Cold draughty house

Carees flat is just very cold, all the windows and doors you can feel the coldness, it should be toasty warm according to the adverts.
There is double glazing fitted, but old cheap 20 years old, its a social housing not council, the housing association just won’t do anything, they say the house is alright. It is alright if you spend a fortune on heating.
tried repeatedly to get the house draught proofed, insulated better, tried these winter warmer schemes but they just send out a load of leaflets.
There just doesn’t seem to be anyone who will actually come and fix the issues.
Is there any government scheme to actually fix and reduce draughts, I have heard about a free boiler scheme, free loft insulation but this is a block of flats?

They are over 60 and disabled.

Have to try a handyman otherwise.

The problem you have as a social tenant is that you are in the hands of the landlord , either a LA or Housing Association ?

Reports listed under main HOUSING thread of repair backlogs nationwide despite all and sundry getting involved … Grenfell Tower being the classic case cited prior to the disaster.

Assuming all works are the responsibility of the landlord , down to basics ?

Shelter … any help there ?

My recommendation … what you have described is meat and drink for them.

AGE UK may also be able to help.

Local tenants association … all hands to the pump … if problems are widespread ?

Days of old … a rent strike … until improvements were made … out of fashion nowadays ?

Going back to my days in the Smoke , almost 'alf of London was on a rent strike … 'Ackney / Tott’nam / Lambeth / Southwark … even the Isle of Dogs ( Tenants threathening to draw up the bridges and make it an independent republic in my early youth ! )

Good for publicity … even if it would not be considered " News " in today’s Sad New World ???

Government schemes are fine but … prior permission of the landlord required first even if you contribute towards whatever improvement ?

Needless to add … heating … A MAJOR PROBLEM for many social and BTL tenants … in what chucks out the heat ( Gloried hair dryers here but , thankfully , not on a prepayment meter ) , cost thereof … and keeping said heat in !

Just some thoughts which may be of assistance ?

There is definitely some sort of ‘free boiler’ deal going round (my niece got it). However, what is the CAUSE of the cold.

Is it that the cold is ‘getting in’ through badly fitted windows, or what? Or is it that the flat is not adequately heated. No point putting in a new boiler if the cold is still ‘getting in’.

(In my experience, loft insulation makes no difference any way, nor cavity wall insulation - and the latter can be very ‘bad’ as in can cause damp).

There’s usually quite a lot that can be done to reduce cold ‘getting in’ through drafts and so on, such as fitting ‘DIY transparent’ plastic over the windows etc, and getting those big door stoppers, or lining the door frames with padded tape and so on. And ditto around window frames. Good thick lined curtains that completely ‘blot out’ the whole window are good, and pretty simple and cheap.

Can they get a night storage unit installed - that gives ‘background heating’ and is pretty constant. Are they in receipt of their winter fuel allowance? I do hope so - that helps with bills. Also, you can get oil-filled electric heaters - like portable radiators really - that again, give constant background heat.

It’s only a thought, but I wonder if Shelter have any advice about how to warm up cold cheap housing??

Finally, are they dressing warmly? Good thick thermal undies (long sleeved vests, long johns, thick woolly socks etc). Do they wear ‘mittens’ which free the fingers, but keep the palm and dorsum warm? Wooly hats too, as we lose a third of heat through our heads.

PS - hotwater bottles are brilliant! They are my best friend in winter. And my cat’s (He gets two…!)

PSS - there MAY exist such things as ‘padded wallpaper’ - ie, thick wall paper with an insulating layer that enables you to insulate rooms ‘from the inside’ if you see what I mean.

In my cottage, all the curtains have thermal/blackout linings, these make a real difference. (I’m a keen needlewoman, so make my own curtains). Do the carpets have a thick underlay? Do all the internal doors have draught “sausages” at the bottom? Are all the internal doors usually shut, or open?

Free boiler. You can check by postcode. However, lots if not all county’s have closed the offer, but you can get quite alot of help. Worth checking out.

MoneySavingExpert site for " Free " boilers … full sp :

Landlord’s permission will be required.

Government site for full sp on the Scheme plus ELIGIBILITY from a benefits perspective :

Help from your energy supplier: the Energy Company Obligation - GOV.UK


If you claim benefits and live in private housing
You > might > be eligible for help if you live in private housing and get one of the following benefits:

Child Tax Credit
Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit
Pension Guarantee Credit - you will not be eligible if you only claim Pension Savings Credit
Income Support
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Disability Living Allowance
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Attendance Allowance
Carer’s Allowance
Severe Disablement Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits
War Pensions Mobility Supplement
Constant Attendance Allowance
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Child Benefit

If you rent you must have the owner’s permission to do the work.

