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For many of us the colder months are fast approaching once again, so it’s a good idea to get your home prepared before the weather takes a turn for the worse.

1.     Trim excess hedges blocking sunlight

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of a few tropical climates where it’s warm and sunny all year long, you’re likely to see little sunlight during the colder months. So make the most of the sun you do get  by removing obstructions such as overgrown hedges or trees. No need to go overboard here and lose all your privacy – sometimes it’s simply a matter of cutting holes in dense bush so that sunlight can stream through into your main living areas. The best time to do so is on a sunny afternoon when you can see where sun will end up and trim tactfully.

2.     Use blinds to get the right balance of privacy and sunlight

Vertical blinds or venetians tilted half way before you leave for work in the morning will let in as much sunlight during the day as possible, without compromising on privacy. You can set them to a level where nosy neighbours can’t see in but some sunlight can still get through and help you heat the home during the day to help battle those colder winder evenings.

3.     Floor to ceiling insulation

Good insulation is a key ingredient in your home heat efficiency. You want to prevent as much heat escaping as possible to make the most of your heating efforts . Ensure that ceilings are equipped with batts – either fibre glass based or one of the other “greener” alternatives, and also check your walls and floor to make sure similar insulation is in place.

Also consider replacing lightweight curtains with thermal versions. These are made from a heavier fabric that prevent heat escaping and, when closed at the right time such as the late afternoon before the cold sets in, will keep in the heat of the day effectively.

4.     Stopping Drafts in their tracks

Home department stores stock a lot of effective draft stopping alternatives such as foam rubber moulds. There is generally an unobtrusive option available that will suit your home, or alternatively just use an old towel stuffed up against the cause of the draft to block it as much as possible.

5.     Heat Your Home Cleverly

For those of us not blessed with central heating, smaller heat pump and air conditioner units are a great alternative to heat your home as efficiently as possible. Many of the newer models include sensors to detect the coldest area of the room and aim heat through the vanes in that direction. It also makes sense to set these to the highest temperature on a low fan speed and simply turn them off when the room reaches a good heat – as opposed to keeping them running for hours on a lower fan speed. These will be most efficient where your home already has the other measures discussed so far to trap the heat as much as possible.

When buying a heat pump consider both the capacity output and power input which are provided with each model:

  • Capacity output: the level of heating or cooling (in kWH) the unit will be able to produce, at its rated capacity
  • Power input:  the level of electricity the unit will use to create cool or warm air

When used together these heating tips will ensure you and your family are warm enough this winter and save you money on your energy bill – which we can all benefit from!

Stargate Electrical have over 30 years experience in the electrical services industry and offer industry commentary by a registered Auckland Electrician.