Winter doesn’t have to mean being holed up indoors. Make use of your outdoor space in the cooler months by installing an outdoor heater.
LIFESTYLE NEWS - Winter is fast approaching and there’s nothing more satisfying than stepping out of the cold and into a warm and cosy home. Simply follow these 10 simple steps to heat your home in time for winter.
1. Go solar and save money
Use the power of the sun to keep warm and cut energy consumption by installing a solar hot water system. Don’t worry about missing out on hot water on cloudy days, as you can simply turn on a gas or electric booster to compensate for the lack of sun.
2. Prepare your patio
Winter doesn’t have to mean being holed up indoors. Make use of your outdoor space in the cooler months by installing an outdoor heater. A patio heater radiates heat, so it will keep you warm but won’t heat the air. If space is limited, consider a tabletop heater. A chiminea, which is a large clay pot that acts as a chimney, is another way to keep cosy outdoors. Or install a stylish outdoor fireplace for added ambiance and warmth.
3. Look after your lawn
Autumn is the ideal time to fertilise your lawn, to ensure it remains healthy during the cooler months. Use winter fertiliser, as it contains higher levels of iron to protect and green-up lawn. Take the time now to rake up fallen leaves and debris which can suffocate your lawn over winter and leave behind bare spots.
4. Prepare your pool for the cool
Winter can play havoc with your swimming pool, so it’s important to adequately winterise your pool to keep it free from debris and algae. Prepare your pool by testing the chlorine levels to ensure the pH level is right. Give the walls and floor of the pool a good scrub, vacuum the entire pool and empty the pump’s lint basket to keep it free of debris. You should also clean the pool filter, as oil and scale deposits can harden over winter. Don’t forget to add a secure pool cover to keep the pool free from debris. However, you can still enjoy your swimming pool in the cooler months by heating your pool. A pool heater fuelled by natural gas or propane is generally a less expensive option, or you could go with a heat pump or solar pool heater.
5. Get your car out of the cold
Winter winds and hailstorms can cause havoc to your car if it’s left outside, so it’s a good idea to make room for it in the garage. Clear the clutter by hiring a skip bin or rubbish removal company and donate useable items to charity. Designate areas in your garage for sporting equipment, tools, camping gear and car accessories.
6. Warm up in front of the fire
A fireplace not only makes a stylish statement, it also naturally heats your home and creates a cosy ambiance. Almost any home can be fitted with a fireplace and there are several options available. Choose from gas, masonry, pellet-burning, prefabricated or freestanding fireplaces. Just remember to regularly clean your fireplace and have a chimney sweep inspect it at least once a year.
7. Insulate for a warmer winter
Insulating your home can cut your heating costs by up to 30 per cent and keep your home toasty in winter. Insulation is measured on an R-rating scale - the higher the rating, the better the thermal performance, so you save more energy. Ceiling insulation prevents heat escaping through the roof, improves energy efficiency and, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Wall insulation is another option and can be installed within wall cavities, stud frames and on the inside or outside of walls.
8. Heat up with a heater
Buying a gas or electric heater is one of the easiest ways to keep warm indoors. Electric heaters come in many varieties such as column, convection, fan, radiant and off-peak storage heaters, as well as reverse cycle air conditioners. Gas heaters, both flued and unflued, can be a cheaper way to heat your home.
9. Get your roof ready for the rain
Autumn is the ideal time to get gutters and downpipes ready for the winter downpour. Clear debris and check for rust and blockages, which can cause flooding. It’s also a good idea to prune trees near the roof to prevent debris collecting in gutters. Fix any cracked or missing tiles and have a professional roof tiler check the roof cavity for any leaks. For more information see roofing.
10. Seal in the heat with quality windows and shutters
If you find your home gets too cold in winter, it could be that heat is escaping from the windows. Boost your home’s thermal efficiency by replacing old single-pane windows with tight-fitting windows that have low U-values and low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). Ensure the windows also have a low air leakage ranking to keep cold air out. Window shutters are another relatively inexpensive way to warm your home.