We are only the current guardians of our homes, looking after them in preparation for the next.
My classic Victorian end terrace house is perpetually cold with dubious areas of damp. It was becoming apparent that these damp areas, flaking paint and discolouration on the walls, can’t be ignored anymore.
These symptoms result from the poor choices made by previous guardians. Who, at the time, probably thought they were doing what was best for the property. We now know better and it’s time for a few things to be undone.
The ownership of a house always requires some form of maintenance, however, it’s not just a physical change that is required, but a person, social and environmental one; a holistic approach.
The evidence-led approach provides a clear understanding of why, how, what and where the house is reacting in this way.
Looking at things in context, the short, medium and long term also, makes you think about the future ownership of this house and how I could make a more positive contribution as part of its history.
Here are some of the key observations made during the site visit and home tutorial.
A cold corner inside – moisture from the kitchen is then pulled to the cold corner.
The cold corner outside – the guttering next door was blocked. Regardless of whether this could be causing ingress, water frequently wetting the outside of the fabric will cause evaporative cooling, making this cold corner even colder.
Chimney – closure plate is missing, cold air is falling into the room. Mineral wool insulation should be packed around the flue pipe to prevent air ingress.
Internal doors – All require a little care and repair to reinstate their functionality. The sitting room door has no handle.
Obsolete vent – behind the dishwasher is a 10cm hole, evidence of a now long gone tumble dryer. The air ingress is making the tiled kitchen floor cold and allowing air warm air to escape at the other end of the house.
Loft – a good thick layer of insulation covers the attic, however, the loft hatch is unsealed, warm air escapes unnoticed whilst pulling in cold air from other parts of the house.
The loft hatch was so draughty that it was decided to seal it with the foam gun as a quick and easy win, ‘Don’t beware the temporary measure’.
The old draughty hatch was soon replaced with a new insulated and draught sealed hatch with integrated ladder. So now it’s not only warm but easier to get things in and out of the attic.
This combined with sealing the 100mm hole hiding behind the kitchen appliance gave an immediate result, the house was noticeably warmer in under an hour. Being able to see the difference this quickly was very motivating.
Don’t beware the temporary measure – replacing the loft hatch has been on the to-do list for ten years. Sealing miscellanies holes with a foam applicator gun only took ten minutes and the house was noticeably warmer within the hour.