Safe and sound
A warm yet dry house feels so very homely. Insulation is key, but you also need to eliminate damp, ventilate, and add efficient sources of heat.
Get air flowing Warm air can hold a lot more moisture than cold air, so keeping the air flowing inside is essential for reducing condensation. Before heading off to work in the morning, open up windows or doors on different sides of the house for a little while to create a cross-draught and push moisture out. Then close them and let heat build up again. Also, sleep with the window open a crack (with a safety latch in place) when it isn’t too cold. Use extraction fans to pull air outside in wet areas like the kitchen, laundry and bathroom – and run the bathroom fan for a few more minutes after finishing your shower. For expert tips on making your home warm and cosy, go to www. good.net.nz/cosy-home
Stop the gaps Deal with any gaps and draughts, cold spots or rising damp. See www.good.net.nz/closing-thegaps for a practical guide to draughtproofing your home.
Be safe A house can’t feel homely if it’s not secure. As the darker months roll in, make sure windows and door locks are in good condition, and get an alarm installed for extra security – especially if you’re alone at night.
Plant power Grow spiky plants or dense hedges under windows to deter prowlers from getting close enough to peer in. Many agaves and spiky palms are visually stunning, and could become quite a feature.
Safety in numbers Banish any fears about walking around your neighbourhood at night by doing the opposite – use the street more. A regularly frequented street is safer for everyone. Arrange a weekly date with your partner, or a couple of friends, and head out for a refreshing stroll after dinner.
Be prepared Share house keys with your next-door neighbours, have a list of their numbers and know who to call in case of an emergency. Put together a disaster kit - for ideas see www.good. net.nz/camping-survival-kit.
Keep an eye out If you’re concerned about violence or crime in your area, consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch or Neighbourhood Support Group, or volunteering for Community Patrol (www.communitypatrols.org.nz). Find out more at www.safecommunities.org. nz and www.ns.org.nz