We all love the romance and beauty of older buildings. Some of us are very privileged to be able to live in one. The architecture and structure of older homes are unique to that time. Modern properties just don’t have the grace and style of the house’s past. Instead, they are functional for a modern age, and far more concerned with environmental impact than esthetic beauty.
But it’s the economics of running an older home in a modern age that can put lots of people off buying them. With open fireplaces come draughty open chimneys. Original sash windows let heat escape all around the single pane of glass. And the brickwork offers little in the way of protection from the cold with no insulation. All the modern improvements that are needed to make your home more economical will cost you time and money.
There are a couple of things you can do immediately to cut down the cost of running your older home. Start by finding the cheapest energy tariff you can by comparing online or using a service like Gocollective. This will immediately reduce the unit cost of electricity and gas as soon as you’ve switched. Then you can start putting those savings toward the upgrades your older home needs.
Windows can’t always be replaced. But you can add a secondary glazing unit to reduce the noise coming in and the heat escaping out. Use thermal curtains to further reduce heat loss. Next, you can check the condition of your heating system. If your boiler is more than twenty years old, a new one could save you a fortune. It will be more efficient and cost less in gas to operate. Newer radiators may also provide more warmth for less cost.
Be sure to bleed the air out of your radiators every season. This ensures they get completely hot. Turn your thermostat down to 18 or 19 degrees to save further. Loft insulation will prevent the heat escaping out of your roof. It can be provided free of charge in some cases. Check your loft and hatch are fully insulated, and that the roof is watertight. Any pipes can also be lagged to reduce heat loss.
Many older homes are unsuitable for solar panels, but older homes tend to come with larger gardens. This means you could have panels or a wind turbine installed there. A strong garage roof may be able to take the weight of your panels. You can also use water harvesting to save on any water bills for your garden. Best of all, a large garden lends itself to growing your own fruit and vegetables. This can save you money on your grocery bills.
Older homes require a little more love and maintenance than new-builds. But they will always look so beautiful when they are cared for. I love the architecture of properties from the past. This passion for design seems to be lost on modern architects sometimes. Keep your home warm with these tips and ideas, and it can continue to be a standing testament to wonderful design for years to come.