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Best way to heat an old house: How to improve heating efficiency in a listed or period property

Best way to heat an old house revealed

Is your dream to own a period or listed property and with heaps of character?

Before you make the jump into such a big purchase its important you are educated on the different needs of this type of property. Older homes tend to get a bad rep about being very inefficient when it comes to energy use, however, new evidence has shown that some older properties are actually more efficient than first thought and might actually outperform modern homes for energy consumption and comfort.

Are older properties really lacking in energy efficiency and what is the best way to heat an old house?

For example many people believe older thick internal any people believe thick limestone internal walls make a house very hard to heat when infact research has shown that heat can actually be trapped in the home longer than a modern house which is far more lightweight. Although some older homes take far longer to heat up meaning heating bills are higher overall.

Firstly, before you start researching what changes you could make to your property, its important to distinguish between a listed property and a period property.  Generally speaking a period property is any property dating constructed prior to WW1, while most listed properties  predate 1840.

Listed properties are graded depending on their importance such as historical value and come with certain responsibilities, this distinction may affect how you go about making changes to the property including an energy efficient tasks.

  • Undertake general maintenance checks on a regular basis.
    • Keeping gutters and downpipes clear and regular boiler servicing helps to ensure you can spot any small issues before they could become costly problems.
  • Insulate the loft
    • If you can, insulating the roof space will help trap more heat within your home. However older properties need to be able to ‘breathe’ so it is best to stick to natural insulation products over man made fibre glass. Older homes absorb and release moisture so fibreglass can cause damp issues.


  • Lag pipes and hot water cylinders.
    • Keep water hotter for longer by lagging the water tank and pipes.


  • Consider replacing your inefficient boiler
    • A new boiler can improve your efficiency greatly. Moving from a G-Rated boiler to an A-Rated could also save you hundreds of £’s a year. As well as being more carbon efficient.


  • Heat loss through windows
    • It’s always sad to see beautiful old timber framed windows being replaced by double glazing through fear of inefficiency. Luckily, many companies can now either repair older timber framed windows or you can opt for secondary glazing, essentially an internal window which fits on the inside of the window and is not visible from the outside of the building. Secondary window glazing can reduce heat loss by 50%! Meaning it is as good or even better than double glazing.


We hope you enjoyed our top tips on the best way to heat an old house and how you can still be energy efficient in an older home. For more information or if you have any questions


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