Ways to stay warm this winter » HPAC Energy Centre
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Ways to stay warm this winter

Temperatures are starting to drop and you may be considering how you’ll stay warm this winter. New Zealanders pay a lot more for insulation than other countries, and as a result, only half of New Zealand homes are properly insulated. To help you make the right decisions for your family, home and budget, we’ve compiled a list of simple solutions for beating the chill.  

Simple solutions

  • Close doors to rooms that aren’t frequently used in your home. Not only will this help save a bit on your heating bill, it also lowers the total volume of air needed to be brought up to temperature. This means the rooms you use most will be warmer, sooner.
  • Curtains are your best friend. For more than simply decoration, curtains will help eliminate drafts and keep your home warm. Try closing your curtains as soon as the sun goes down to keep the warm air from escaping as the temperatures outside drop at night.

  • Uninsulated wood floors can account for up to 10% of a home’s heat loss. Use rugs and carpets to keep rooms warmer. These added layers make it easier to trap heat than uncovered floors.

  • We’ve written about the benefits of heat pumps before, but it’s worth repeating that they’re the most efficient way of heating a home using electricity. With the push of a button, they can be controlled and their timers can be set. For each unit of electricity, they put out up to five times as much heat as an electric heater. When deciding on a brand, it’s important to consider quality and warranty. See our range of heat pump brands here.

  • Sealing gaps and other leaks is one of the easiest and more effective ways to make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. There can be air leaks in your home beyond windows and doors: think attics and basements, where the cement meets the wood frame, and even kitchen hood vents. Door draft stoppers and other measures to seal gaps close to the ground will help prevent drafts as well as the infamous “chimney effect”

  • Mitigate the “chimney effect.” Once you’ve sealed up cracks and drafts down low, you’ll need to look up high. We all know that hot air will rise, so in tall ceiling or multi-story homes rising air will be looking for ways to get to the top. Shut doors that lead to stairways and if you can access the ceiling, look for ways to insulate gaps caused by recessed lights or ceiling fans. The chimney effect is all about air buoyancy and when warm air moves upwards, a home will pull in cool air from the outside through any gap it can find. This creates negative pressure in lower levels, which works the same way  a chimney does to lift hot smoke up and out of a house.  

  • Keep an eye on the moisture content of your home  there will always be some moisture in the air from everyday activities. However excessive damp air will be harder to heat, and can lead to problems with mould and mildew. For a warm dry home, try to minimize the amount of indoor moisture by using an extractor fan when cooking and showering. If you’re noticing, regular excessive condensation on windows, it may be worth operating a dehumidifier, or investing in preventative measures such as vapour barriers.

Other considerations:

  • Utilise space heaters with caution. A great way to warm up a small room, space heaters with exposed elements can pose a risk of injury or fire hazard.

  • Although lot of free standing gas heaters can warm a medium-sized room fairly effectively, they also produce water vapour and carbon monoxide which can pose health risks if rooms are not well ventilated.

  • With these seven simple solutions, you have a better chance of staving off the cold this winter. Remember, a warm, dry home is the key to staying happy and healthy this winter. If you’d like further information on keeping your family safe and comfortable this season, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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