Saturday, September 13, 2008


The government announced this week that it will pump money into energy saving schemes such as insulation. If you have not had the opportunity to look into doing these improvements to your home, then it may be worth checking out any grants you can get towards these.

Personally we did apply and were successful in receiving a grant for draught proofing but as with everything, the doors became so tight that one of them fell of its hinges which caused us to need to do other repairs. The loft insulation was not completed on the grant because we have loft hatches that are too small for the rolls of material. Secondly, our ceilings are made of lathe and plaster ( a very old way of doing ceilings) and letting the workmen loose on it could have just given us another opening to the roof as lathe and plaster can crumble. So that work is on hold until we can get hold of a local craftsman who can carefully deal with the 16th century plasterwork.

Don't let that put you off,if you live in a more modern house, it will be a piece of cake.

Insulation can be considered in the following areas :

  1. Loft insulation: Prevents 15% of heat lost through the roof.
  2. Tank and pipe insulation: A hot water cylinder jacket of at least 75mm cuts heat loss by 75%.
  3. Cavity/solid wall insulation: About 30% of heat lost through walls. Homes built after 1920 - with cavity walls - can be injected with insulating material. Older houses with solid walls can be fitted with an extra layer.
  4. Double-glazing: Can cut heat loss by about 50%. The two panes of glass create an insulating barrier.
  5. Draught-proofing: About 20% of heat lost through poor ventilation and draughts. Measures include fitting brushes to letterboxes. Source: Energy Saving Trust
If you have an older property like ours, you may need to make adjustments as the construction methods from yesteryear do not always lend themselves to modern measures and listed buildings would have restrictions placed on them with regards to improvements.

When we visited Thomas Hardy's cottage in Dorset some time ago, we were reminded that small cottages were inhabited by many people who heated one room and spent the majority of their time, wrapped up in front of the fire.

I will let you know how we cope with the cold as it creeps in over the next few months.


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

We live in a small cottage that is about 350 years old and luckily was not listed. When we bought it 20 years the property was almost ready to be condemned and I rebuilt it over a two year period as sympathetically as possible.

All the internal walls (with external faces) are false and insulated and the loft spaces are insulated between the rafters by 5’’ of fibreglass at 45 degrees, so equalling 7 ½ inches. The insulated hot water tank was given a jacket on top of the insulation; this is heated by the open wood burning fire in the winter and ½ an hour of off peak electricity in the summer. I am obsessive about draft proofing as this seemingly minor item can make a huge difference. We have just had double glazing fitted and I only wish we could have afforded this years ago. The oil fired central heating has insulated pipes between the boilers and radiators with thermostats on each radiator; these are turned low in rooms that are not in use. The house now has windows that face south, there were none when we bought it, and with the fire on and (when it shines) the winter sun, pouring in the heating rarely comes on.
We discovered a lot in the rebuild, that the kitchen area one held animals, that there were two families living in the house, and, when I removed the wall that covered the bricked up chimney in the living room, an inglenook fireplace with some parts of the old cooker remaining!

Anonymous said...

Good to be reading you again!
Just a thought re insulation ~ theres a Tanner in or near Buckfastleigh who used to sell treated sheeps wool for insulation in HUGE bags ~ might be easier to get into your loft ;-)