If you’re a social housing tenant

If you live in social housing that has an energy efficiency rating of E, F or G you might be eligible for help with insulation or installing a heating system for the first time.[/u]
You can use the energy performance certificate register to find your property’s energy efficiency rating, or ask your landlord or housing association.

About the free boiler upgrade.

Be warned, like the wretched Cavity Wall Insulation fiasco, there are now fears that many of the ‘free boilers’ though fine in themselves, are being installed by useless cowboys. I would have a ‘real’ boiler person/plumber to oversee the work. I’ve heard, grimly, of some very shoddy ‘wrong’ work being done by the installers.

But, as I say, it’s vital to work out whether there is insufficient heat going into the flat, or too much cold coming in!

Where there is money to be made … our Government being a prime target for every cowboy out there !

Slim Pickens ( Blazing Saddles ) ?

More like Easy Pickens ?

Windows and doors can be curtained, and the heavier and the more lining the better. Plenty usually cheap in charity shops or sites like free cycle.
(These modern trends for blinds and light gauze curtains just don’t suit UK climate in winter.)

Our front door faces north and when it’s a north wind it gets very cold. We replace the soft foam draught excluder round each edge each year as it does get flat and thin. It’s only a couple of £s from B&Q or similar. Then we hang a heavy curtain across the inside. It was a second as theres a fault across the middle of the material but no one else sees it and its worth its weight in gold to us.

Make sure curtains don’t cover radiators tho!

With double glazing that is over 20 year old same as ours was, the black rubber seals inside and outside around each pain of glass and around each closing frame of the open-able windows become shrunk with age and therefore they no longer seal.
So cold air gets in and warm air escapes.
The cost of just replacing the rubber seals is prohibitive and plastic glazing beads would get broken in the process.
The windows have probably exceeded their serviceable life and might need replacing.
As a short term help it might be possible to apply some clear adhesive tape over the plastic frame/rubber seal/glass panels to create a new seal but that would need landlord permission. Applying adhesive tape which contain solvents could damage the plastic frames.

I guess one has to be careful not to let any remedy ‘show’ if you see what I mean. ie, that you can remove it and not have it mark the frames etc etc.

Nightime is easier, as in, can just have very thick lined curtains which should most certainly help. It can be unnerving though to see drawn curtains ‘billowing’ in the draughts.

Colin think you have hit the nail on the head, the double glazing is very old, the double glazed door and windows unit takes up half the wall, 6 or 7 foot width, full height floor to ceiling you can feel the cold coming through, you put a thermometer near then there is 7 degrees difference from the other side of the room.
How much would it cost to replace the unit £1000 £1500 don’t know.

There is a big sausage thing on the door that helps but you shouldn’t need a big sausage thing with double glazing.

The heating does need to be bumped up to the max costing a fortune, if you keep doors curtains shut livable with the heating on max for hours.

Boiler a worcestor Bosch over 10 years old, its housing association so can you get a new boiler but really its the house not the boiler.

If it was owned house you would seriously think about new double or even triple glazing but its a social housing, maybe eventually they may upgrade.

Under those circumstances, I would suggest a thermal/blackout blind at night, to keep the cold out and the heat in. Any blind would help in fact.

OK, I know it doesn’t solve the daytime problem, but in the depths of winter, you could put the blind down at 4pm and take it up at 8am, so two thirds of the day it would be giving an extra “trap” to keep the cold out and the heat it. Mine is a roller blind (I’m a very light sleeper) but you could make one very easily using an expandable curtain pole and some lining material.

I too have a living room where almost one entire wall is floor to ceiling window and patio door - even though it is modern double glazing, I still ‘don’t believe’ that it can be as good at keeping out the cold as a double layer of wall bricks!!! (OK, scientists may prove me wrong, but one instinctively thinks a tiny thin couple of bits of glass and a scrap of air in between isn’t going to be as warm as two layers of thick bricks!!!)

But with old double glazing, it’s presumably even worse as insulation. Is it not possible to have some kind of ‘internal frame’ set up across the entire double glazed area with transparent plastic to let the light in, ‘inset’ on to the window? I know what has been said about getting the landlord’s permission, but if it is housing association, that is less ‘nasty’ than a ruthless private landlord, and how often do they come by to inspect anyway?? How much damage would it do, anyway, if it were ‘stuck on’?

Although thick curtains are fine for winter, dark afternoons etc, I wonder whether even HALF height curtains would help? Sort of like piling furniture against the lower half of the window??

What have the housing association said about either replacing the old double glazing or doing any kind of remedial insulation?

I’m not a scientist Jenny, but it shouldn’t be a scrap of air in your sealed units, it’s Argon gas, a poor conductor of heat.

@ the OP, find where the draughts are by watching the flame of a lighted candle, you should be able to follow them back to the source and then sort them out one way or another.

Ajay, never knew it was argon - fancy that! :slight_smile: (I shall remember that for the next pub quiz!!!)