Safe and sound

Good - - COMMUNITY -

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.

Stop the gaps Deal with any gaps and draughts, cold spots or ris­ing damp. See­ing-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.­ing-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 (­mu­ni­ty­pa­ Find out more at www.safecom­mu­ni­ nz and

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