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Getting ready for winter: insulating jobs to-do list

Posted by on Tuesday 24 August 2010 in frugal, green | 0 comments

We moved into our new house at the very end of September last year. The first weekend after we moved in there were gales which felt like they were blowing through the house and then we had the coldest winter in a long time — we very quickly learned how poor the insulation/draught-proofing was here and realised in hindsight how snug our last (considerably smaller) house had been!

I pledged to spend the spring/summer months completing small insulating tasks to get the house ready for winter this year – to save wasting energy and therefore money — but here it is near the end of August and I’ve hardly started, so I think it’s time for a to-do list which will hold me accountable for my actions!

  • Check/fix the rubber seals around all the external doors Most of it is there but some of it has fallen off. I’ll restick it into position. As we have a lot of external doors, this should cut down a lot of draughts.
    • Find out what glue will be needed
    • Buy glue if necessary

  • Line the curtains in the dining room. The ones we’ve look warm and thick but are actually pretty thin. Mum has given me some lining from old curtains at her house so it’s just a case of fixing the two together. Lining the curtains will considerably reduce the heat loss via the window.
    • Figure out how to do it
    • Buy cotton to match the curtains if necessary
    • “Service” sewing machine (probably not for the lining but to shorten them at the same time)
  • Change the curtains in the bedroom. The curtains (which the old owners left) in there are very thin and actually stop 18cm short of the bottom of the window (!). We don’t use them really – we’re not overlooked and it’s nice to be woken up by the morning sun — but it’ll stop heatloss in the room.
    • See if some spare curtains we’ve got will work there
    • If not, buy some more & fit them
  • Fit “window dressing” in the office. The windows have been bare since we moved into the room in April – not overlooked and the morning light is fantastic. But it’s a lot of window space so best do what we can.
    • Investigate whether thermal roller blinds are any good for insulation
    • If so, buy & fit said thermal roller blinds.
    • If not, buy & fit curtains
  • Change the “solid” door on the landing to a partial glazed one to reduce heatloss upstairs but allow light in from the front window. A cheat to-do as we’ve already done it, the landing was very dark this year, it’s beautifully light now.
  • Consider insulation issues while doing the major DIY jobs over the winter. We’re renovating the living room & bathroom – both rooms could very easily lose a couple of inches on the walls/ceiling if it would improve heat retention.
  • Also, while the plumbing’s being fiddled with up there, lag the bathroom water pipes. And also any exposed ones from the boiler to the hot water tap in the kitchen.
  • Improve the “seal” in the dining room chimney. If I recall correctly, there is just a bag of insulation shoved up there – I think it can be improved and made considerably less draughty.
  • Fix up the sun-porch. It’s a great air-lock at the front of the house but single-glazed and draughty. This is not so much an insulation focused job as a general maintenance task during which I need to consider if extra insulation – secondary glazing on the windows/roof, draught-excluding the outer door – will make enough of a difference to be worth the cost/material usage.

Bigger longer term projects – for example, more roof insulation and insulation between floors – will take place when we’re working on the relevant rooms but there is no excuse to delay on these small tasks – I really should get on with them!

Have you got any insulation/draught-proofing work to do before winter? What do you think makes the biggest difference for the least cost?

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