Heating in a modern home can come from a variety of sources and there is now a myriad of different technologies that come together to comprise a modern heating system. We now have more ways than ever to generate heat, from renewables, such as wind and solar, as well as more conventional sources such as electricity generated from the burning of fossil fuels.
Many old buildings were designed when a fireplace was the only real way of heating a building. As such, the design prioritises insulation, although insulation, as it was many years ago, is very different to how it is now.
Whether they are homes or stately manors, many old buildings now require heating. Some are retrofitted with the latest technology, but others are so old that to fit new technology would be prohibitively expensive. Other buildings are listed as protected and as such cannot be modified. Below are some words of advice from experts on how to approach heating older buildings.
Begin with the Simplest Solutions
Before you start thinking about a big, expensive heating upgrade, you should first take some basic, simple steps to insulate your home and improve its heat trapping efficiency. Fit draught excluders to letterboxes and to the bottom of any outside doors. Replacing curtains with new ones made from a heavier material will help to increase the efficiency of the building’s insulation. Where you have radiators ensure, that there isn’t furniture placed in front of them; if you have a sofa in front of your radiator then the only thing you’re going to be heating is that back of the sofa! If you have noticeable gaps in any walls, whether they face the outside world or not, you should fill these in using an appropriate method.
Start Off Cheap and Easy
This is particularly important if preserving the aesthetic qualities of the building is important to you. Following the simplest steps outlined above means you will then have eliminated the most common causes of heating problems in old buildings. After this, you should build up slowly and surely. There is no sense jumping straight for retrofitting an expensive, modern system before you know if something as simple as double glazing will do the job.
If you come to the conclusion that some modern upgrades are necessary, then you should continue to approach it cautiously. Make one improvement at a time and assess the effectiveness before spending more. Selecting the right kind of radiator, for example, is important. If you have never attempted anything like this before, you might not know the difference between flat radiators and bench radiators. If you know someone who has experience renovating houses, consult with them. If you know anyone who has specifically worked with older buildings, then you should definitely consult them. Some buildings will require you to obtain permission before you are allowed to carry out any major modifications, so check with your local authority first.
Modernising the heating in an old building presents a unique challenge for home renovators, but is a worthwhile undertaking that will increase your knowledge of modern insulation and heating, as well as giving you a chance to make an old building even more homely.