Ten ways to warm up your home, from cheap and cheerful to better call your bank manager.
1. Stop heat disappearing under your doors with a home-made draught stop, made out of fabric remnants and filled with rice. Cost: Approximately $25, or less if you recycle fabric, see here for instructions.
2. Install extraction fans in the kitchen and bathroom to remove moisture from these two main sources. Fans and installation should cost you only a few hundred dollars. Cheaper still, open the windows first thing in the morning to circulate the air, bringing in fresher, drier air from outside.
3. Invest in heavier curtains and ensure you always close the curtains throughout the house before the sun sets to trap the day’s warmth inside.
4. Put rugs down on wooden floors or tiles, or lay carpet in bedrooms and living areas for a cosier environment.
5. Ceiling insulation: Up to 35% of heat loss is through the ceiling of your home so, depending on the available roof space, ceiling insulation is usually the cheapest and easiest way to insulate and will make the biggest difference to your heating bill.
6. Under-floor insulation: Another 10% of your home’s heat can be lost through the floor, so under-floor insulation is another logical step. Again, it is relatively cheap and easy to install, and will reduce moisture and dampness in your home.
7. Install a heat pump: This is regarded as the most energy efficient form of electric heating for your home. Panasonic has a range of heat pumps available, starting at under $2000, including installation.
8. Install vented gas central heating.
9. Retro-fit double glazing on existing windows, or install new double-glazed windows if your budget allows.
10. If your home was built before 1978, when some thermal insulation became a requirement in new homes, you may not have any insulation at all. It could be time to call a builder, rip out the existing plasterboard on walls and ceilings, insulate with the latest insulation materials, then re-line ceilings and walls. It will be messy and expensive, but well worth it. Costs start at $5000 per room.
The value of warm and dry houses is so significant that funding and grants are available to help New Zealanders insulate and warm up their homes. Check out energywise.govt.nz or smartenergysolutions.co.nz for more details on available funding, the latest insulation products and surveys to learn just how warm and healthy your home currently is.