Tips to keep your home warm
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 Neighbourly.co.nz 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.