Want to keep your home warm and dry? Here’s what works, and what doesn’t
What really keeps your home warm and dry?
Should you wrap your windows in bubble wrap or hang blankets behind your curtains? Is it best to heat a room or the whole house?
We gave the experts at EECA, the energy efficiency and environmental protection agency, some worn-out ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
Marcos Pelenur, Group Leader for Strategy, Insights and Regulations, was happy to share his knowledge.
Lara Crespo / Unsplash
We all want to feel cozy and warm in our homes as winter approaches.
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* Backyard Banter: Keep the cold out where it belongs
* Nine out-of-the-box heating hacks
* Five ways to cut your electricity bill over the winter – but don’t skimp on the heating
Isolation is a top priority
Estimates of the amount of heat lost through the roof, floor and windows of your home vary, but averages 40%, 20% and 25%, respectively.
According to Pelenur, the actual numbers will depend on the construction of the house and the insulation that is already in place.
Underfloor and roof insulation are top priorities for a warm, dry home, he says.
“Wall insulation is also effective,” said Pelenur, “but because you have to remove the wall covering, it is best to think about when and if you are renovating.”
Some people like their whole house warm, but EECA recommends heating the areas where you spend time.
Tenants should be insured here, with landlords having to ensure that the properties meet the standard for healthy insulation from July 2019.
Is it worth it to insulate more or better than the building code requires? Pelenur says yes “if you can afford it”.
“The code is a minimum standard. If you do better than the code, you will get a warmer, drier home. “
CHRIS SKELTON / STUFF
Kevin Cotton and Gillian Pool struggle to keep warm in their drafty, damp, and moldy public housing unit. (Video shot in winter 2020)
Do we really have to retrofit double-glazed windows?
Pelenur says double glazing is undeniably effective.
If you don’t want to replace all of the windows, you should do so bit by bit, one or two windows or rooms at a time.
“The first step is to only think about installing double glazing in the rooms that your household uses most or where there is condensation,” he says.
As a homemade hack, he says that putting bubble wrap on the glass works, “but it may not be attractive to everyone”.
A better and cheaper solution might be to buy a window film insulation kit from a hardware store.
“It’s a transparent film that you stick on and wrap, and that creates another layer. It’s as cheap as $ 30 for a window or two. “
JASON DORDAY / STUFF
Retrofit double glazing is expensive but can be done from room to room depending on your budget.
Optimize your curtains
“Curtains are one simple thing that you can do to keep the heat in,” says Pelenur. “Don’t forget to open it when the sun is shining.”
He recommends thicker curtains, especially two layers with thick lining. Curtains that touch the floor, are windier than the window frames, and are snug against the wall will help.
“Where you lose your heat is the thermal bridge – when different materials touch. The window transfers the heat from the inside to the outside. If curtains come in contact with the window, it’s worse. “
However, he does not recommend blankets as an inexpensive feed solution. “In certain areas there are inexpensive curtain panels and curtain benches.”
Marcos Pelenur is the Group Leader for Strategy, Insights and Regulations at EECA.
Heat the whole house or just the living area?
“Our position at EECA is that it is absolutely important that people’s homes are warm and healthy, but we say you can do this in the spaces that you use the most,” says Pelenur.
A simple timer makes it possible, for example, to heat up a bedroom shortly before entering.
He does not recommend leaving the heat pumps on a low level around the clock.
“If you want to avoid a budget loss, you should turn the heat pump on shortly before your arrival and turn it off when you don’t need it.
“We try to encourage people to set the thermostat to 18-21 degrees to combat damp and cold. Heating becomes more and more expensive from 21 degrees. “
ALDEN WILLIAMS / Stuff
Heat pumps should be set between 18 and 21 degrees to optimize heating and efficiency.
It is also important to clean the heat pump filter regularly before winter really sets in and every three months thereafter.
Pelenur encourages low-income individuals to review their eligibility for up to 90 percent heating and home insulation grants under the Warmer Kiwi Homes program.
More information on home heating, including cost calculations, can also be found online on the Gen Less website.
Cat flaps can cause heat loss. So take out your silicone sealing gun.
Good advice / bad advice for a warm, dry home
- Roll out the door snakes. They are simple but effective and especially worth placing next to exterior doors.
- Improve the seal around cat flaps with silicone sealant or rubber insulating tape.
- Do not leave the oven door open while it cools. This is a safety risk and the heat will eventually escape anyway so it won’t make a difference.
- Do not use unfired gas heaters indoors. The fumes are dangerous and generate around one liter of water vapor per hour.
- Do not dry laundry indoors – one load of laundry is believed to release up to five liters of water into the house.