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


      • Not the same scenario, but I have double glazed windows on East and West facing windows and they don't do much. The internal blinds get up to 65-70 degrees with the sun beating on them.

        If I wasn't renting I'd look at putting up some exterior blinds to keep the sun off, but they're next to useless for keeping heat out. Probably okay at keeping it in though.

        • +1

          A window can't stop radiant heat without being tinted or reflective. Double glazing is to stop heat transfer via conduction only. Double glazing cannot reasonably be expect to help with direct sunlight. Exterior blinds, tintint, and shading are the best options. Double glazing will still help stop the jot air outside transferring heat in via conduction.

          Not really disputing you or anything, just explaining. I'm not sure why now…

          • @Dsiee: Makes sense. Unfortunately I'm a bit restricted in what I can do about it, although wondering if I could make some kind of pelmet to help out with the issue.

      • Did you know that double glazing was invented in Scotland ? They did it so their kids wouldn't hear the ice-cream van.

  • Curtains.

    • +1

      Thermal curtains with pelmets.

  • +2

    Buy an electric blanket and go to bed early

    • +5

      Or use one of those microwavable heat bags… great for when you have sore muscles too.

    • +11

      Also don't get out of bed until 11 or noon.

    • Use all day with a long extension cord

  • Knee high ugg boots (I got some at Aldi 7 or 8 years ago and they're still going strong) and a heated jacket.

    • +1

      How are the heated jackets? Do you have one that you might be able to recomend?

  • +12

    If you want to help fight COVID-19 you can always try [email protected]… turns out my 2080Ti in my rig under the desk is keeping my feet nice and toasty at 1:40am :)

    • -6

      And has it stopped you from getting coronavirus?

      • +4

        It's safer than [email protected]

      • Cummon, it was a joke 😜

        • +4

          Looked more like a dumb boomer comment but that is the issue without tone on the internet.

    • Yeah, when I run FoH on my rig at home (9700k w/ 1080Ti) it really makes the system work. Good source of heat generation.

  • +18

    I grew up in a household where electric blankets were 'a waste of money and will burn the house down'. Bought one 2 years ago (the throw ones, not the underbed one) and its life-changing. Flip the switch on, set a timer, brush my teeth and its toasty warm when I get in.

    • +6

      Same as my upbringing lol. Just like coco pops.

      • +8

        The ice ream van men were always kidnappers and child murderers when I was growing up. It was amazing how prolific they were all over Australia.

        • +6

          He is playing the music to let the children know he is out of ice cream. WHY WOULD YOU LIE TO ME!!!

        • The ice ream van men were always kidnappers and child murderers when I was growing up.

          As if reaming on it's own wasn't bad enough.

          With ice? Ouch. If you see that written on the side of a van, definitely book it out of there.

    • +5

      LOL my wife was like that so I said fine I'll only have the electric blanket on my side of the bed.
      She changed her mind after the first night I had it on.

  • +1

    Ceiling 1st. Talking from top floor apartment living. Never again, so hot in summer, so cold in winter.

    • That's interesting, never thought top floor would be that bad but I have had a second to top western facing and it was terrible in summer. I have a middle floor southern facing apartment now and it's fantastic at staying cool or hot depending what I want. So good that I have the balcony open until bed time every day in winter.

  • -3

    A space heater.

  • Seal the drafts first. Then under floor and ceiling. Pick the one cheapest easiest to do first.

    Keep in mind everything you do to keep the warmth in will also keep it in during summer (but it will be slower to get up too).

    • Depending on your cooling situation, this is incorrect. Insulation should keep your house warm in winter and cool in summer.

      • +4

        Yes it does, but if the house warms up easily as it would with large windows that receive full sun then the insulation will also make the house slower to cool once the sun goes down. The insulation makes heat transfer slower - both ways. Positively to keep warmth in or out, but he flipside is that it also keeps wanted warmth in or out as well.

        The whole system needs to be considered, not just keeping warm in winter.

        Our ceiling is insulated. The house generally stays at a good temp, but in summer once it heats up it would be great to be able to remove the insulation at night to allow the heat to rise into the roof space and out, rather than being trapped in the upstairs bedrooms under the insulation. Once the sun goes down the roof space cools rapidly, but the rooms do not. This would be passive cooking rather than relying on AC at night.

        • Do your windows open?

  • +3

    Eat plenty of baked beans.

    • +1

      Ignition source or not?

