Old heritage homes may be stunning and highly valuable in the housing market, but they offer a different dilemma to their owners: Renovating them is hard work and they are expensive to maintain!
Among the most difficult aspects to improve and maintain in almost all heritage homes, whether it be a Victorian, Edwardian, or a Queen Anne home, is thermal comfort. An old home composed of old and draughty chimneys, original double hung windows, lathe and plaster walls and high ceilings with ceiling roses makes it challenging for homeowners to make their living spaces thermally efficient.
In extremes of summer and winter, it is even more difficult to lock in comfortable temperatures because indoor air can easily be lost outdoors through the multitude of draughty areas. As a broad generalisation, heritage homes are reasonably comfortable in summer, due to the height of the ceilings and solid walls, but they are especially frigid spaces during winter.
An extensive renovation would be the easiest recourse to solve this problem. But altering the original design of a heritage property would mean sacrificing its historical character and authenticity, as well as potential issues with Council and heritage groups.
The Best Energy Efficient Solutions for Heritage Homes
Fortunately, there are less costly and non-invasive ways to regain thermal comfort and improve the energy efficiency performance of heritage homes. Insulating and draft-proofing old homes can significantly lower your carbon footprint and introduce a whole level of thermal comfort all year round! Oh yes, can retrofitting can reduce your energy bill by up to 50 percent! Here are some specifics on how you can improve your home’s thermal comfort for the long term:
1. Draught proof Your Doors and Windows.
Prevent heat exchange in summer and winter by tightly sealing your doors and windows. Draft-proof your door by applying Draught Dodgers. These Draught Dodgers are a set of moldings and compression seals fitted at the perimeter of doors for a tight seal, blocking off the entry and exit of air. To prevent the air from penetrating through the bottom of your door, install a Draught Excluder.
Filling gaps around your windows is a budget-friendly alternative to replacing your old windows. Improving your window sash insulation by applying window draught proofing strips on the window frames to seal the gaps and cracks eliminates the need for a window replacement (unless of course if your window panes are broken!).
For rattly double-hung windows, use draught stoppers to block off air from the perimeter and center join of the windows.
To make your windows even smarter, retrofit them with durable double glazing. Our ecoGlaze® Double Glazing is a crystal-clear acrylic panel fitted to your window frame to trap a still-air between your existing windows and the ecoGlaze® acrylic panel.
This layer of air can reduce the heat transfer through your glass window. ecoGlaze® Double Glazing can be easily applied to all timber windows and some aluminium windows
2. Insulate Your Ceiling and Under your Floors.
Adding a lofty layer of polyester insulation above your ceiling helps contain your heating in winter and prevent it from escaping your home. In summer, it helps absorb the heat that goes into your home through the attic. The same effect happens when you’re adding insulation underneath your suspended floors.
3. Draught proof Your Chimney and Fireplace.
Chimneys and fireplaces are notorious passageways for air. They are designed to draw out air from the home without necessarily lighting a fire. Here’s how to stop chimney draughts: Use a top damper. Fitted on top of the chimney, the pivoting flap of the damper seals the chimney as it closes, blocking off draft.
If you fireplace is not used at all, or intermittently, use a Chimney Draught Stopper. This is high-density foam rubber cut to fit firmly into the chimney throat that connects the fireplace and the chimney and is available here.
4. Seal Off Gaps and Cracks.
Tiny openings present in random areas in your home can negatively affect your thermal comfort in that outside air can seep in through these spaces. How tight you seal these air leaks is crucial in managing your thermal comfort in summer and winter. Look for these gaps and cracks around your windows, architraves, door perimeters, floorboards, and air vents. Use a flexible, durable, mould resistant, and water-based sealant to cover up these spaces.
Investing in a quality home insulation and draft-proofing methods will improve your home life regardless of seasons. Besides reducing your financial burden, energy efficiency will also improve the value of your well-loved heritage home.
If you are keen to learn more about making your home more energy efficient but have other priorities right at the moment, consider spending $1 per week for 52 weeks to find out the why, what, how by the award-winning industry experts in retrofit – ecoMaster. Sign up for 52 Ways to Live Better