We moved house into a rented stone cottage during the summer.
It just about fits us all in and the kids love the outside space that we have.
It was only when it started to get colder through the autumn that things started to go downhill.
It's nice to live in an old house but you soon realise how draughty it is and how rubbish the room temperature can be.
With it being a listed building, there's no chance of adding double glazing.
And the thick stone walls just love to drink in the rain and make for some lovely damp walls.
Freezing Our Butts Off
And then we got to winter.
For three days straight the temperature outside didn't get above freezing.
The ancient boiler installed in our house managed to chug out enough heat to take the edge off the cold.
In my kids bedrooms there were only single panel radiators and no insulation in the roof space.
Which meant their rooms only reached 13°C some days even with the heating on all day.
I resorted to wearing two jumpers and a coat inside.
Although doing the housework helped to build up a sweat too; enough to take my coat off at least.
What Should Room Temperature Be?
When my son was born, we bought a GroEgg room thermometer.
It still comes in useful to check room temperatures and we've been using it a lot recently.
I remember when I was a kid we didn't have central heating.
When I woke up in the morning, I could see my breath because it was so cold indoors.
But we've moved on from the 1970s. It seems a healthy room temperature is now anything between 18-21°C.
Getting the temperature right in my kids' bedrooms had to be a priority.
13°C isn't a nice temperature to be in when you're indoors.
It All Went Wrong
Our landlord agreed to upgrade the single panel radiators to double panel ones.
We thought that might improve the temperature in the kids' bedrooms.
They also agreed to add more insulation into the roof space wherever they could.
It took a few days to get everything installed and we were hopeful it would be the answer to our cold feet.
As soon as everything was done though we realised there was a problem.
The boiler pressure kept dropping to zero within a few hours and it made the heating go off.
To increase the pressure, it was a precarious climb into the roof space to turn on the tap.
I made the climb at 5.30 am the next morning so we weren't all freezing when we got up.
I couldn't see me doing that every day though.
Looking For A Needle In A Haystack
The diagnosis for the boiler was that the pipework had sprung a leak.
But there was no way to tell where it was without pulling floorboards up.
And there was no guarantee the leak was going to be easy to find.
The joiner came round and started pulling up carpets and floorboards.
After the first couple of rooms I was starting to get concerned. No leaks to be found anywhere!
When they lifted the floorboards in my daughter's room though, they found the source of the leak.
Bingo. What a relief.
It didn't take long to patch up the pipes, repair the floorboards and refit the carpets.
But Now It's Better Than Ever
The pressure in the boiler was holding which meant there were no further leaks to find.
We cranked up the thermostats on all the radiators and waited for them to do their magic.
Wow, what a difference.
The GroEgg room thermometer crept up to a cosy 20°C in my son's bedroom.
It seems the pipe may have been leaking for years and no-one knew.
That will have affected the boiler's efficiency.
When the plumber put in the new radiators he more than likely made the leak worse.
As soon as the repair happened it was like we were living in a different place.
For the first time this winter, our house actually feels like somewhere you'd want to spend time in.
The room temperature is right just in time for Christmas.
The Moral Of This Story
It's not nice to live in a cold and damp house.
It can affect your sleep, your mood and even worse, your health.
I hate to think of anyone living on the streets or in fuel poverty at this time of year.
I can only imagine what they're going through.
If your boiler is on the blink though, make sure you put on loads of extra clothes and stay warm.
Get it sorted as soon as you can. It's remarkable how the mood has changed in our house since the heating got fixed.
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