CAPE TOWN – As the summer months roll out and winter creeps slowly in, our thoughts change from staying cool to keeping warm. With the rising cost of living and South Africa’s current over-reliance on fossil fuels, our latest #FixForwardFix includes a few handy tips and tricks to ensure that you stay warm this winter without racking up huge electricity costs or a high carbon footprint.
Let Light in / Be Curtain Clever
Use the natural warmth of the sun’s rays and allow as much sunlight into your home during the day as possible. As sun as the sun sets, close your curtains to keep the heat in. A lot of heat is lost through windows, so the thicker the curtains, the better the insulation.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
Probably the single most effective method of keeping your home weather proof and electricity costs down, insulating your roof can reduce heat loss by up to 25% while wall cavity insulation results in around a third less heat lost. As a bonus, that same insulation will work to keep your home cool in summer!
A lot of big hardware suppliers have basic home insulation kits which should work fine, depending on the job and area. Remember to wear appropriate protective gear at all times when dealing with the insulation material.
Ps, if your insulation project is a little bigger than a Saturday morning, book a Fix Forward contractor to get the job done.
Block Draughts & Closed Unused Rooms
One of the simplest home remedies to implement, blocking drafts and other passages for air to escape is extremely effective. From our grandparents trusty Sausage Dog blockers for the bottoms of doors, to DIY self-adhesive tape that lines window frames, blocking drafts is cheap, easy and efficient.
On that note, be sure to close all rooms not in use so that no heat can escape through them.
Another of the efficient but costly methods, double-glazing your windows is probably the best way to keep your home warm during winter. While you would require proper budgeting and professionals to fit the double-glazing, most good homeware stores now stock a DIY self-adhesive film (single glaze) you can fit yourself that is a lot more affordable, although only half as effective.
Keep the Heater Area Clear
Another deceptively simple one, make sure to keep the space around your heat source (electric/gas heater or fireplace) clear and open. Not only are nearby objects like couches or curtains fire hazards, they actually absorb a lot of the heat that would otherwise warm the space. Keeping a clear space around your heater allows the maximum amount of warmth to radiate through the room without being absorbed.
Adjust Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow with a simple switch of their rotation. Counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer while a slow speed clockwise rotation will gently push hot air down in the winter months and help keep the heat inside your room.
It’s a well known fact that as much as 10% of a home’s heat is lost through improperly sealed floorboards. Get some readily available floor filler from your local hardware store or get decorative and throw down some soft winter rugs. For a serious makeover, chat to use about laying carpets or a full floor refurbishment.
Maximise Geyser Efficiency
Responsible for heating huge amounts of water, it’s no surprise that geysers are one of the biggest users of household power. You can reduce the amount of work your geyser needs to do by fitting a relatively affordable geyser cover. These specially insulated ‘blankets’ keep the water inside hotter for longer and thus reduce the need to keep reheating it. Bonus points for fitting a solar water heater!
As an extra measure, insulate your copper pipes with special pipe lagging to achieve the same effect. As always, our expert plumbers will be able to assist with all of your plumbing needs.
Get A Humidifier
With most modern heating methods, the air inside tends to get very dry. Besides from being uncomfortable, it’s actually less heat efficient. A humidifier is an easy and affordable way to add moisture back into the air, which will help retain (a more comfortable) heat for longer.
When all else fails, there’s nothing like some long johns and thick socks to keep the cold at bay. We hope you and your loved ones stay warm and healthy this winter!