Keeping your Period Home Warm

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A converted Victorian school house in Frome, Somerset, is the home of Katy Duke and husband Richard Swann, who love their beautiful historic cottage. The period property features cream coloured local dressed limestone, giving it a wonderful charm. It has retained the large open space and long windows of the time, designed to allow light into the classrooms as there was no electricity when it was built. This does however mean a rather draughty living space, coupled with the fact that the windows are single glazed prompting the need to don thermals.

After 20 years in the house, the couple decided it was time to seek a solution to the significant and expensive heat loss they were experiencing according to an article in The Telegraph. Kathy said, “Last year, we decided we couldn’t continue heating the garden, so replaced some of the single-paned windows with double-glazed fixed units. However, some of the windows are beautiful Victorian sashes with original glazing – it’s uneven and one pane has a scratched signature on it – I like to think it was a bored schoolchild.”

This is an age old problem for owners of older properties, wanting to preserve all of the original aspects and character of a beloved structure, whilst suffering from blue noses and chilblains, not to mention depleted funds. The Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, advises people who are unable to change their period windows, to use tactics like closing curtains and shutters at night to retain heat. Researchers used thermal imaging cameras to show the positive results of this type of action.

Katy used insulated roller blinds with several layers including metallic space blanket material, which proved to be highly effective. Research undertaken by Dr Paul Baker at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Centre for Research on Indoor Climate and Health, looked at available double glazing alternatives. A pretty good outcome was seen with secondary glazing with insulated shutters, and secondary glazing with curtains.

Installation of high quality double glazing is ideal if possible and can be used for many homes in areas like Billericay, Essex, which have a large percentage of historic properties. Specialists like Essex Trade Windows have a range of coloured frames such as black and dark grey, that fit perfectly within these surroundings.

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