Stay­ing warm at home this win­ter

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Do you some­times find your­self wear­ing hat and gloves in­doors dur­ing the colder months?

As charm­ing 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 fo­cus solely 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 pi­o­neer ap­peal.

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, with so­lu­tions at all price points.

For in­spi­ra­tion, 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, foil-backed, can make a sim­ple, eco­nom­i­cal, but sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to your ther­mal com­fort.

The ad­di­tional ben­e­fits of hav­ing them in-wall 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, dou­ble-glazed 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 in your sonic and ther­mal in­su­la­tion from dou­bleglaz­ing are truly im­pres­sive.

Hav­ing prop­erly gloved and beanied your home’s ex­trem­i­ties, it now be­comes a com­mon sense step to as­sess the heat­ing op­tions at its core.

Whether you’re build­ing a new house, or sim­ply bring­ing your ex­ist­ing prop­erty up to scratch, this is one of the key fac­tors that will in­flu­ence your project’s over­all suc­cess.

And where you may once have been limited to a choice that ex­tended to the shade of brown for your wood­burner, there now ex­ists a con­sid­er­able range of home heat­ing op­tions to suit all styles, sit­u­a­tions and wal­lets.

One of the ma­jor re­cent in­tro­duc­tions has been in­verter heat pumps, which with a bit of clever tech­nol­ogy ac­tu­ally man­age to put out more en­ergy in heat than they con­sume in elec­tric­ity.

Th­ese ap­pli­ances are tech­nol­o­gyrich and, though con­tin­u­ally com­ing down in price, none­the­less still re­quire a fairly sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal out­lay. How­ever, as any­one who has one will vouch, and as the statis­tics show, they not only pro­vide a sim­ple, con­ve­nient, instant source of heat for the whole house, but also do so re­mark­ably eco­nom­i­cally.

Some, of course, would ar­gue that you can’t beat a good, old­fash­ioned open fire or wood­burner, and it’s fair to say that many of us en­joy the tra­di­tional warmth of the naked flame.

With the ad­vent of rel­a­tively eco­nom­i­cal, easy-to-ob­tain gas, how­ever, even this most ven­er­a­ble of heat­ing so­lu­tions has been given a new spin, with a range of at­trac­tive and highly con­trol­lable gas fires now avail­able.

We all want to be snug and well in­su­lated in our homes, so take steps now to en­sure your warmth for the com­ing sea­son, and make your cas­tle a cosy win­ter won­der­land. Then your days of re­sem­bling a do­mes­tic Davy Crock­ett might just draw to a sat­is­fy­ingly toasty end.

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