Keeping Warm in Winter
Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
The chilly weather is a timely reminder about ways to lower heating costs. Here are some of the best tips - from our oily rag website.
- Just under half (42% on average to be exact) of all household heat is lost through the ceiling, so insulate that first. Many older homes have no insulation at all. In others, the insulation is inadequate – either because earlier building requirements specified only a thin layer, or because the insulation material may have shrunk or shifted. Ceiling insulation material needs to be 100mm to 150mm thick to be effective. It also needs to be airtight, so there are no sneaky leaks.
- Walls account for 24% of lost heat, but they are more difficult to insulate unless you are building a new home or extensively renovating. One way to insulate is to reline the interior walls with gib board.
- Raised wooden floors can also be a problem. It is estimated that 12% of heat loss is through the floor. Wood fiber insulation board and floor coverings are an effective way of minimizing heat loss through the floor. Another alternative is to fit insulation below the floor – cardboard can be stapled between floor joists, creating an insulated layer of air.
- About 12% of the heat of a household is lost through windows. Well-made, full-length curtains or thermal drapes are a simple answer to heat loss through windows. Thick, heavy fabrics are the most efficient. Light materials should be lined. Because a lot of air is lost around the edges, the curtains should extend 150mm on each side, and below the base of the window. A full pelmet is recommended. Heavy drapes are more heat efficient than blinds.
- K.W. from Romahapa writes, “We have recently lined the existing curtains in our house with new woollen blankets from the army surplus shop. The blankets are folded double and stitched together making an open ended bag which is then attached to the curtain at the top so that the completed article consists of three layers, being the original curtain and two thicknesses of woollen blanket. This has increased the average temperature in the house appreciably by reducing the heat loss through the glass. We believe this to be far more cost effective than double glazing.”
- Making your own “stop draught sausages” can eliminate door draughts - this is a fabric sausage filled with sand or sawdust. These sneaky heat hounds develop a personality of their own by adding buttons as eyes (an excellent family project).
- Leaky window and door joinery can be sealed with sealants or a self-adhesive foam strip.
- A wood burning coal range or potbelly stove is a cheap way to heat your home and a great way to save on cooking costs.
- Warm a bed rather than a bedroom: electric blankets are very cheap to run and hot water bottles even cheaper.
- A thick layer of newspaper under mats keeps the room warmer in winter and makes the carpet last longer.
- Canny Scot from Christchurch says, “I have a heat pump but it does not cost me much to run as I also have a DVS which blows the warm air from the roof space down to dry and warm my home. I also have a solar panel to heat the water. I have calculated a saving of approx $500 a year from the DVS and solar so it does not take long to pay for itself, especially the way power prices are going.”
- Thirties depression baby from Auckland writes, “Those with a wood burner or pellet heater could install a small swivelling fan high up in a corner of the room. It will drive warm air down to where you need it most and, if you like, into adjoining rooms.”
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ .If you have a favourite tip, please send it in to us so that we can share it with others. You can contact us via the oily rag website (www.oilyrag.co.nz
) or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.