I’m pretty sure that you’ve already heard us moan about how cold the first winter in our house was. It was absolutely freezing. I can’t remember being so cold for such a long period of time. Ever. It was so bad, that I ended up with chilblains on my toes. We used to go to bed with warmed up buckwheat pillows and water bottles, we always wore at least one pair of socks in bed and we covered ourselves with at least two extra layers of blankets. It was awful. Because of the extreme cold, you could see your breath in the mornings and in the kitchen and dining room it was usually about 2°C. Needless to say, our first home improvements were aimed at improving the heating and heat retaining aspects of our house. After a bit of research on how to keep the house warm, these are the projects we tackled to make sure, that we wouldn’t be quite as cold again.
1. We had new windows fitted in the living room and office. Most of the windows in the house still need replacing, but for now two decent windows are better than none.
2. We had new radiators fitted in the living room, office and master bedroom. These should be more energy efficient than the old ones and are slightly larger so that they give of more heat.
3. One of the biggest purchases was the period fireplace we had installed in the living room. It’s amazing and when we manage to get the fire going, it gives of loads of heat. You can read more about that here.
4. We insulated under the living room and dining room floors. It was quite easy and fairly quick to do. You can read more about how we insulated under the living room floor here. We tried a different method when insulating under the dining room floor and will let you know about how we got on there, soon.
5. After insulating under the floor, we realised how much cold air still comes through the gaps between the floorboards and skirting boards. We used insulating tape to block the gaps and stop the draughts.
6. The old windows were so poorly fitted, so that you could actually see daylight between the window frame and the wall. Some of the double glazing units were also blown (the insulating properties of the glass are practically none existent when this happens). We used expanding foam to fill the gaps around the window and had the odd blown panel of glass replaced.
7. Although our loft was already insulated when we moved in, there was only about 100 mm of insulation. The house survey we had done, before buying the property recommended at least 250 mm, so we added two extra layers of mineral wool.
8. In addition to the home improvements, we also bought a really thick duvet for our bed.
9. And finally, we made a draught excluder for the living room.
Individually, each of the improvements would probably not make a huge difference, but all of them together have definitely helped us keep warmer.