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How to turn your leaky old house into an energy-efficient new one

Where do I start?

The first steps towards energy efficiency are insulation and sealing. Lee Hatwell, of architecture and surveying firm Munday + Cramer, said about 25% of all heat is lost through the roof of an uninsulated house. “You should also protect windows and doors from drafts and any unused open fireplaces,” he added.

There are simple and cheap solutions that can be effective. A chimney sheep is an eco-friendly draft excluder made from sheep’s wool (prices start at £18); carpets on stone or wooden floors will help with insulation; and you can buy a magnetic letterbox flap for under £30. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, however, warned Cate Statham, of Knight Frank estate agency. “Old homes have to ‘breathe’ to manage moisture, so you can’t insulate every nook and cranny,” she said.

“And use natural insulation, like sheep’s wool, fiberboard, or hemp-based products.”

The next step is heat management, said David Hilton of the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show, so make sure all radiators have their own thermostats. “Wireless zone control with motorized radiator valves is an easy upgrade as the valves clip on to replace thermostatic radiator valves and the control is hardwired to the boiler,” Hilton explained. “The setup can cost around £100-200 for the controller and around £50 per radiator for the valves.”

Single-glazed sash windows account for 20-30% of a home’s overall heat loss, said Paul Keighley, of Bramleys estate agency. “Replacing them with double glazing will cost around £1,300 each to fit (more for wooden sash windows) and can only save £200-300 a year on energy, so it’s a long-term investment,” he explained.

“If you move into an inefficient Victorian house, you can make an investment of £5,000 just to cut heating costs by around 20 per cent.”

What if my property is listed?

Modifying a listed or historic unlisted building can be complicated. You often need planning permission and a classified building permit to install green measures such as solar panels and heat pumps, said Edward Clarke of Cheffins.

Installing double glazing is a headache as it requires an LBC and in some cases a building permit. The process of obtaining consent can be lengthy, according to Dawn Carritt of the Jackson-Stops real estate agency, so she recommended working with a conservation architect.

Secondary glazing, which is where a layer of glass sits behind the original single-glazed window, is an option for listed homes.

It doesn’t require permits and may in fact be preferable to double or triple glazing, said Alex Lifschutz of architecture firm Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. “Double glazing has a relatively short lifespan of around 25 years whereas secondary glazing is weatherproof and will last for several decades,” Lifschutz explained.

Geoff Atkinson and his wife have successfully reduced energy bills in their Grade II listed 16th century Sweetmans Hall home in Pinner by adding heavy curtains, windbreaks, attic insulation and wooden floor tiles career. “There are lots of things you can do for period homes that don’t have to cost the earth,” said Mr Atkinson, 67, who works in film and now sells for £3million. pounds via Jackson-Stops.

. How to transform your old house which leaks a new house save energy

. turn leaky house energyefficient

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