How to keep house warm?

My house at the moment is a complete ice box during winter. To make things worse, it is aluminium cladding and on poles - so a cold breeze can pass through under the floor very easily.

Looking for which of the following ways to keep it warm as possible. Which one should I do first? What order should I get them done in? Which are most effective?

Ceiling Insulation
Wall Insulation
Underfloor Insulation
Double Glazed Windows


  • +234

    The cheapest thing to do is to put on a beanie, socks and more clothes.

    • +21

      Surprised you got negged because realistically this is probably one of the most cost effective options.

    • +7

      and gloves. You lose the most heat through your extremitites.

      • +8

        most heat through your extremitites.

        Well yeah. The rest of your body is covered in a few layers of clothing.

        • +4

          The heat loss is proportionate to the surface area of the unprotected body part.You'll lose proportionately more heat from your hands and feet than from the top of your head, for example.

          • -7


            unprotected body part

            Gosh, exposed skin loses more heat than covered skin. Earth-shattering!

            top of your head

            How much hair does that head have? Curly afro vs blonde ponytail? Did you account for John Howard-esque eyebrows? Goatee vs bushy beard?

            The old "you lose 20% of body heat thru your head" thing just doesn't go away, does it.

            • +1

              @D C:

              The old "you lose 20% of body heat thru your head" thing just doesn't go away, does it.

              That's what I'm saying. The old you lose 20% body heat through your head is an old wives' tale.You'll lose more through your hands and feet than your head. It is about surface area.The more surface area you cover up, the less heat you will lose.

              • @DisabledUser102420: Not Sure about 20%. But AFAIK brain is part of the core body, which it tries to maintain constant temperature. If when your body looses heat and can't produce enough to compensate, It will slow down the loss by reducing the blood supply? to your hands and feet. Even then it will still maintain heat & blood supply to brain. I think that is why it is said you lose more body heat through your head.

      • +1

        Would you know if men can lose heat through their penis ?

        • +12

          Crotchless pants? Who am I to judge…

          The average flaccid penis in Australia is 9.1 cm long, with an average girth of about 9.4cm. When it's chilly, it shrivels by up to 50% in length and 20% to 30% in girth. That gives you a surface area of approximately 16.3cm2. That's tiny. If you only have 1 pair of socks, I'd wear both on your feet. You would lose more heat through one of your foot than through that tiny, shrivelled little appendage.

          Ps: we are talking indoors, right? Outdoor, in extreme weather, you would be at risk of frostbites. Penile frostbite = not good. They may need to chop off quite a bit of the 9.1cm you started with :/ Avoid at all cost.

          • +1

            @DisabledUser102420: interesting that you know a lot of about penis size stats..
            you been measuring it a lot?

            "Penile frostbite = not good. They may need to chop off quite a bit of the 9.1cm you started with :/ Avoid at all cost. "
            you have personally experienced this?

            I can why you would be so knowledgeable with those stats after such an incident

            • +7

              @pinkybrain: I'm a bio-medicine graduate and have been on 2 scientific expeditions to Antarctica. The average temp while I was there was about -70c. I wore thermal underwear so can't say I have any actual experience of penile frostbites but you hear the rumours and they are enough to instil dread in any man.

              • @DisabledUser102420: Where do you even get the figure for Australias Average Penis Legth? Besides the number seems strangely suspicious. I think there's the 1% again skewing the results like they did to ABS figures of Average Income.

                What we really need is the Median and not the Average. Next OzBargain meeting?

                • +1

                  @Kangal: The key word was "flaccid" aka not erect. The figure was from a study that was carried out in 2016 but is behind a paywall and can't link to it. However this article reports on a different study which reaches the same conclusion.

                  Next OzBargain meeting?

                  Considering you're in Brisbane and I'm in Melbourne, is that a polite way of requesting a d*ck pic? Not the first ozbargainer to try that one on me :P Also, I'm an outliner and will totally skew those results.

                • +1

                  @Kangal: I think the numbers are going to fall further given the Asian influx of immigration. Who will neg the shit out of this comment now.

        • if you are so concern then this may be off interest to you

          • +2

            @pinkybrain: Thank you for your concern but I find Melbourne winters to be quite mild and my missus calls me "her human heater".

            • @DisabledUser102420: I read "human eater" and had a mild brain scream…

              • @chartparker: Fun fact: cannibalism is not illegal. Murder and tampering with a corpse is but eating someone isn't. I know this because I had a mate who researched it thoroughly before agreeing to conduct a thigh biopsy on his then-girlfriend. She cooked it then ate it. All in the name of science, or rather in service of her thesis.

