Archives for posts with tag: draught-proofing

We had some old pillows that came along with the old duvet that I used to insulate the loft hatch. We decided to use them for draft-proofing the chimneys because we’d looked into chimney balloons already (and bought one, before promptly losing it somewhere).

First, I had to clean out the grates and fire surrounds, with help from my sweep’s devil: P1020863

I got a good look at the chimneys after clearing away the ironmongery. The chimneys are lined with a sectioned ceramic pipe, built in when the house was constructed:

P1020860I expected a rougher, square section, something a bit more chimneys of Greenknowe. A circular section, however, means a rolled up pillow goes in like a Pooh bear into a rabbit hole:

P1020862I did a couple of bedrooms, with the spare room to go. Guests in the spare room have commented on the chimney noise in some strong winds (“I thought you’d been stuffing pillows up there.”), with no hint of noise in the bedrooms I’ve done. This is promising; in the worst gales I get woken by the whistling winds in the chimney and less noise means fewer draughts.



A recent article in the Guardian summed up the steps to take to to increase the efficiency and cosiness of an old, leaky house. We’ve done quite a few things mentioned and plan a few more. It advocates a less invasive approach to start with, rather than investing in modern systems designed for modern houses. We’ve already installed a wood-fueled heating system and turned off the oil-fired range. We’re a stove or two short of the ideal of heating the whole downstairs with wood, though we do heat each room individually as recommended.

I am steadily draught-proofing floorboards, skirting boards and window alcoves to cut down cold draughts into the house. Other sources of heat loss are thermal bridges: these are uninsulated areas within a larger insulated area. The classic one is the loft hatch, so I got to work on it after inheriting an old duvet (the loft hatch is in my office).

P1020868A lovely duvet sandwich, with a loft hatch underneath somewhere. I made the top battens a little too long to start with, so the sides of the duvet wouldn’t flip up enough to fit the hatch. Once they were shorter it dropped in nicely into place. So far it seems a little better in the office, especially with a little simple heating during the day (another post to come).

No updates for a while (in fact, this whole month- oops!) Not that that means nothing much has been happening, quite the opposite. We’ve been busy entertaining our first WWOOFers, who’ve been helping us move snowdrops, dig up shrubs and today gathering and chopping wood for the stoves. When the weather has been really bad (and we’ve been lucky in that regard given what’s been happening in the south of England) they’ve been busy indoors helping us to paint the kitchen and do more draught-proofing.

The latest big project has been getting the worst of our sash windows repaired/replaced. The front windows in the playroom and lounge were done first, followed by the rotten one in the new kitchen. They look a lot better and are much less draughty. Now they’re in we’re working on the surrounding architrave and woodwork, filling gaps with filler and caulk to help them keep the heat it in more effectively. We’ve also bought beading to install around the skirting board in the lounge. It’s all helping to make the house warmer and more efficient but it’s a long, slow process.