Blog Detail

How to make an old home more energy efficient

22 March 23 Author:Michelle Gaffaney

With energy costs on the rise and environmental concerns a top priority, it’s more important than ever to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. 

Although many new build homes are built with energy efficiency in mind, some older properties are lacking features that can help reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint.

Although it’s possible to carry out simple improvements to an older home, you need to be careful on what course of action you take, especially if it is a listed property. It’s important you get professional advice when tackling areas such as heating and insulation and only work with companies that have experience dealing with older properties.

With that in mind, here’s a few ways you can make an old home more energy efficient.

1. Get a smart meter and thermostat

You can see exactly how much energy you’re using and how your house performs by getting a smart meter installed. Generally utility companies will install these for free and then be paid for through energy bills, just as old-style meters are. Installing thermostatic radiator valves and smart thermostats offers control over individual rooms, to prevent heat from being wasted when certain space isn’t being used and give you the opportunity to see where savings can be made.

2. Fill gaps between floorboards

Old floorboards in a room can look beautiful and add real character, however so much heat can be lost through the gaps. You can stop this loss is by finding discreet insulation/sealant strips (such as StopGap) to fit between the boards, or even just placing a large rug can help.

3. Swap to LED lighting

Swapping your old light fittings and installing good quality LED bulbs can instantly reduce how much electricity you are using. The initial cost to install LED’s throughout your house will soon be paid back by the savings you make.

4. Check the heating system

You should get your boiler serviced annually to ensure it is working as well as it can. However if it’s over 10 years old it’s definitely worth considering a replacement. Having a more efficient model installed can save you hundreds of pounds over the year and reduce your impact on the environment massively. You may also want to check whether your radiators are working effectively as sometimes they need bleeding or flushing out to remove built up dust.

5. Draught–proof doors and windows

If you have narrow gaps around your windows and doors, stop heat escaping by using draught strips; these are handy as they can be easily removed in the future unlike silicone sealant. If you have sash windows it’s probably best to reach out to an expert or specialist company who can add discreet draught-proofing instead.

6. Insulate the loft

A lot of a home’s heat is lost through the roof so it’s important to ensure the loft is fully insulated. Mineral wool is commonly used as it’s very cost effective and fire resistant as well as insulating sound too.

7. Invest in renewable energy

Although it’s not an option for everybody, there’s a number of renewable energy sources that can provide cleaner and more cost-effective energy. Wind turbines or solar panels can give considerable savings on your bills, but it’s important to make sure you have all the facts before investing.

8. Install an energy efficient fire

Unlike open fires, which lose most of their heat straight up the chimney and outside, wood-burning stoves and log ovens are sealed to the room, meaning they use less fuel and radiate the heat throughout your home.

9. Fit secondary glazing

Old windows can be replaced for modern double glazed designs, however if you don’t want to lose the character of your windows or don’t have the option to change them then looking at fitting some secondary glazing instead would be best.

10. Block the chimney

If you don’t use your chimney then it makes sense to block it rather than letting it allow valuable heat to escape out. However if you do still use your chimney you can easily solve this by inserting a device that blocks the draught, such as a chimney sheep. Made of a thick layer of felt, it can be inserted up the chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use and simply removed when you want to light a fire.

11. Insulate the walls and floors

Just like your loft, uninsulated walls and floors are another big loss of heat in a home so they should be addressed quickly. Depending on when your home was built, adding insulation can be tricky so it’s important to take into consideration the age of the building. For example, homes built before 1920 had solid walls as opposed to including a cavity that can be filled with insulation. They can be insulated either internally or externally – but both solutions involve covering the existing wall finish, which can mean the loss of period features.

12. Reflect heat from radiators

Fitting enhancers behind your radiators to reflect heat back into the room is a simple and practical solution for improving your home’s efficiency. Radiator enhancers are typically made from a reflective material that bounces heat back into the room, rather than allowing it to escape through the walls.

13. Add a curtain lining

Thermally lining your curtains is a low cost way of improving the efficiency of your home. Adding in this small detail can reduce heat loss by up to 14% as it stops heat from escaping through window fittings.

14. Improve insulation to sloping ceilings

If your first floor (or second floor in a three-storey house) rooms have a sloping part, this is often because plasterboard has been fitted to allow cold air to circulate above and ventilate the rafters. This can lead to huge heat loss if not insulated properly, so make sure to fit insulation boards and re-plaster.

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your home or need some help making your dream home a reality, please get in touch to find out about our Architectural Design and Project Management services: 

[email protected]

01430 860 867

07845 175 262

Share this post
Download Our Brochure View our latest work and take inspiration for your own project. Download your free copy.
download brochure
Michelle Gaffaney
Michelle Gaffaney - Architectural Director
With a wealth of experience working on a range of projects, Michelle Gaffaney has a passion for design and strong relationships with her clients. Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn