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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  15/12/2007  :  07:03
I thought it might be a good thing to have a topic devoted to this important subject.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 26/09/2008 : 15:43
Not too sure about the long range forecast.  Key thing this summer has been the jet stream being so far south that it's been allowing the northern weather systems to come down on the North of England.  That forecast is for the south, it wouldn't surprise me if we had a colder winter than usual.  Let's see who is right........


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 26/09/2008 : 18:23
The other two lofts now largely done - just need to fill the awkward gaps with the scraps of insulation, then put some insulating board on the backs of the loft doors.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 27/09/2008 : 07:55
And make sure they are heavy enough not to lift in a strong wind.  I replaced the two flimsy ones in this house with solid pine 2" thick. 

I was thinking the other day about waste heat being so useful when you are well insulated.  Fridge, cooking lights and PC all pump heat into house and avoid triggering the thermostat.  Same applies to pilot lights, the amount of energy is miniscule but it all helps heat the house.  Never seen anyone balance this against waste of having them on.  Amazing how much heat a 42" LED TV monitor gives off.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Posted - 27/09/2008 : 12:06
Rolls of loft insulation arrived Loft insulation being laid

Wickes delivered the 30 rolls of insulation at 8.00am and we had to stack them in the hallway. But at least it makes you get on with the job! I've used the "Space Blanket" because it's easier to lay and has an aluminium foil layer on one side to reflect heat. The glass fibre is enclosed in a tube comprised of the ali foil and polythene and it's all compressed in the roll - as soon as you unroll it the air moves in (there is even a quiet hissing noise) and expands the material to its full 150mm. In the photo, the material has not yet fully expanded, which is why the foil looks ridged.

The insulation is 5.3m long by 37cm wide and 150mm deep and covers approximately 2 square metres. The recommended thickness of loft insulation is 270mm but I already have a layer of about 100-150mm, so this is topping up. The Space Blanket is good for this because it has a cleaner surface and the ali foil reflects light, making the lofts brighter if you need to do any work in them. The label says each roll is made from 2.4 wine bottles!

The Space Blanket is £11.98 per roll and Wickes deliver free for orders over £45. They also have conventional glass fibre insulation in rolls about three times wider than Space Blanket. Normally it works out about the same price per square metre but they have a two-for-one offer that makes it much cheaper. I didn't use it because my lofts are too cluttered with protrusions, pipes etc for laying out the very wide rolls. Also the wide rolls are more difficult to handle. And you can't order them on the web site or phone - I think they are really meant for professionals.

Stanley, thanks for reminding me about weighting down the loft doors. We once came back from shopping and thought we'd been burgled through the loft. The door was hanging through the hole. The wind had blown it up and it dropped back at and angle. We put an heavier one in that loft.

 

 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 07:58
Tiz, glad it helped.  Old loft traps were made of matchwood and all they need to cure them is screw have timber on the back to make them at least 2" thick.  Does the trick and is good insulation.  I was remembering my story about the old bloke insulating the loft with incontinence pads.......  Best roof insulation I ever saw was when Arthur Morrison buit his new house at Thornton.  The joists in the roof were 4" deep and he filled the gaps between them with $2 thick polystyrene slabs and then insulated the ceiling as well.  Only thing you have to watch is that you preserve the ventilation at the eaves to allow some air circulation so you don't encourage mould and fungi growth.

I notced last night that the temperature in the front room dropped to 66F.  Still OK but verging on needing a pullover.....   Cheaper than gas!  Looking forward to the quarterly bill, when I get it I'll do the analysis.  I was talking about this with daughter Susan on Friday and was saying that with a bit of thought and some positive action the possible savings on energy can cancel out increases in mortgage payments.  The one thing going for families under stress is that unwittingly they have allowed themselves to become used too high living temperatures and attention to this gives them a lot of scope for savings.  Could save a lot of sleepless nights.

Another thing that struck me was that we have got used to high water tempoeratures for washing up due to tradition, it was the only thing that would cut the grease.  Cold water and a drop of modern detergent and a Scotch Pad shifts grease just as efficiently and is kinder to the hands.  Studies have shown that the most effective way to get clean dishes is to swill in running water and throw away the washing up bowl.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Anni
Regular Member


634 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 09:56
Does the space blanket mean you don't get all that nasty itching and breathing problems when laying it Tizer?

I bit the bullet recently and had double glazing installed.  I had resisted because I like the airflow I got from the old leaky windows and also wanted to wait until I could afford sliding sash wood replacements.  That was never going to happen and so went ahead and got mine done identical to the ones next door so we have a nice frontage.

I never have a radiator on in my bedroom because I hate waking up with that sluggish head central heating gives me. 

Went into my loft this week and peered over the dividing wall to see how my neighbours are getting on with their loft extension (the fire wall is being built this week).  They have put battons on the sloping down bit of the rafters and thick insulated plasterboard in the bits inbetween.  What a difference that has made.  Am thinking that might be my next project when I find a few spare days.

While I like the idea of having a warmer house, I hate the idea of not having fresh air circulating, so do find myself throwing the windows open, or leaving them on a small gap opening - which kind of defeats the object really.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 10:56
Yes Anni, the space blanket is much cleaner to handle and there is much less dust, but I still used heavy duty rubber gloves because of the old insulation than I'm laying it on. When you cut the end of the space blanket to the right length you do get glass fibre exposed but it isn't a problem. I wore a face mask too (also from Wickes) and it seemed very effective. Usually I suffer from lots of sneezing and runny nose even just going into the loft but the mask prevented all that.

The government web site advice on energy saving encourages you to do everything to stop draughts - then tells you it is dangerous if you have a gas fire and you must make sure there is adequate ventilation. I think it's wrong to push people toreduce ventilation so much. It's bad for health of both the house and the householder.

To insulate the underside of the roof you can get insulating material in sizes to fit standard rafter spacing but I've never tried it. You put it between the rafters then put plasterboard over the top. You can also put a layer of the aluminium foil/bubble wrap sheet on before the plasterboard (same stuff as used behind radiators).

A good trick for insulating the solid walls in old houses is to put vertical wood battens on the inside wall, then between these fix the special polyurethane insulation board (which is faced with aluminium foil and about 5 cmm thick). Then face the whole thing with plasterboard. But remember that you will have to re-fix electric sockets and switches on the outside of the plasterboard and re-fix radiators. Also, it's difficult around window recesses. But the material is very good at insulating and also helps if the original wall is a bit damp. We had a local builder do it to an old stone gable end wall and it has made the room much warmer and less humid.

Stanley, I think fire regs might say not to use polystyrene in the roof now - at least not in large amounts (remember the worrry about all those PS ceiling tiles dripping hot plastic in a fire?).

Woolly jumpers and fleece jackets could go a long way to reducing the amount of heating energy used in homes but it will take a lot to get many people now to wear them indoors. They are too used to living in Mediterranean style in their houses. Blame the cheap holidays in the Med!

It worries me how many people now don't  have curtains to close over the windows on cold nights. They are blasting their homes with heat, keeping them at over 20 C, 24 hours a day in winter, and with nothing over the windows at night. Even double-glazed windows lose a lot of heat. Another big heat sink is the heated conservatory. People have been fitting conservatories as extensions to their normal living acccommodation, using them as dining rooms, lounges, offices, playrooms etc, and heating them to 20 C too. Just think of all the heat lost through the glass walls. And it's even worse when the conservatory is open to the main house with no doors to close it off - which is why you need building regs permission to build one with a doorless opening to the house.

Edited by - Tizer on 28/09/2008 11:19:43


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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 12:09
Polystyrene also has a chemical reaction with the PVC insulation on electrical mains cables. No heat generated but the PVC tends to "melt" the polystyrene over time.


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Anni
Regular Member


634 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 14:08
Thanks for that - I'll bear it in mind, although I doubt I will get round to it this winter - so much to do and so little time to do it.

I did my back bedroom myself with the battons and insulation then plasterboard.  Dead proud I was too.  And, I noticed an immediate improvement in just the overall feel of the room.

The rest of the "outer" walls were done when the plasterer was in making good round the windows (old box sashes were taken out so it was a lot of making good).  Nearly got rid of the plasterdust now as well.

 


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 16:58
Double glazing has downsides.  Our living room window is going to need replacing again (last time was 8 years ago) due to inter pane condensation, the window looks dirty all the time now despite being clean inside and out.  The frame is OK so just replacing the sealed unit will do.  The new fangled ones with the bigger gap seem to be worse than the older ones.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 17:22
We've been OK with sealed units in two houses but had problems in the third. It seemed to relate to quality of the product - paid more and got better quality.

Pluggy, if you put in new sealed units watch out for them selling you ones made with Pilkington K glass. This is supposedly better for reducing heat gloss but it has a milky appearance in sunlight and makes your windows look dirty. Or if you have net curtains they look grey. I wouldn't want K glass again. Trouble is they don't tell you, the double glazing company will say "It's law guv, you got to use K glass now". Well it's not true. The regulations are that you must achieve a certain heat emmission spec but the regs don't specify how you must do it. Using K glass is only one way. They can get glass from a Belgian company (some name like Glanibel I think) which does as good a job but isn't milky.

Ian, your comment is interesting because I've just been reading an old web page (2003) about whether cavity wall insulation is really a good thing. Coincidentally it mentioned that polystyrene beads reacted with uPVC window frames. (And separate from that - It seems from the web page that some people have had damp wall problems after getting cavities filled.)


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 28/09/2008 : 17:48
The living room window is an Ultraframe, maybe a cheap one.  It gets most of the weather, the cheap softwood ones we got almost 30 years ago are still OK at the back of the house. 

These new regulations are a pain, our C/H boiler is on the blink (heatings OK, no hot water) and as its getting on a bit a new one would be in order, but a new one has to be a condenser and its postioning means a drain is going to be expensive..... 

The 5% - 10% gas saving will take a while to pay for it I feel.

I'll watch out for the weird glass. Laughing


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 29/09/2008 : 16:35
Agree 100% about bedroom temperatures and draught-proofing.  Logically, a totally draught proof house will kill you!  I have an open flu in the front room so I can have a fire and always have the bedroom window open a crack so I get constant circulation of cold air dropping on my face in bed (I love it) and air movement in the house.

New condensing boilers are OK though expensive.  Over 90% efficient and far better modulating control systems.  The heat loss from the boiler itself is warming the house, only heat wasted is out of the flu and that is barely warm, that's why they can use plastic flues on them now.  Point is that cass 'A' boilers are now compulsory.  My advice is get B Gas to install and put on their service plan.  £15 a month but worth it when the heat exchanger goes down like mine did on a 3 year old boiler.  £800 of a job but on service plan it's free.  Makes the monthly payment look like a good deal......


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 29/09/2008 : 16:50
Pluggy, when you delve into Pilkington's web site there is a page (click here) where they admit that K glass is milky and makes net curtains look dirty. They play it down but my K glass windows are awful compared with the excellent clarity of a non-Pilkington-K window I had done about a year earlier.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 30/09/2008 : 08:41
I've had 'K' glass in for 12 years and have never noticed them being milky.  Should I clean them more?  When I got them in I rang Pilkingtons and asked how I could be sure I had got 'K' glass.  The lady said the test was to get a lighted candle, and look at the reflection from an angle.  If it's 'K' glass you get three reflections.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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