                The smell of pork still makes me sick to this day.

        • here's my tip: i just detatch my penis during winter and reattach in it spring. it saves me having to worry about frost bite all winter long

        • If you leave it dangling about with no cover, sure. Like someone said, exposed surface area. Of course if you have a micro penis and a bush thicker than the amazon, then you get better cover and heat retention than your hairless chicken speciment.

    • +10

      Or wear shorts and complain about it being so cold and huddle around the heater. Also, leave doors and windows open while the heater is on. Then complain about people not caring about global warning and attend protests.

    • +2

      I hate beanies

    • +2

      Doing all this now and two blankets later I'm still freezing

      • +6

        Are the blankets holey? try an electric throw blanket, its extremely cheap to run and very effective. Alternatively use two polar fleece throws.

      • +2

        Do you have the MacPac Halo? You need it.

      • +4

        If you have a cold shower for 60 seconds you will be so cold that your house will actually feel warm

        • Trust me you dont want to do that unless you want to wear nappy or change your pants for the next 30 mins

      • +1

        You can get heated stuff from bunnings or ebay. I wear heated leggings and jacket and power it all off a powerbank.

      • Another cheap add on is a hot water pouch in the blankies. It is all about heat retention.. and yea as someone noted, make sure you got the right fabrics for your blanket and the density.

    • +1

      I was always so cold in Winter until I discovered the Aldi winter/ski sales, and stocked up on thermal underwear and a ski jacket and pants. I cannot afford to run heating throughout the winter and am very sensitive to cold (and relatively insensative to heat). Aldi products are at least half the price of Kathmandu and Anaconda, despite being equivalent quality.

      I know that double glazing is very (ridiculously) expensive, like $15,000 for an entire house.

      • I was always so cold in Winter until I discovered the Aldi winter/ski sales

        Aldi should advertise then as homewear given how poor our houses built.

    • -2

      The question is how to keep the dwelling warm, not the individual.

      • +5

        I doubt he is worried about how the house feels. You know, sometimes you have to use your brain when you answer questions.

    • Absolutely. I chucked out the heater years ago after getting a pretty shocking power bill. Now its just about rugging up. Even got fingerless gloves for when I'm on the computer.

  • +11

    short term - buy an air conditioner. long term - move to north queensland

    • +37

      Don’t move here, you balls sweat 10 months of the year

      • What happens the other 2 months of the year?

        • +30

          They don’t sweat as wait for it…
          The weather is cool enough to not cause this

        • +41

          Your balls retract in constant fear of cyclones.

  • +75

    Ceiling and underfloor insulation will give best benefits for cost. Ceiling first as heat rises.
    Probably the first thing to do though Is to seal any drafts, as they will kill any heating.

    • +13

      You summed it up in 3 sentences. Thread closed.

    • +2

      This. But probably too late to book tradie for this winter. Meanwhile you can lay thick rugs and curtains, silicon seal windows, door seals, draft snakes, ugg boots, beanies and electric throws. They all work but be consistant throughout the house and use quality goods. Cheap kmart uggs is just not the same. If you put down rugs, add those dark rug anti-slip, they are usually non-porous thus blocks drafts too.

      • +6

        Don't need a tradie to do ceiling insulation, it's a bit of a pain, but isn't that difficult to do yourself, and prepare to be itchy as hell for a couple of days after doing it!

        • +3

          Just wear a bunny suit while you do it.

          Or use a different type of installation than fibreglass.

        • +2

          A disposable overall / coverall is cheap ($7) and so worth it if you're doing fibreglass installation. You should wear a dust mask if you can get one, otherwise a homemade jobie will be better than nothing.

        • +1

          Not a wise thing to suggest. You do realise there was a Royal Commission into Home Insulation where several tradies died from electrocution.

          • +1

            @bryans: Turn off the power at the main switch first.

          • +1

            @bryans: Sounds like they should have held the Royal Commission in a safer place!

          • @bryans: They were stapling insulation sheets onto beams and stapled into electric wiring. Normal roof insulation doesn't require fixing. Fibreglass is itchy but it's better than loose fill as that's an issue if you need to remove it for any reason.

            • @Plug: some insulation is put in before drywall and is stapled to the erm, those things made of wood that are long. but usually this is easier to avoid electricution as the house is under construction and the power is off/isolated.

