Con­tem­plate win­ter when in­su­lat­ing your home

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Hav­ing the nicest home in your area is one thing but hav­ing to spend half of the year tucked away in its in­ner sanc­tums to avoid be­ing blown in­side out when­ever you ven­ture out­doors is an­other.

Ev­ery­thing may seem won­der­ful on sunny af­ter­noons in the sum­mer and the thoughts of dou­ble glaz­ing, ex­tra wall in­su­la­tion and un­der­floor heat­ing could not be fur­ther from your mind. How­ever when the harsh winds of win­ter blow, cou­pled with un­prece­dented frosty tem­per­a­tures, it is then that you truly re­alise how es­sen­tial it is to have a heat­ing sys­tem in your home. This should ide­ally be at the fore­front of your mind from the out­set, even when you ini­tially choose a plot of land to build your dream home. All bases should be con­sid­ered such as the lo­ca­tion of your home on the land, the height of the dwelling and if there’s a need to have some form of shel­ter planted to im­pede the progress of wind in par­tic­u­lar. Cap­tur­ing max­i­mum sun­light should be kept in mind es­pe­cially if you are plan­ning to in­stall so­lar panels as the main form of heat­ing. All new homes are in­su­lated in some form or an­other, but you may need to in­clude an ex­tra thick ver­sion to keep the in­te­rior warm and cosy dur­ing the colder months. Very few newly built homes to­day do not in­clude some form of un­der­floor heat­ing whether this be via the lay­ing of heated wa­ter pipes in the foun­da­tions or the in­ser­tion of poly­thene panels be­tween the floor joyces. Ei­ther method works well so it only de­pends on the amount of money you have to spend that dic­tates what method is used. If you have ever sat close by a win­dow that rattles and shakes in high winds or one where the cur­tains take flight of their own ac­cord when even a mild breeze blows, you’ll know how in­tru­sive cold weather can be. Re­search has shown that draughts from poorly fit­ting win­dows, doors and unused fire­places can lead to as much as 70 per cent of heat­ing costs over a pe­riod of 12 months. Draughts are very com­mon in older homes where the foun­da­tions have well and truly set­tled, putting ex­treme pres­sure on both ex­te­rior and in­te­rior frame­work. We all know that wood ex­pands in the heat of sum­mer and con­tracts in win­ter so if any mois­ture has been able to pen­e­trate outer cladding then the prob­lem is fur­thered. This means that no mat­ter how hard the home­owner strives to keep cosy and warm, he or she will never feel 100 per cent com­fort­able, ir­re­spec­tive of how many forms of heat­ing there are in the house. If this sounds fa­mil­iar, fear not, there are sim­ple so­lu­tions to your heat­ing prob­lems that do not cost an arm and a leg. A sim­ple ex­am­ple is dou­ble-sided draught strips which are avail­able at most build­ing re­tail out­lets and are avail­able in a range of sizes to suit most win­dows even the old sash-cord va­ri­ety. Th­ese strips only take a few min­utes to at­tach. If the gap is overly large then it can be fixed with a tube or two of ‘No More Gaps’ or sim­i­lar. The only tool needed to com­plete the job is a cork­ing gun. Again th­ese can be pur­chased at any home build­ing mer­chant and some in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing out­lets. A great deal of heat can es­cape from a door that has warped slightly. It’s also a wise move to add dou­ble-sided draught stop­pers to the bot­tom of any ex­te­rior doors. In the case of dis­used open fire­places, it’s a sim­ple mat­ter of block­ing off the chim­ney in or­der to pre­vent heat es­cap­ing. What might seem as a novel way to re­tain heat is also an ex­tremely cost ef­fec­tive way - clos­ing doors. This should be ad­hered to par­tic­u­larly in rooms that are not con­stantly in use. This small but ef­fec­tive strat­egy will con­trib­ute to sav­ings in heat­ing bills and is only a mat­ter of good habit.

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