It’s a brand new week and I can FINALLY share that we have central heating once again! My goodness, we’ve been riding on the coattails of an unusually mild autumn. When we took the radiator off the wall in the living room way back in that gloriously hot summer to get the room replastered, I don’t think we ever envisaged it would take us all these months to find a replacement and get it fitted.
But like all the jobs we do, nothing is half-hearted and without quality and thought. We’re committed to creating our forever home so taking our time to make proper long-term improvements is super important.
I love our 1930s semi. But there is no denying it needed and continues to need a lot of TLC. The house was built over 80 years ago and it’s fair to say it wasn’t designed with the same energy efficiency standards as many modern homes today.
So whilst writing our plan of action (and endless to-do lists) we focused not only on how to improve the house cosmetically, but its energy efficiency too. And I won’t lie, the initial outlay is expensive. Painfully pricey. But we really think that investing in our home renovations will give us major long-term benefits.
Here are some of the things we have considered during our renovations which we’re gradually putting in practice too.
We moved in to our home in February 2014 so spring was right around the corner. After our first winter here of 2014-15, I said to Pete in the New Year “That’s it, we’re changing the windows”. It was bitter, and although the house did have double-glazing it was at least 15 years old and really not effective. Installing new double-glazed windows will help to reduce your energy usage by stopping the heat escaping, keeping your home warmer for longer. The average home loses 10% of its heat through windows (and doors) so they are key to making your home more energy efficient.
We started by replacing all the old windows across the front of the house with brand new energy efficient ones and it has made a massive difference to the warmth throughout the entire house, ideal for these cold winter evenings. Plus, the look so much better and have increased the value of the house more than the windows cost to install.
During the extremely lengthy process of updating our living room (it’s only been four years and counting…) one of the main things we wanted to do was upgrade the lighting. We have moved light switches from behind doors and replaced the old pendant ceiling light with new downlighters. Even though we’re not really fans of ceiling lighting, when we do need some bright lights on these darker days, the downlighters are so much more effective than a single pendant. We always opt for energy efficient LED light bulbs as they generally last between 10 and 40 times longer than compact fluorescents and incandescent bulbs, saving energy and money.
Ah, heating. The bain of my life as I’m sure you all know. I could basically live in a tropical environment and still be cold. Our boiler is in fairly good nick but when we proceed with our major ground floor extension it’s going to be relocated and so we may invest in a new one. It’s always a good idea to have an annual maintenance check just to make sure it’s all working tickety-boo and if it’s not, think about an upgrade. Switching from an old non-condensing to a new condensing boiler can save you up to £340 per year.
I’d also look at any gas or electric fires you might have as old systems often burn a lot of unnecessary energy. When we moved in there was an old gas fire that we were terrified to use in case we blew up the house. When we did eventually get round to ripping it out, our up the road neighbour who conveniently happens to be a chimney sweep said it was actually so old it was illegal…!
So without any further haste, out it came and we’ve since been enjoying our very cosy log burner every winter. It’s so good at creating warmth that we rarely need to use the central heating at all and is far cheaper to run. Win, win!
It really is amazing what a difference an energy efficient home can make. Not only is it saving us so much money, when we’ve completed our window and radiator upgrade it will make the home much faster to warm up. Just in time for chillier weather.
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