Keep­ing power costs down this win­ter

The chilly weather we have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing re­cently is a timely re­minder about ways to help lower your heat­ing costs.

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

Many of you will have found it easy to re­flect on your do­mes­tic heat­ing re­quire­ments over the past week, with weather con­di­tions fit for a bleak win­ter.

Here are some tips for keep­ing warm and en­sur­ing your power costs don’t sky rocket through­out the cooler months ahead.

Just un­der half of all house­hold heat is lost through the ceil­ing, so in­su­late that first.

Many older homes have no in­su­la­tion at all. In oth­ers, the in­su­la­tion is in­ad­e­quate - ei­ther be­cause ear­lier build­ing re­quire­ments spec­i­fied only a thin layer, or be­cause the in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial may have shrunk or shifted.

Ceil­ing in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial needs to be 100mm to 150mm thick to be ef­fec­tive. It also needs to be air tight, so there are no sneaky leaks.

Walls ac­count for 24 per cent of lost heat, but they are more dif­fi­cult to in­su­late un­less you are build­ing a new home or ex­ten­sively ren­o­vat­ing.

One way to in­su­late is to re­line the in­te­rior walls with gib board.

Raised wooden floors can also be a prob­lem. It is es­ti­mated that 12 per cent of heat loss is through the floor.

Wood fiber in­su­la­tion board and floor cover­ings are an ef­fec­tive way of min­imis­ing heat loss through the floor.

An­other al­ter­na­tive is to fit in­su­la­tion be­low the floor - card­board can be sta­pled be­tween floor joists, cre­at­ing an in­su­lated layer of air.

About 12 per cent of the heat of a house­hold is lost through win­dows.

Well-made, full-length cur­tains or ther­mal drapes are a sim­ple an­swer to heat loss through win­dows.

Thick, heavy fabrics are the most ef­fi­cient. Light ma­te­ri­als should be lined.

Be­cause a lot of air is lost around the edges, the cur­tains should ex­tend 150mm on each side, and be­low the base of the win­dow.

A full pel­met is rec­om­mended. Heavy drapes are more heat ef­fi­cient than blinds.

Be­low are some tips from some heat­sav­ing savvy Ki­wis: If your cur­tains aren’t suf­fi­cient, line them with woollen blan­kets. Folded dou­ble and stitched to­gether they make an open ended bag which is then at­tached to the cur­tain at the top so that the com­pleted ar­ti­cle con­sists of three lay­ers, be­ing the orig­i­nal cur­tain and two thick­nesses of woollen blan­ket. This in­creases the aver­age tem­per­a­ture in the house no­tice­ably by re­duc­ing the heat loss through the glass. Make your own stop draught sausages (fab­ric sausage filled with sand or saw­dust) to elim­i­nate door draughts. These sneaky heat hounds de­velop a per­son­al­ity of their own by adding but­tons as eyes (an ex­cel­lent fam­ily project). Leaky win­dow and door join­ery can be sealed with sealants or a self-ad­he­sive foam strip. A wood burn­ing coal range or pot­belly stove is a cheap way to heat your home and a great way to save on cook­ing costs. Warm a bed rather than a bed­room: elec­tric blan­kets are very cheap to run and hot wa­ter bot­tles even cheaper. A thick layer of news­pa­per un­der mats keeps the room warmer in win­ter and makes the car­pet last longer. In­stall a DVS, if you have a heat pump, the DVS blows the warm air from the roof space down to dry and warm the home. Those with a wood burner or pel­let heater could in­stall a small swiv­el­ling fan high up in a cor­ner of the room. It will drive warm air down to where you need it most and, if you like, into ad­join­ing rooms.

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