    • I’m all for the plan, get the bed to yourself too

    • +1

      bean boy

  • +5

    Agree with insulation comments. I also do a couple of other basic things that make a noticeable difference in cooler months: from 4pm onwards - close all doors to rooms that you're not using; keep bathroom and toilet doors closed; hang block out curtains; make pelmets for each window; put carpet or rugs in rooms; use draught excluders that allow cool air in/under doors. Hope this helps.

  • +2

    It seems OP wants turn on whatever heating she/he has only as a last resort (just like I do). Before spending big dollars on structural/insulation changes, my suggestion (as others have mentioned, and certainly as the cheapest option) would be to just dress according to the temperature. In cooler months, apart from wearing a fleecy top and trackies, I add the following in order as the temp falls:
    - beanie
    - Explorer socks
    - long-sleeve thermal top (baselayer)
    - thermal long-johns
    - an electric throw while watching TV or sitting at the PC for long periods.

    Works for me.

  • Yes All of the above but floor before walls if the house is not on the ground because if it was it would be bloody hard to insulate THAT. Most Australian houses have poor insulation. The green thing is to insulate like a fridge and maintain a constant temperature inside no matter what the weather. You may find it cheaper with a heat exchange air conditioning system however. This is probably the most common cost effective form of heating and cooling.

  • +2

    Old Plasma TV + Gaming PC - works for me!

  • +1

    Aldi sleeping bag onesies are on sale this week 😛

  • cheapest thing i can think of. cans of expanding foam. spray that under your floor boards.

  • +4
  • Are there any cheap ugg boot alternatives? I had kmart ones and they were kind of clammy or something. Didn't make my feet consistently and comfortably warm. For me, it's all about the feet. If they are warm, then don't need much heating. Maybe long-johns are good too. Do wool blankets work for sitting at the computer with it wrapped around your legs?

  • Where are you located?

  • Fire

    • +3

      Terry pratchett once said

      Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day set the man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life :)

  • +6

    Bubble wrap on the windows. Spritz with water and it sticks. Makes a massive difference.

    Also, polystyrene between the floor joists. Just find old vege boxes, cut to size and bash them up in there. (Ask the local vege shop for some).

    Both options cheap or free.

    • As in put a sheet of bubble wrap on the window (cover the window with it) ? Or just bunch it up and tape it around the frame ?
      If its the former, I wonder how that makes a difference. Would covering the window with cling wrap have the same effect ?

    • I'd be wary of regular polystyrene - highly flammable!!

      Expol make a product that has fire retardant built in. I had this installed in my house and works well

  • +2

    Look at getting an energy assessment, they can guide you. Split systems are an efficient and cheaper way of heating your home. Head on over to the My Energy Efficient Electric Home group on FB - there's lots of expertise on there from people in the industry who can advise which is the best first step.

  • +1

    What kind of house?

    Effects whether you can retrofit wall insulation

    What state?

    Affects what type of insulation is needed.

    Its on poles, but how much clearance?

    Affected whether underfloor insulation is even possible.

    Lastly whats your budget?

    Unless you have a lot of money or are competent enough to source products from abroad, you shouldnt even be thinking about double glazing. They cost 10x what they do abroad. Youd likely be better off with secondary glazing or thick european curtains with pelmets.

  • +1

    You can also use a thermal camera to effectively identify areas of your house with poor insulation, or drafts etc. You can pay someone to do an assessment for you, or you buy or rent a camera and do it yourself. Full disclosure: I rent out thermal cameras for this purpose.

  • +1

    Try sealing any drafts you might have - I sealed one at my house and it's worked a charm.
    WFH these days I'm dressed as if I'm going to the snow: thermals, north face jacket, beanie, thick socks, hobo gloves (the ones with holes).
    I'll also have a cup of tea in the morning.

  • +1

    Hot water bottle buddy.

  • +1

    Get one of those enclosed fireplaces.

    I have mine roaring all winter and the whole house is toasty, so good.

    • what you spend on wood or coal

      • Zero, I have never paid a cent.

        There is so much wood around if you keep any eye out.

        This year was particularly bountiful when my neighbour cut down a large gum tree. I have enough in my woodpile to last several years. (maybe a bit too much if you ask my wife :D )

    • Which one do you have ? Don't these fireplaces have to come built with the house ?
      What do you recommend for renters ?

  • You need to buy some heat tech from Uniqlo

  • sex

  • +1

    an Australian friend once told me he stayed a winter in London in an unheated flat where it was so cold they just stayed in bed and had sex all the time. Helps if you're in bed with another person tho' not just youseff …

  • So… any recommendations on electric blankets? Just the basic ones from Kmart/Target/Big or premium brands?

