Heating your home right
Do you sometimes find yourself wearing a hat and gloves indoors during Otago’s colder months?
As quaint and eccentric a picture as this may paint, being colder inside than out is not a normal state of affairs for most of the world’s westernised population, and it really needn’t be so. Most people concentrate on the heat side of the equation when they eventually decide that breaking the ice to make a cup of tea in the morning has lost its charm, and conceive all manner of devices and contraptions to pump more heat into a property. What many overlook is the flipside of the coin: insulation. Fact is, you can put as much heat as you like into a home, but if it’s poorly insulated the only thing rising will be your power and fuel bills. There’s no lack of choice of reasonably straightforward steps to swaddle your home snugly for the winter season, either, although some are admittedly dearer than others. For inspiration, however, just bear witness to the venerable longdrop walls caulked with newspaper. The modern equivalent of this is ceiling, wall and underfloor insulation. We’ve all heard of pink batts, and their addition to your loft space or underfloor, foilbacked, can make a simple, economical, but significant difference to your thermal comfort. The additional benefits of having them inwall even make retrofitting a worthwhile, if slightly more involved, process. Alternative materials exist for this basic insulative requirement of any property, such as ecologically friendly blown fleece for lofts, polystyrene variants underfloor and straw bales for your walls, if you’re considering a new build. Why not go the whole hog and stick a complete set of professionally fitted, doubleglazed windows and doors in on top of your home’s new thermal comfort blanket? Granted, you’re looking at a bit of an investment here, but the improvements to your sonic and thermal insulation from double-glazing are truly impressive. Whatever you decide, get it sorted soon. Then your days of resembling a domestic Davy Crockett might just draw to a satisfyingly toasty end.
There’s a reason it’s a comedy slapstick staple, and that’s because it’s really hard work to do it both well, and fast at the same time. Sure, you can probably get one or two up straight given an infinite amount of paper and an infinite amount of time, but sooner or later the paste, serpentine coil of Hibiscus No.1, or your nerves, will get the better of you and leave you in a sticky, fuming heap.