New Zealand houses are notoriously freezing in the winter. Bad insulation, single pane glazing and damp houses can make winters long, cold and a bit miserable. Unfortunately, the best way to fix this nasty problem is to fix all of the above by either tearing down and building anew, or spending thousands on multiple renovation projects like new double glazed timber windows and adding clear light roofing. For most of us though, this isn’t a possibility right now. So in the meantime, let’s focus on what we can do with small reno projects and simple, quick fixes to keep your home warm this winter, without breaking your bank.
The majority of heat loss in a home comes from your roof. While roof repairs sound expensive and time consuming, there are simple and relatively cheap ways to fix up your roof without breaking the bank or spending the whole autumn getting it ready. Plus, with a bit of TLC, a fixed up roof will mean a remarkably warmer home.
Fix a leaky roof by replacing any loose shingles and place a roof sealant on it to last another year or so without having to replace the entire roof. Here’s some good information about replacing odd shingles and leaks yourself. Remember to be careful when working around any additions to the house, like sun shades and pergolas.
Laying insulation in an attic is another relatively quick and simple option to really warm up your house. This job is one you can do yourself if you have an easy to access loft or attic, you have an A-frame or other non-flat roof, and you don’t have any problems with damp. Simply laying insulation down in the loft will help keep the warmth in the house rather than escaping through the rafters, as well as saving you a lot of money on your heating bill. Flat roofs and damp houses will require a professional to come in and assess, and is not something you should attempt on your own.
Use plastic on windows
While not the most glamorous option, using plastic film on your windows will help keep your home significantly warm, especially on those windy days. It’s also an extremely cheap and temporary fix to those of us who can’t afford double glazing quite yet. Remember that you won’t be able to open your windows after you install the plastic, so waiting until winter is fully here before installing is a good idea. Use this guide for installing the plastic.
Isolate the drafts
If you’re seeing a pattern here, it’s because there is one! The best way to keep your house warmer is to find all the sneaky ways and places your home is losing that warmth. A third way to do this is by finding drafts inside your home. Now that we’ve fixed up your attic space and windows, it’s time to focus on the doors. On a windy or cold day, put your hand up near the frames of your doors that lead outside and check for a breeze or cold air streaming in. Then, consider your fixes.
For one, you could add an additional door, like a screen or storm door to the outside. This will be an additional layer of protection from the cold air. If you have cracks or space in the frame, consider fixing it with caulking as an easy fix.
Another common issue is that there is too much space from the floor to the bottom of the door. If you can see outside through that space, you are definitely losing way too much heat through the space! To fix, consider adding a replacement door sweep to cover this open space as a relatively easy DIY option. Door snakes are another super simple way to cover up that space, without any DIY needed. Of course, if you wanted to DIY the snake itself, go for it! Here’s a great way to quickly make one.
Check your chimney
Chimneys are another culprit for losing warm air. After all, it’s essentially a direct route for cold air to come down, and all your warm air to escape through the top. If you use your chimney all throughout the winter, make sure that when it’s not in use that it’s blocked appropriately. If you decide to not use it permanently, you’ll want to install a type of permanent insulation that’s made for fireplaces. You can do this by adding a fireplace sealer, depending on your type of chimney and fireplace.
Re-caulk your windows
The last way to seal in the heat in your home is to spend some time around the outside of your house re-caulking your windows. Not only will this help with drafts, it also helps keep moisture out of your window frames which can cause mould and rot through a damp winter. Make sure that you remove any old caulk and wash the area well before adding new caulk. Remember that this is just one step in a series that we’ve listed above, so picking just this step, for example, will not help seal in warmth. It needs to be a cumulative effort to ensure that all the drafts and seals are fixed up to make a serious difference.
When all is said and done, if you’re still having issues getting warm this winter, snuggle up to your loved ones and get under some blankets together and turn on a beachy film to try and get warm! Pets make great snuggle buddies, and electric blankets will ensure that you are toasty underneath them, even if your house is a drafty version of Antarctica. Finally, as a last resort, we’d recommend getting on the internet and start booking that trip away to Fiji or Mexico, because you deserve it!