Tips to keep your home warm

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SARAH MOORE

In­su­late your floors. In­stall dou­ble-glaz­ing. Buy a heat pump. Bull­doze your house al­to­gether and start again.

There’s so much home in­su­la­tion ad­vice out there that it can be down­right con­fus­ing fig­ur­ing out what’s best for you and your fam­ily. Some of these heat-sav­ing so­lu­tions might be great but the cost can some­times stop Kiwi fam­i­lies from liv­ing in warm cosy houses all year round.

So what can you do to heat your home if your bud­get is a lit­tle tight?

Here are 10 easy – and most im­por­tantly, cheap – ways to keep the heat in and the chill out this win­ter:

Thick cur­tains. If heat is go­ing to es­cape your house, it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be through the win­dows – even closed ones. Hang­ing thick or ther­mal-lined cur­tains is an easy and rel­a­tively cheap way to min­imise es­cap­ing heat. Shop around! If you don’t want to buy new cur­tains, line your ex­ist­ing ones with cheap in­su­la­tion like po­lar fleece from your lo­cal craft sup­plies or sewing store.

Make the most of sun­light. Har­ness the power of the hottest sur­face in the uni­verse and let sun­light heat your home dur­ing the day by keep­ing cur­tains open and win­dows shut.

Draught-proof your win­dows and doors. Check for draughts around your win­dows and doors sim­ply by plac­ing your palm along­side them and see­ing if you can feel a breeze. You might con­sider us­ing a cheap sealant from a hard­ware store to fill the gaps.

Sausage dogs. The old-fash­ioned ‘sausage dog’ door stop­per is mak­ing a come­back; many depart­ment stores now stock snake ver­sions of the old draught-beater. You don’t need to spend any­thing if you don’t want to though; make your own by get­ting an old pair of panty­hose and stuff­ing it with old socks or bean­bag beans!

Don’t gather fur­ni­ture around a heat source. It might be tempt­ing to curl up right in front of the heater but too much clut­ter pre­vents heat from get­ting into the rest of the house – and it’s also a fire haz­ard. Ar­range your fur­ni­ture a few me­tres back from the fire­place or heater and let ev­ery­one feel the warmth.

Use a heater with a timer. In­stead of turn­ing the heater to full when it’s cold, set the timer to turn on a low heat an hour be­fore you wake up and an hour be­fore you get home from work. The low con­stant tem­per­a­ture will take the chill out of the air and slowly warm your house, with­out wast­ing a lot of energy on high heats.

Cover bare floor­boards. Rugs aren’t just mak­ing an in­te­rior de­sign come­back, they’re also great for re­duc­ing the amount of heat lost through bare floor­boards.

Don’t for­get your hot wa­ter cylin­der. An unin­su­lated hot wa­ter cylin­der could waste hun­dreds of dol­lars ev­ery year. Wrap it with ap­proved in­su­la­tion or a cus­tom hot wa­ter cylin­der jacket to cut heat loss; you’ll find these at your lo­cal hard­ware store.

Stock up on blan­kets. In the mid­dle of win­ter there’s noth­ing more re­lax­ing than cud­dling up on the couch with a good book, a steam­ing mug of Milo and a cute cud­dly blan­ket. Drape a few across each end of your couch; they can look great and they’re per­fectly func­tional too.

Bub­ble wrap your win­dows. If you’re re­ally strapped for cash, maybe this word of in­su­la­tion ad­vice from a Neigh­ mem­ber could come in handy.

‘‘Putting bub­ble wrap on your win­dows is a snap (or a pop). You will need a spray bot­tle, a craft knife and some bub­ble wrap. Mist the wa­ter on to your win­dow. Push the bub­ble side of the wrap against the win­dow. The wa­ter will hold the bub­ble wrap to the win­dow all win­ter.

‘‘You will need no tape or glue. Use the craft knife to cut away any ex­cess. The bub­ble wrap will not stain your win­dows.’’

Draught-proof­ing your win­dows is one cost ef­fec­tive way to ward off the cold.

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