening could be your better option.
Experts in producing high-quality, environmentally-friendly designs for a wide range of home extensions and renovations, the team at Legacy Structural Design can assist with creating designs and offer further advice regarding energy-saving in your period home. Get in touch with the team today with your questions and they will get back to you with a quote and any additional information you require.