I love old houses. I’ve lived in them for most of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just find them more enjoyable to live in. I won’t deny that they’re usually less sensibly laid out that modern homes. Often they’ve been converted in the past, sometimes multiple times – and sometimes radically. In fact the house I live in now used to be a stable block. My bedroom was a hay loft, and its window used to be a door. Like many old houses it’s also gradually settled over the last couple of hundred years, and now I doubt if there’s a level floor or a right angled corner in the place. I don’t mind any of that, though. Old houses have character, and like many other people I like that.
There’s one thing nobody likes about old houses, though, and that’s trying to make them more energy efficient. Old construction methods make for solid homes that will last for a long time, but it can be difficult to retrofit them with modern energy-saving measures. I can’t install cavity wall insulation, for example, because my walls don’t have any cavities to put it in. Luckily, 18 inches of stone is a pretty good insulator anyway.
Old Glass Is Inefficient.
Other parts of old houses aren’t so great, though, and the worst offender is windows. There’s a reason our ancestors liked heavy, lined curtains; in winter, they were the only thing that prevented all the heat in your home from vanishing out the windows. When it comes to energy efficiency there’s no comparison at all between a modern, sealed double-glazed unit and an old-fashioned sash and case window with single-glazed panes. The draughtiness of sash and case windows is exaggerated; as long as it’s well maintained, a strip of foam on top of the sliding lower part will pretty much eliminate draughts. The real problem is those big single-glazed panes. They’re great at letting in the summer sun, but when the weather gets cold they offer no insulation at all – and you usually can’t convert them to double glazing while preserving the appearance and character of your home.
Luckily, if you’re fed up wasting money on heating your garden but you don’t want to rip out your beautiful old sash windows and replace them with plastic ones, there’s a solution. You can fit your windows with heat-reflecting film, so most of the heat that would have escaped through the glass is reflected back into the room instead. Because that heat stays inside, you can turn the heating down and still keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Heat-reflecting, or low-emissivity (Low-E) film is a high quality plastic laminate that’s made up of an adhesive backing and a tough protective face, with a thin layer impregnated with tiny metal particles sandwiched between them. These particles are so small they’re invisible to the naked eye, but depending on the film they reflect between 85% and 97% of the infrared radiation – heat – that hits the film. Your windows will still be perfectly transparent; unless you choose a tinted film there’s very little reduction in how much light gets in. The difference is they’re not transparent to heat anymore. A professionally fitted window film is as effective as adding another layer of glazing, so you’ll get the benefits of double glazing without having
to replace your attractive old windows.
Window Film Is The Attractive Solution.
The uses of window film go beyond sash windows, of course. Many old houses have other glass features, for example a decorative skylight over the front door. Like glass panels in the door itself these often include stained glass, and there’s no modern replacement for that at all. You can have double glazing or stained glass; you can’t have both. Happily, you can fit Low-E film to stained glass, so you can preserve the beauty of your home without sky-high energy bills.
If you love how your house looks, but the high cost of energy has you dreading the arrival of the next bill, it’s time to investigate the benefits of heat-retaining window film on old houses. It’s cheaper than new windows, and lets you hang on to the classic appearance you want.
Our team can professionally fit window film to your old house. Please feel free to contact us for a completely free no-obligation quote today.