Cold weather a must for old country life homes in Japan! 5 Ways to Survive Winter

Cold weather a must for old country life homes in Japan! 5 Ways to Survive Winter

Causes of Cold in Old Houses

Your parents' house, an old house, is cold for some reason. There are not a few people who have felt cold in such relatively old houses. While there are many factors that can be considered as preconditions, such as location and hours of sunlight, the most common causes of coldness in old houses can be attributed to the lack of insulation and drafts designed to keep moisture out. Let's take a look at the causes in detail.
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Windows made of materials that conduct heat easily

Windows exist between the outside air and the inside air. As the outside temperature drops, most of the cold air enters through the windows and cools the interior. For this reason, the glass used in windows has a property of heat resistance, and the larger the glass area, the better the thermal insulation and the more efficient the lighting. Another often-overlooked factor is the material of the frames that support the glass. Older homes have aluminum frames, which easily conduct heat and result in cooler rooms.

Wind drafts.

Next to windows, drafts are another possible cause of coldness in older detached houses. This is an old Japanese structural problem, and the older the house, the more serious the problem of drafts tends to become. As the building dips and distorts with age, more drafts will enter, which will further cool the interior. While good ventilation is an advantage because it prolongs the life of the wood used to build the house during the rainy season and hot, humid summer months, it is a disadvantage during the winter months because of its ventilation characteristics.

No floor heating

Basically, cold air tends to accumulate below, and the best example of this is under the floor. Generally, there is a space between the floor and the ground, and if the floor and the space are not insulated, the floor surface is exposed to cold air from the ground. Although floor heating systems have become more common in recent years, older houses are usually not equipped with such systems, making the problem of cold floors a serious one.

The phenomenon of cold drafts

Cold drafts are a phenomenon in which warm air has a larger volume than cold air, causing the warm air to accumulate above and the cold air to accumulate below. This phenomenon is the reason why people feel cold at their feet even when the heating equipment is turned on. Countermeasures include shutting out cold air from the outside through windows and other openings, and turning on fans to circulate warm air into the rooms.

5 ways to prevent an old house from getting cold

Now that we have looked at the main causes of why old houses are cold, let's take a look at some specific measures that can actually be taken.

Install curtains.

Cold enters the house from the outside, and the windows are a major passageway. By installing curtains on windows, you can keep the heat inside the warm room and shut out the cold air outside. In recent years, in addition to UV-cut functions, there are also what are called heat-shielding curtains. Of course, two curtains together with a lace curtain are more effective than a single curtain. Curtain installation is not that complicated, and can be done by amateurs with the right tools and skills.

Installing a cushioning material or an insulating sheet on the window

Along with curtains, we recommend reinforcing the insulation of glass surfaces. Specifically, you can use insulation sheets sold at home improvement stores to put on the glass. If you do not have the budget or time, you can also use packing paper or aluminum sheets as substitutes. This may be the simplest and easiest way to insulate the glass.

Apply tapes

Once the curtains and glass surfaces have been reinforced, tape can be used to fill in any small gaps. Gap tapes and insulation tapes sold at home centers are readily available. If you are not familiar with detailed work, you can ask a remodeling contractor to do this for you.

Close storm doors and shutters

Windows with external shutters or storm shutters should be closed as much as possible, especially at night when the cold air becomes severe. It is essential to shut out the outside air in layers to protect the room from the outside air. It can be a hassle to open and close every time, but just by being diligent, you can end up saving money on your heating bill.

Use a hot carpet

While preventing cold air from entering the room, it is also important to effectively use a heating apparatus. In particular, cold air tends to accumulate at the bottom of a room, so a heater that warms the bottom of the room, such as a hot carpet, is an effective way to increase the warmth in the room as a whole. However, it is difficult to lay carpets over the entire floor, so it is important to use rugs, joint mats, thick socks, slippers, etc. in addition to carpets to prevent direct contact with the floor surface.

Replace Glass and Sash

In addition to the tape, it is important to consider replacing the window sashes. If the window sash is made of aluminum, it should be replaced with one made of resin or a hybrid material of aluminum and resin for better thermal insulation. It is also effective to replace the window glass itself with insulating glass, double-glazing, or double-glazing. However, since it is difficult for amateurs to remodel window glass, it is common to ask a contractor to do so. The estimated cost is approximately 50,000 to 200,000 yen.

Wall and Roof Insulation Remodeling

Insulation remodeling of walls is a relatively large-scale project that requires a certain budget and time frame. As a general example, when adding insulation to the interior of a wall, the existing wall is peeled back, filled with insulation, and finished again, so the estimated construction period is 1 to 4 weeks. The estimated construction period is 1 to 4 weeks, and the cost is about 10,000 yen per square meter. The effect of remodeling a wall is not expected to be as effective if only one surface is remodeled, and an entire room must be remodeled to be effective. However, since the cost of insulating an entire house can range from 3 million yen to 5 million yen or more, it is recommended that you consult closely with the contractor regarding the timing of the project and the cost. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with your contractor carefully about the timing. Roof remodeling involves the application of special paints to the surface of the roofing material.
There are two main types of paint: thermal barrier paint and heat insulating paint. Choose thermal barrier paint to protect against summer heat, and heat insulating paint to ensure comfort in both summer and winter. The service life of insulating paint is said to be 15 to 20 years, and the standard cost is about 3,500 to 4,000 yen per square meter. The typical construction period is one to two weeks. In addition to roofing, insulation paint can also be applied to exterior walls. Since it is expensive to cover the entire exterior of a house, it is possible to apply it only to the south and west sides of the house, which receive the most severe sunlight.
Finally, ceiling insulation should be considered in conjunction with roof renovation. Ceiling insulation is the process of laying insulation material on the ceiling to keep the heat in the room from escaping. Most houses have ceiling insulation, but some older houses may not have it. The advantage of ceiling insulation is that it is relatively inexpensive. Also, by separating the ceiling from the rooms, air conditioners and other equipment can be operated more efficiently. On the other hand, demerits include the fact that the space behind the shed cannot be used for storage or other purposes, and when used in combination with roof insulation, the air flow becomes sluggish, causing moisture and heat to accumulate and condensation to occur, which in turn may reduce the insulation effectiveness.

Underfloor Insulation Renovation

There are two main types of underfloor insulation: underfloor insulation and foundation insulation. Underfloor insulation is a type of insulation in which insulation is placed under tatami mats and flooring to block the transmission of cold air from the underfloor space. More than 90% of so-called floor insulation is this underfloor insulation, which is relatively low-cost, maximally effective, and has the advantage of allowing checks for damage to the underfloor environment and termites in conjunction with its implementation. For foundation insulation, insulation is applied to the inside and outside of the foundation concrete. Although relatively expensive, the advantage of this method is that it can be expected to have a heat storage effect for the entire house, since the space under the floor is insulated in the same way as the interior. On the other hand, the construction cost is high, and since heating and cooling extends to the underfloor space, there is no savings in electricity costs.