              Please Please Please OP be very careful if you do DIY home work, it's so easy to turn off the power and have some numpty come along and turn it back on without realising.

    • +3

      Someone went mad at me once for saying warm air rises. Told me I was completely wrong, apparently it doesn’t, it’s cold air that sinks cos it’s heavier or something

      • +6

        Did you bring up hot air balloons?

      • +5

        For some people the Earth is flat and moon light is cold.

      • +5

        If you wanna get technical, cold air is less dense than hot air. So hot air prefers to "float" on top of cold air in pretty much the same way that oil prefers to float on top of water, except that the separation between the two isn't as much of a clean line.

        If you want to talk about rising or sinking it depends on your frame of reference. according to Einstein, neither is more correct, just described in relative terms.

        • +1

          I agree with the relativity argument, especially because it's Einstein's best known work.

          Sleep outside in a tent for a week and then you'll have no problem sleeping inside your "cold" house.

        • +6

          I think you meant to say that cold air is more dense than hot air.

      • Depends where you were and you could both be wrong :p In tropical climates, cold ,humid air rises because it is lighter than dry air.It's called the 'vapor buyancy effect'.

    • Will do - does anyone have any recommendations for insulation installers?

      • -1


        It's not about keeping your house warm, Tis 'bout keeping your self warm from within 😉👌😏

        Mind over matter. WimHof method.

        • +1

          I've never heard of WimHof but I've heard of g Tum-mo practised by monks which has both a somatic and a neurocognitive component. The somatic component involves specialised breathing techniques as well as isometric exercises (i.e. exercises performed in static positions, rather than incorporating a range of motion) using muscle tensing and contraction. The neurocognitive component involves meditative visualisation requiring the generation and maintenance of mental images of flames at specific locations in the body accompanied by intense sensations of bodily heat in the spine. In several studies , it was found that the monks could raise their body temperature at will and even dry wet sheets placed across their body.

      • +2

        You know we don't know where you live, right?

      • -1

        You know we don't know where you live, right?

        • -2

          Sydney :)

      • Insulation keeps the heat in/out. You still need a heat source.

        • If you're in a small room with any devices you have a few 100 watts of heat which can do a reasonable job of keeping a room warm if it is well insulated.

          • @Dsiee: Humans also generate about 100watts of heat at idle

      • +2

        I had earthwool batts installed in roof after it was vacuumed clean (65years of dust and crud) by Active Vac Pty Ltd in Sydney

        and Expol underfloor insulation installed by Solartex. The Expol is fire resistant polystyrene wedged between the joists.

        Recommend both products and installers

        • +1

          Can you give me an idea of approximate cost? And maybe an idea of what sort of area you had insulated? I've got a similar situation. Thank you in advance.

          • +1

            @Rhubarb Jones: Roof (approx 160sqm)
            - vacuum $1,760
            - Earthwool 3.5R $2,420 supply and install

            Underfloor (approx 145sqm)
            - Expol $4,121 supply and install

            • +1

              @BreezyPalms: Thank you! Much appreciated.

              • +1

                @Rhubarb Jones: Note this was about 2 years ago.

                Also - cost will depend on access. Roof is easier, under-house access can be difficult - in some sections I had sub 30cm clearance

    • +3

      This only makes sense if you locate sources of drafts in the house first and eliminate them.. insulation otherwise wont do much to help.

      • any smart way of finding where drafts are coming from in your house?

        • blow out a match or candle and watch the smoke maybe

        • IR camera

    • +1

      Open any OzBargain thread, Ctrl-F mskeggs for the correct answer

    • Absolutely second this.

      Sealing the draughts should be first step, if you get a heater, draughts would kill the heat especially on windy days. Did mine the past weekend and I am surprised how much less the gas heating turns on. (Had a cold Snap in Melbourne this past week too)

    • This is the answer, no need to look further. You can do the ceiling yourself, don't cheap out on the grade (level of thermal insulation) and turn the power off before you start installing. Double glaze windows dead last but you can achieve some heat retention in the meantime with thick curtains. For the floor which should be your 2nd priority if you can't do it with the ceiling (might be DIY might not) seal the gaps and lay a few rugs down.

  • -2

    Under floor heating… insulated of course

  • +6

    stuff your house with kathmandu jackets

    • +4

      Too expensive at roughly $150 p/m

      • +1

        Or $15000/m3 since I take stuffing to mean fill the entire room up.

