Hi we are spending our first chilly winter in our dorma bungalow. The rooms upstairs are warm enough but the ground floor is difficult to heat. Can take 3 hours for 15-19deg and won't go much higher especially at ground floor level. The exterior walls are mainly solid brick, the extension is cavity with no insulation. The floors are concrete. The roof is a mixture of sloping and flat roof dormas with 100mm rafters and only 50mm glass wool. No loft space. The very large windows are thin double glazed hardwood. There is central heating with Valiant combi and have already adjusted rads for ground floor heat. The ground floor ceiling is high but the upstairs ceiling is low. I appreciate many potential improvements like interior, exterior, cavity wall insulation, foam board rafter/roof insulation and new windows and doors. But can't afford it all so what might be the most cost effective improvement to start with? Thanks.
The first thing that you should do is stop any draughts. This is simply hot air (and money) leaking out of the house. Use draught strips and excluders, get a chimney balloon, etc. All these things cost very little and will make a big difference.
As a bungalow, there is a dis-proportionally large amount of roof, compared to a home with more levels. Hot air rises, and it will go straight out of the ceiling if there is no loft insulation to stop it. Step 2 has to be get loft insulation especially in a bungalow!
The next place you should look at is the next largest surface area which heat can be lost through. This will be the walls of your bungalow. The windows are a great place to start as you can manage the cost and work your way through the house window by window.
But is heat is lost through your solid walls as well, so this is where you are going to have to focus your much of your time and attention. There is a great explanation of the various options for solid wall insulation - and how you can do the work yourself:
Welshbrickie is right - it's worth checking for any grants for these measures, as there are often fairly generous ones. This site is a good place to start: http://www.beenergysmart.co.uk/
A slightly alternative approach is to make your heating system more efficient. There is an additive call Endotherm that is being used by many housing associations because it can reduce the bubbles in the radiators thereby making the radiator more efficient - it can save around 15%.
DIY how to tutorial projects and guides - Did you know we have a DIY Projects section? Well, if no, then we certainly do! Within this area of our site have literally hundreds of how-to guides and tutorials that cover a huge range of home improvement tasks. Each page also comes with pictures and a video to make completing those jobs even easier!