Living in a classic? How to keep older homes warm
As temperatures continue to drop and we reach for warmer layers, let’s think about the ways you can blanket your home and keep that warmth indoors. It doesn’t have to be cold just because it’s old; there are plenty of modern ways to keep older homes cosy when winter strikes. From dealing with dampness and draughts, to the best heat sources and how to retain that heat, let’s look at some key areas that make all the difference in an older home.
Picture this. You and a friend both get in the car and turn the air-con on as hot as it goes. You’re wearing a puffer jacket, they’re in a singlet. Who’s going to get hot faster and stay that way longer? The same idea applies to your house. Good insulation makes it easier to retain heat, lowering those power bills and making you feel more comfortable. If you haven’t upgraded it in a while, this should be one of the first things you look into to improve your older home’s winter defences.
Older homes are not airtight like their modern counterparts so get some sealant and go around the house plugging any gaps or holes, particularly around windows.
Also block draughts coming in under doors, and close off any rooms not needing to be heated.
Make sure your home is dry
Older homes tend to be much damper too. The more moisture there is in the air, the cooler it will be so try some of these ways of drying out your home and preventing mass moisture build up going forward:
- Home ventilation system.
- Crack (north facing) windows during the day for airflow.
- Get a dehumidifier (they cost about $156 a year to run but you’ll notice invaluable change in the comfort of your drier environment.)
- ShowerDome in the bathroom.
- Extractor fan in the bathroom.
- Vent clothes dryer outside (if you don’t have a clothes dryer, try to avoid drying washing in the house during winter. Opt for the garage if its wet outside, but even a small amount of sunshine is good for your laundry.)
- Rangehood in the kitchen and use lids on pots and pans.
Windows and curtains
If you can afford to upgrade to double glazing it’s well worth the investment. If not, there are temporary seasonal measures like insulating window film from Bunnings that you can put on yourself. There’s a useful how-to video on the Energywise site.
Another way to try and reduce heat loss through old single glazed windows is with curtains. According to Energywise they can “reduce heat loss through windows by 60% for single glazed windows. A thick, closely woven fabric offers the best insulation and make sure any window coverings have a thermal lining. Ensure a snug fit on both sides of the window and at the top to stop warm air sneaking away and cold air leaking in. And when possible, it’s best to have curtains that touch the floor or break at the floor.
Depending on how old your home is you may already have a powerful heater installed. Coming in at around 16 cents an hour they offer a massive 8kW of heat; so if you’re able to pair your fireplace with a wetback or a heat transfer system you can double down on savings, and heat your hot water as well as the rest of your home. A downside to wood burning comes with the constant supply of fuel you’ll need on standby – wood isn’t plugged in to your home the way electricity or gas is. Expensive to install brand-new there are cheaper options to consider, but if you’re lucky enough to have one already you can’t argue with the cosiness of a fireplace.
Move beds and couches away from windows during winter. Sitting or sleeping near them will be a lot colder.
As far as cost-effective options go, heat pumps are incredibly versatile and pack quite the punch for relatively low running costs – exactly what you want for heating an older home. Costing around 10 cents to run per hour they can produce 4.5kW of heat for every kW of electricity used; so by choosing one over a traditional electric heater, you’ll be able to heat a much larger area with far more control.
We’ve helped many families living in older homes improve their winter comfort levels through smart heating solutions. Book an in-home consultation with one of our experts today.