Carbon footprint in older homes

May 20th 2014
By: Melanie Hollidge

Older homes especially our beloved Victorian terraces are often rich with the appeal of historical character which is why so many of us want to live in them. But how can we make them comfortable and efficient homes. The summer is the best time to make sure you have done as much as you can to prepare for next winter.
Old houses are amazing, but those draughty chimneys, rattling windows and ancient boilers can play havoc with your carbon cutting plans if you spent the winter thinking that you must do something about it, now is the time to act.
Loft insulation is an obvious and essential part of saving energy, as is having proper floor and window insulation. In its simplest form the best way to insulate floors and windows are with thick curtains and carpets. If you want bare boards it is a good idea to caulk any gaps.
One of the simplest ways of minimising drafts from disused chimneys is to use a chimney balloon that is inflated in the flue to stop the wind whistling down.  Many more people are using their chimneys for their intended purpose but fitting a stove which reduces mess and minimises drafts while maximising the heat efficiency of any fire.
Another really effective way of energy saving is by swapping an old boiler for a newer more energy efficient one. Modern condensing boilers can achieve efficiencies of over 90% in ideal conditions, while old boilers range from 65% for really old boilers to about 80% for the best non-condensing boilers. So replacing an old boiler for a new condensing model of the same output would save 28%. For a 24kW boiler, that's 10kwh per hour of operation.