    • +15

      'Double glazed windows is more for keeping noise at bay,'

      So so wrong but you can keep believing that.

      • +5

        Not his fault…Viridian and small glass retailers have been pushing "hush glass". Viridian still have a bunch of products with 'hush' in the title. That stuff is not actually double glazed, as there is no noble gas between the layers. I could be wrong, but it appears to just be like 3 or 4 layers of laminated glass. If you were told "hush glass" is the same as"double glazing" then you could be forgiven for beliving that "double glazing" has no effect on heat. Because "hugh glass" definitely does not.

        Why do they make and sell that garbage? Because they are scumbags and trick people and I suspect they can actually manufacture that product in country but cant make actual double glazing and all those panels come from China. That's why the turn around time is at least a few weeks.

        • +1

          Viridian glass is made in Australia, there's a few factories around but two of the main ones are in Ingleburn and Erskine Park in Sydney. They were Australian owned, at least until they were sold last year, they were a brand of CSR building products.

          • +1

            @jeka1103: Viridian also makes glass at Dandenong VIC

          • +1

            @jeka1103: I wasn't clear in what I said.

            Viridian makes glass in Australia. Specifically, Viridian makes FLOAT glass.

            Double glazed windows don't use float glass. They use "insulated glass units" (IGUs). Those are two pieces of float glass or laminated glass with a noble gas like Argon injected between them.

            I am saying that I don't believe Viridian makes IGUs. I don't think any company makes IGUs in Australia. I believe they are all imported from China. I believe this because I've been told it by a window importer and because I cant find any company stating that they make IGUs in Australia.

            So what I was saying is, Viridian pushes hush glass because they can make all of the components of hush glass here - it's just float glass. I bet their margins are higher on them. I think they are importing all their IGUs and their margins are lower.

        • Huh? Two layers of glass will definitely insulate better than a single layer of glass. Two layers of glass with air sealed between, will insulate better than if not sealed. (I dunno if hush glass is sealed or not)

          Alternating layers of air and solid material is pretty much how every other type of insulation works (fibreglass batts, styrofoam, etc).

          Sure, air is not as good as having argon in between, but argon's not as good as having a vacuum :)

          • @abb: The difference between two layers of glass (secondary glazing) is pretty minuscule. Its more than nothing, but not worth the effort IMO.

            As for vacum glazing I dont really understand why youd bring that up. Yes thats true, but that is science fiction here. The process for using an inert gas was created decades ago and cant be done in oz yet. It would be a century before something like that is even worth thinking about.

            If your point is to put everything on a spectrum (single glazed, doubled glazed, double glazed with an inert gas, double glazed with a vacuum) then you are corrct. When you look at performance though a good analogy might be (throwing a rock with your non-dominant hand, throwing a rock with your dominant hand, a GUN, a slightly larger gun). I hope that makes sense.

            • @koalabargains: Can we assume that inert gasses are used because of a low thermal conductivity?

            • @koalabargains:

              [vacuum is] science fiction

              No, it's quite real. Here's one.


              As for Australia, well, that's a market issue, not technical. my guess is that not enough places in Australia are cold enough to really need double glazing to make a local manufacturer worthwhile.

              I'd be interested to see the performance measurements if you know where to find them BTW. I'm not an expert but I'm a bit surprised that Air vs Argon is a "thrown rock vs gun" magnitude of difference. (Do eskies use Argon in their insulation? Seems like they should?)

              edit: found this on wikipedia.

              Argon has a thermal conductivity 67% that of air

              • @abb: I think the keyword in my statement "thats science fiction here" is 'here'.

                You cannot buy that product in australia now. Call up any glazier and ask about it, they will laugh at you. It will be decades bedore that changes, if ever. To get something like that installed and signed off here is science fiction, its like a grand designs episode where they have a geothermal heating system.

                I dont have the performance measures, but id be interested as well. Thats my understanding of it, but youre free to have a look. The trouble will be finding a study that compares double glazing to secondary glazing. There are heaps of studies on the benefits of each on in different countries. Like this awesome one in nz -

                Not to use another analogy that will get me into trouble but theres lots of studies on the benefits of bicycle types versus each other, and theres lots of stusies of car types versus each other. But who in their right mind would do a study on the performance differences between a car AND a bicycle…?

                I think eskies use air cell insulation. Expanded plastic so that air gets trapped. Thats a different application because we want to see through windows.

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