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bagpuss

Making a house more energy/resource efficient

We are soon to be moving into a new house and after noticing these at my mothers house over the weekend

This inspired me to ask if there were any cheap and easy things we can do to improve how energy and resource efficient the house is as I think while we are doing diy/decorating anyway we are more likely to do more than have to remember to do it at a later date

I already intend to source energy efficient bulbs for all the lights though recommendations for where to get them from and brands which light up quickly and aren't too different in size to standard bulbs would be appreciated

The water hippo linked to above I think will be a sensible thing to get and its very cheap too which I like

We will be repainting and getting new carpets and curtains for at least some rooms

We also have the surveyor reporting on loft and cavity wall insulation and intend to ensure they are up to scratch

So any other simple things which can be done
Jonnyboy

Turn the central heating and water tank thermostats down.
Check the front and back doors for gaps and seal as necessary.
Temporarily block up unused fireplaces.
dougal

Rather than using Hippo bags (to cut flush volume), consider fitting one or more Varyflush units.
It stops flushing when you release the handle - which puts you in control!
http://www.interflush.co.uk/
£20 a time, and much, much easier to fit than you'd think from first reading of the instructions.

For seasonal priority, waterbutts!
For energy priority, insulate! If the house is a newbuild (rather than just different), it should be quite well insulated and draughtproofed.
Chimney balloons (or even scrunched up paper) make a dramatic difference to heat loss up unused chimneys!
sean

Proper heavy lined floor-length curtains provide a surprising amount of extra insulation/draught-proofing/sound-proofing.
dougal

sean wrote:
Proper heavy lined floor-length curtains provide a surprising amount of extra insulation/draught-proofing/sound-proofing.

But they are a bad companion to radiators mounted under windows! Very Happy
Which reminds me, if you take radiators off for decoration, then take the opportunity of putting reflective insulation behind them...
sean

Our radiators aren't under the windows. And they're off all the time anyway. Smile
lettucewoman

A brick in the cistern works just as well to cut down water in the flush.... Very Happy
Sarah D

Or a 1 pint plastic milk carton.

Thermal linings for winter curtains, or removalbe ones if you keep the same curtains up all year round. Or window quilts.
dougal

Bricks, milk bottles, hippo's etc just reduce the flush volume for *every* flush.

The Interflush is a matchbox sized thing that allows you to flush for as short or as long (up to the cistern size) as you *need* to.
You can vary it. No need to wait for a second try.

Its pretty easy to fit.
You just need to follow one instruction at a time.
And drill holes accurately. Through easy plastic.

I've had a Hippo. And bricks. This *is* way better than those.
AnneandMike

I use a Hippo and it works fine. Also don't flush the thing after every little pee.

Stick reflective foil onto thick card / thin hardboard cut to sit behind radiators - it doesn't fix easily to walls.

Get at least 250 mm of roof insulation in.

Wear a good fleece.
James

Iím trying to work out the importance of pointing (perhaps dougal can help out hereÖ?)

Iíve been told that after your walls have been cavity insulated, the next most important way of reducing energy loss through your wall is to keep you bricks dry. If the bricks are damp, they draw heat out from your house while they dry off (think of wet hands on a windy day- they get very cold very fast)

One way to encourage dryer walls is to ensure your pointing is smooth. This ensures that rain water runoff isnít held in the mortar joints. Thatís why pointing slopes downwards (apparentlyÖ)

Having said this, I donít know how much of a difference it really makes (dougal?). My pointing looks a little raggedy, itís on my list, but not yet doneÖ
bagpuss

certainly there are some large trees near to the house which I think may stop the walls drying out effectively if not actually cause damp themselves and those we intend to have removed

We think we may need to have some of the pointing redone too
cab

Errm... The local water company used to give hippos away for free. Have a look in our downstairs cistern this evening, you'll see one there too.

Might I ask, how did you come across that in your folks place, what were you doing messing about in the cistern? Sorry, I'm just nosey Smile
cab

As for the trees and the quality of the build, the house you're moving in to (very like ours, as you know) won't be desperately prone to damp except on the outside corner bit, where it'll cook slightly.

I believe that all of those houses had wall cavity insulation at some stage. I didn't realise that till we had heating put in, which exposed some of it when the old gas fire vents were being bricked up. Its old though, and looking a bit shoddy, we've been talking about getting ours looked at and maybe re-done, but the reccomendation we got was that its best to have any window replacements done first as that can unsettle the cacity wall insulating stuff.

Did you take lots of pictures, are you bringing them round?
bagpuss

cab wrote:
Errm... The local water company used to give hippos away for free. Have a look in our downstairs cistern this evening, you'll see one there too.

Might I ask, how did you come across that in your folks place, what were you doing messing about in the cistern? Sorry, I'm just nosey Smile


they weren't in the cistern yet, they were just out on the side
bagpuss

cab wrote:
As for the trees and the quality of the build, the house you're moving in to (very like ours, as you know) won't be desperately prone to damp except on the outside corner bit, where it'll cook slightly.

I believe that all of those houses had wall cavity insulation at some stage. I didn't realise that till we had heating put in, which exposed some of it when the old gas fire vents were being bricked up. Its old though, and looking a bit shoddy, we've been talking about getting ours looked at and maybe re-done, but the reccomendation we got was that its best to have any window replacements done first as that can unsettle the cacity wall insulating stuff.

Did you take lots of pictures, are you bringing them round?


Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures in the end, got distracted by other things, you will be able to see the property soon enough

The pointing on the corner of the property between the 2 trees is looking damaged which and everyone else thinks it might be the trees causing damp (which lead to me running between banks and surveyors a lot which was irritating)
bernie-woman

cab wrote:
Errm... The local water company used to give hippos away for free. Have a look in our downstairs cistern this evening, you'll see one there too.



Severn Trent give them out free but only one so if you have more than one loo then you will need to get more - also I am sure I can remember being told that they shouldn't be used in some toilets but can't remember why Confused
cab

bagpuss wrote:

they weren't in the cistern yet, they were just out on the side


Ohhh... Well you can see one 'in action' later Laughing
cab

bagpuss wrote:

Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures in the end, got distracted by other things, you will be able to see the property soon enough

The pointing on the corner of the property between the 2 trees is looking damaged which and everyone else thinks it might be the trees causing damp (which lead to me running between banks and surveyors a lot which was irritating)


You got a date for shifting then?

As for the two trees, it isn't the silver birch is it?

If it DOES have damp there, then it could indeed be the trees; theres no real damp spot in the soil up there, no springs or anything, its typical North Cambridge limey clay soil.

You know that 'cos I didn't have that pocket camera I didn't get to take a picure of the grass snake I saw by the Cam Sad Sods law you know, as soon as someone else has your pocket camera you're confronted with nature in all its brilliance. As soon as I get it back all I'll see is spuggies.
bagpuss

cab wrote:
bagpuss wrote:

Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures in the end, got distracted by other things, you will be able to see the property soon enough

The pointing on the corner of the property between the 2 trees is looking damaged which and everyone else thinks it might be the trees causing damp (which lead to me running between banks and surveyors a lot which was irritating)


You got a date for shifting then?

As for the two trees, it isn't the silver birch is it?

If it DOES have damp there, then it could indeed be the trees; theres no real damp spot in the soil up there, no springs or anything, its typical North Cambridge limey clay soil.

You know that 'cos I didn't have that pocket camera I didn't get to take a picure of the grass snake I saw by the Cam Sad Sods law you know, as soon as someone else has your pocket camera you're confronted with nature in all its brilliance. As soon as I get it back all I'll see is spuggies.


Vendor is keen to move, need to wait for the survey etc but the start of July is looking at least plausible if not likely

Its two or more great big conifers which we will want out, need to get some quotes really
cab

bagpuss wrote:

Vendor is keen to move, need to wait for the survey etc but the start of July is looking at least plausible if not likely

Its two or more great big conifers which we will want out, need to get some quotes really


Quotes? You ruin all our fun. Me and your bloke could borrow some ropes and have them down no fuss, we'd probably only wreck your fence Wink

Actually, I think my old mate Robin (the bloke with the Uber Cat) has done some of that before, I think he was helping out a mate of his who did it for a living. I'll ask him if he knows anyone in the business round here now.
bagpuss

cab wrote:

Quotes? You ruin all our fun. Me and your bloke could borrow some ropes and have them down no fuss, we'd probably only wreck your fence Wink

Actually, I think my old mate Robin (the bloke with the Uber Cat) has done some of that before, I think he was helping out a mate of his who did it for a living. I'll ask him if he knows anyone in the business round here now.


I think for ease and safetys sake we will get professionials to take the trees down

you might get asked for assistance in hanging doors though
judith

bagpuss wrote:
you might get asked for assistance in hanging doors though


Does that involve chainsaws too?
bagpuss

judith wrote:
bagpuss wrote:
you might get asked for assistance in hanging doors though


Does that involve chainsaws too?


maybe to destroy the old doors
cab

bagpuss wrote:

you might get asked for assistance in hanging doors though


Oddly enough, I've never hung a door bigger than the one on our kitchen cabinets. Our lodger swears that hes a dab hand though, and he'll usually help out on jobs for food and a kind word.
Jonnyboy

cab wrote:

he'll usually help out on jobs for food and a kind word.


Nice one Rigsby.
bagpuss

cab wrote:
bagpuss wrote:

you might get asked for assistance in hanging doors though


Oddly enough, I've never hung a door bigger than the one on our kitchen cabinets. Our lodger swears that hes a dab hand though, and he'll usually help out on jobs for food and a kind word.


Well it can be a learning experience for you and rob then, might though is that is ric can manage it you two and possible peter shouldn't find it too hard
cab

bagpuss wrote:

Well it can be a learning experience for you and rob then, might though is that is ric can manage it you two and possible peter shouldn't find it too hard


Hang on, your bloke and two of his mates can do it, and theres no way that you're hanging your own doors, is that it?

I hope theres a lot of cake involved.
cab

Jonnyboy wrote:
cab wrote:

he'll usually help out on jobs for food and a kind word.


Nice one Rigsby.


Its quite extraordinary, you start stripping tiles off the walls, painting, putting up shelves, and there he is desperate to help. Its amazing what people will do to avoid working on a PhD thesis.
bagpuss

cab wrote:
bagpuss wrote:

Well it can be a learning experience for you and rob then, might though is that is ric can manage it you two and possible peter shouldn't find it too hard


Hang on, your bloke and two of his mates can do it, and theres no way that you're hanging your own doors, is that it?

I hope theres a lot of cake involved.


I will of done lots of painting and the working parties will indeed receive cake or other suitable recompense for the work done
Jonnyboy

If he wants to fail completely, I need help with a fence.
BahamaMama

and I have a greenhouse that needs assembling....
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