    If anyone has a Choice login, what's the one they recommend?

  • If you haven't already, why not get a NatHERS assessor to check out your house and give you a thermal efficiency rating? Their rating will usually point out what needs to be improved in the house to increase efficiency (ie. keep it warmer) and how effective each option is.

  • The weird thing about my house is that it's often colder inside than outside. Can anyone explain that?

    • +1

      Do you mean colder in the daytime? Or colder than the minimum that day? Because I really doubt is the latter.

      What it usually means is that your house is heating up slower than the outside air. That's generally a good thing.. is the house closed shut at night? Curtains? Heating?

      • Colder in the daytime, I guess it's because the house heats up too slowly.

        • +2

          You can help it heat up quicker by opening windows etc. Make sure to shut everything as soon as the temp starts to drop. You'd be surprised by the difference it can make.

    • +1

      Aircon set to cool? 😁

  • check out kotatsu. quite an easy way to keep warm

  • Cats! Just one will make your house a lot warmer:)

    • +1

      If they're inside they want to go out.
      If they're outside they want to come in.
      Net result: lots of heat loss due to constant door opening.

  • +1

    Do nothing. Take the cold like Saitama, eventually you will get used to it. Be one with the cold.

  • +2

    Honestly do a bit of exercise too. I'm working from home at the moment and dressing appropriately for the weather, but when it starts to get a bit cold stand up, I have skipping rope, weights, spin bike. It's great way to break up the day and keep you warm.

  • How high are the poles you’re up on? In addition to proper underfloor insulation look into blocking the underfloor air flow - whether it is bricks, boards, or a hedge/garden shrubs - anything that slows the wind from ripping through.

    While you’re under there, check your hot water pipes for insulation, if they’re copper and have a long path from heater to tap/shower, insulating those will waste less hot water (total water usage will be the same, but it costs to heat - and anyone with a hot water tank has run out at least once, that one REALLY sucks)

    Are the floorboards fully sealed, or can drafts come through the tiny gaps? That made a difference at an old place, also to dust/dirt - they’re not giant gaps, but air could get through tiny ones in the old floorboards.

  • +1

    it's a little unorthodox, but you could consider rubbing Deep heat over your whole body.

  • It's fascinating what the body does to keep you warm, shutting of parts of your body that you value important just to keep the body going in extreme temperatures.

    • +3

      Are you ok? Do you need me to send out a search and rescue team?

      • How?

        • +1

          A couple of sleds, two teams of Alaskan snow dogs, one or two shovels for digging folk out of avalanches, and a small wooden barrel of rum. That should do it.

          • @Ozpit: But what happens if there's no snow but it's minus 15

            • +3

              @DisabledUser317324: Cancel the dogs, another one's fallen into the ice freezer at Dan Murphy's.

  • +3

    I would recommend the following, in the following order:
    - Weather strips on all windows and doors, to prevent all draughts
    - Electric underfoot heated mat - if you're sitting for long times during the day. Quite cheap to run and keeps your feet warm
    - Ceiling insulation
    - Floor insulation

    Not recommended:
    - Double glazed windows - cost is very high, and the heat loss is not all that significant for the costs involved to rectify.

    • +1

      Yup. Google a little and it's easy to find how long the return on different types of insulation is. R4 to 6 insulation, go above R4 and is the cost worth it? Double glazing was ridiculous, I can't remember how long it was but it completely put me off ever retro fitting it. However, DIY versions of it are good value but obviously look nowhere near as good. Another was injection insulation into homes that had block walls. End result was 1 degree warmer and minimum 10 year payback, some houses were 20 years or higher as it resulted in very little change in temperature.

      • +4

        The problem isn't double glazing - it's the local pricing.

        I had all my windows imported from China and they were $250 USD each. Aluminium, thermal break, double glazed. The prices I got locally ranged from $2,000 - $4,000 EACH for the exact same window.

        Windows made in OZ currently cost about 10x the cost them globally. Hell, it's even cheaper WITH SHIPPING and CUSTOMS to import from GERMANY than it is to make here.

        • I probably wasn't clear. Of course there's nothing wrong with the types of insulation. They all work to certain degrees. It's always cost. Importing windows and doing DIY obviously makes it more worthwhile. It's a good suggestion for people who feel they can do it themselves.

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