We all love our old homes for what they are. The truest sense of love is not about possession and treating it like it’s a mere trinket in your pocket. The way you really love someone, or something is about appreciation. The problem is, old homes have their own personalities that they have shaped and made for decades but they do need looking after to maintain their quirks as well as maintaining their value. In this recent cold weather, we have sometimes struggled to control the temperature in the old house; in fact, we often wake up to condensation on the windows in these freezing temperatures!
Controlling the temperature
Controlling the temperature in these aged homes is by far one of the most difficult things you have to do. For one thing, the loss of heat and the intrusion of water into the home is tricky to control. So how can you teach an old home new tricks when it comes to temperature tampering? Here are some tips that may be useful to you.
First and foremost, dealing with the gaps from the exterior can be a mission in itself; this can be made harder by old door and frames. The gusts of wind that batter the home and invade the rooms can be caught. Old houses were built with open fires and stoves in mind so needed these gaps to let in fresh air. With modern living and central heating, these gaps can be a nuisance. With a draught excluder planted at the foot of each door, the inner sanctum of the home can be insulated quite well. They don’t hinder the movement of a door’s rotation, and they’re lightweight too, so you don’t need to heave doors open all the time. You do need to allow the house to breathe but you also don’t want to be sitting in a draught at night!
Attacks from above
Old homes are susceptible to bombardments from the skies just like new homes. Unfortunately, although those fantastic slate tiles look great, they don’t usually offer a stoic resolve to the elements once they have aged. It’s okay because we all love them anyway; they’re the classic countryside cottage look. To ensure a clean and easy way to maintain your roof space, you can install loft hatches. Fully powder coated to provide good protection from knocks and scrapes, a picture frame loft hatch is ideal for old ceilings. Because the best companies will make the hatch blend seamlessly into the ceiling, these ‘newer’ contraptions won’t break up the style of the old home. We have recently put in a loft hatch and it’s made all the difference for enabling us to check the loft insulation as well as giving us access to another storage area.
Cats and dogs add their own element to an old home. You’re already living in an environment which is rustic but pets make a house a home in my opinion. We used to have an old cat flap in the old house which all the pets used! Now, of course, we didn’t want to remove it as it would mean we had to open and close the door to let our furry friends in all the time. However, it had to go as it was letting in lots of cold air. Instead a new one may be in order! They have a rubber sealed flap to solve the issue of heat escaping from the home. The rubber seal grips the sides of the frame and thus creates suction for the flap to remain snugly fitted. I found this dog flap which I thought looked amazing; I wonder if it would work for Dottie?
Letting your old home breathe
The most important factor I have learnt since living in the old house is to let the house breathe. As I mentioned, you don’t want to feel draught all the time but equally, you need to allow the damp in the house to escape. This means opening doors upstairs to allow a free flow of air, having vents in the bathrooms and putting in an extractor fan in the kitchen. A simpler solution can sometimes be possible and effective. That is to return to the way the house was intended to deal with damp. This means allowing maximum acceptable ventilation, together with appropriate heating and using only suitable ‘breathable’ finishes inside and outside over a totally ‘breathable’ fabric.
Perhaps our old homes should be having a temperature tantrum as they weren’t built to deal with modern living in mind but we love them anyway.
Old house plans update
Slight delays at the moment on the build.We are waiting for scaled drawings often the new roof so that our lovely builders can make a start. We wanted to start by April so it’s frustrating waiting but we also know that it has to be right. We do have a car park at the front of the house now though! They have cleared the front to allow access for all their machines. I think it looks like a doctor’s car park! Have you an appointment?!
A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.