The Three Key Factors To Heating Your Home And Saving Money

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024 04:39 PM
Michael Begg, one of Aotearoa's first-ever energy advisors, has seen mushrooms growing in carpets and wallpaper peeling off walls.
He knows best how we go about keeping our homes running with a minimum indoor temperature of between 18 and 20 degrees - a recommendation set by the World Health Organisation.
The latest episode of Thrift explores the three big factors in keeping homes dry and warm - and how to make sure these factors are working as they should.
Follow and listen to Thrift onApple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.Insulation
If you want to pay less for heating, you need good insulation. Poorly installed pink batts with gaps are not going to cut it.
Colour and thickness are important, and if it's done right you should be able to find a label with the date and type of insulation near the manhole - proof it's been laid by a registered installer.
Under the floors, insulation is a two-step process - you want polythene stopping any rising damp and atop that, insulation blocking the cold coming up through the sub-flooring into the house.
On the windows - full double glazing is effective (but expensive) - and Begg believes wooden frames are better than the older aluminium ones. If you don't want to break the bank, there are hardware store options worth exploring to coat your windows.
"Insulation works by trapping a layer of air," Begg explains. So, "the benefit (of lined curtains) is when we are closing the curtains we are trapping a layer of air."
"When you close your curtain, you're trying to trap a layer of air between the curtain and the glass."
Begg says under new legislation all these insulation features should all be available in rental properties, along with ventilation and heating systems.Ventilation
"We produce about a litre of condensation just breathing while we sleep, and that moisture has to go somewhere," Begg says.
"It's something you don't see.
"When we turn our heater on if the air is holding a lot of moisture we can use twice much energy to heat the same room if it's damp."
Twice as much energy equals twice the cost - so ventilation around the warmest part of the day can pay big dividends.
In the bathroom: "The most important thing is that we have an extractor fan and that it's vented outside, and that you have the heater."
Crank the heater for a few minutes before you get in the shower, and just as you're hopping in, turn on the extractor fan and open the window a crack, Begg reccommends.
"Particularly in modern homes, we know to draw air out of the bathroom, but we need to have a little bit of air coming in."
Begg is not a fan of heated towel rails. Left on 24/7, it's suggested they can cost between $15 and $30 a month. They may dry a towel, but the moisture is seeping out into other parts of the home, using more power to get rid of it. Consider hanging towels outside to dry.Heating
Once insulation and ventilation are sorted, "heating is very simple", Begg says.
You just need to work out the right type of heating for your spaces.
"An old home, if you were to put on the fan heater or a heat pump slowly warming the air temperature, obviously we're losing that heat through gaps."
So - these work best in new homes with modern insulation, draft proofing and good ventilation systems. Or old homes which have had some work done.
In older homes, a radiant heater works well, as they are essentially like the sun.
"If you're sitting in front of a radiant heater, you feel warm... like the sun... if the sun were to come out you would feel warm straight away."
But avoid using them in bedrooms where they can be dangerous, Begg says, and opt for a convection or oil column or panel heater.
Finally, always open the curtains on a sunny day, especially on north-facing windows, to take full advantage of the free heat that will come gushing though the windows.
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in New Zealand politics

Fonterra Exposed As Major Player In Global Attempts To Undermine Climate Action
By: Greenpeace
Hundreds Expected At Napier March For Nature
By: Papatuanuku Rising
Funding To Support Use Of NZ Sign Language
By: New Zealand Government
Emissions Reduction Plan Just More Hot Air From Government, Says WWF
By: WWF-New Zealand
Luxon Must Remove Jones After Further Revelations About Undeclared Meeting With Mining Companies
By: CAFT - Communities Against the Fast Track
New Economic Analysis On The Impact Of Artificial Intelligence
By: The Treasury
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media