Porridge and keeping your home energy efficient

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Ceiling insulation

Includes checking your insulation, types of insulation materials and how much to install.

If Snuggling down under a blanket with hat gloves is just not going to cut it when it comes to keeping warm this winter, we have some suggestions for heating your home and retaining that heat.  Making your home warm, dry and energy efficient will mean less blankets and smaller power bills. 

You know about Goldilocks and the “just-right” porridge, well in your home there is a similar idea named the Goldilocks Triangle, the Just-Right Zone for efficiency, heating and  air quality.  Put the complicated maths aside  there are elements to creating balance or the Goldilocks Triangle.

These are;

  • Heating
  • Insulation
  • Air Movement (bringing in fresh air and removing moist stale air)

If you are cold you add heat. If you want to retain the heat in you have created in your house you need insulation.  But when you insulate and wrap a home nice and ‘tightly’ to retain heat the natural air flow is restricted and moisture will build up.  Air movement (mechanical ventilation)  pushes moist air out of your home while extraction in the  bathroom and kitchen sucks the moist air out at the source.  If the wrong system is  used it can effect the thermal comfort (how cold it feels) of your house so you will need to add heat.

So on it goes, one effecting the other.  In balance, the home is cheaper and easier to heat, it stays warmer for longer and there is good indoor air quality and no chance of mold and mildew build up.  Everyone is happy!!!!

1. Insulate

Before you consider what type of heating your home needs, ensure your insulation is adequate. Good quality insulation helps keep the heat in during winter and out during summer. This makes your house easier and cheaper to heat properly, and more comfortable and healthy to live in. The priority for insulating your home should be ceiling and underfloor, followed by walls.

The world health organisation required houses to be heated to a minimum of 18oC to prevent respiratory problems and other health issues.  EECA is making grants available to eligible homes to upgrade insulation. 

Insulation is not confined to just the Pink (yellow, green or white) batts in your ceiling.  Double glazed windows, carpets and window coverings such as blinds and curtains all provide a level of insulation and help retain heat. 

2. Think Heating.

Once you have insulation sorted its time to think about heating. How you use a room will help you to decide the type of heater that’s most suitable. For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, like a living room, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than an electric heater.

This could be a modern wood or wood-pellet burner, an energy efficient heat pump, or a four-star flued gas heater. Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally, like bedrooms – they’re cheap to buy but more expensive to run.

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There are a number of options, some better than others.  EECA has a good chart showing the pros and cons of the different forms of heating.  Local regulations may determine what you are able to install. 

 

3. Air Movement

There is so much that can be said about air movement but  in simple terms ventilation is adding fresh dry air to a space while extracting moist damp air from that space.  In its simplest form opening windows is the cheapest and quickest way to change the air in  your home.  Its not always convenient, safe or warm enough to do this at this time of the year so that where mechanical ventilation puts up its hand. Its seems that you know its winter because DVS, HRV and Unovent start advertising on the TV and calling your phone to say they are in your street to fix your “crying windows” but air quality is much more that wet window sills.  

“You know its winter because DVS, HRV and Unovent start advertising on the TV and calling your phone to say they are in your street to fix your “crying windows” 

Having a ventilation system that provides the right amount of air at the right times is vital.  How many people do your hear say that they turn off their ventilation system because it is cold in the bedrooms during the night.  If you have to turn your ventilation system off you may as well not have paid for one in the first place.  Modern systems monitor the air coming in and adjust the airflow to match the conditions.  So if it is very cold or very warm the system doesn’t bring in much air but in ideal conditions it should fully ventilate the space. No more cold bedrooms.

 

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