Mosman’s grand old places (and bijou cottages) have a wonderful feel of history and an unmatchable ‘mojo’ but they can often be freezing cold in winter. Older windows and door frames let draughts in, while large spaces can be difficult to heat.
If you have an older home, or even a new one that leaves you feeling chilly during June, July and August, the following strategies may raise your inside temperature to more comfortable levels.
Stop the gap
The first step to keeping your Mosman home warm is to keep the heat in and the cold out. Heat escapes through window and door frames, and gaps in the walls, ceilings and floors. The simplest approach is to keep doors closed and use heavy curtains and door draught excluders.
Warm rugs or carpets on solid floors also help to stop heat escaping, especially if you have floor boards.
Insulate your home
Insulation is one of the most effective ways to make your home warmer in winter, reduce your energy bills and improve the value of your home.
According to yourhome.gov.au, up to 40 per cent of heat from a home is lost through the windows alone. Consider installing double-glazed windows into your Mosman house. This simple step will go a long way towards saving on your bills and saving the environment.
It is a good idea to insulate roofs and ceilings at the same time as these work together to keep heat in. After these areas, wall insulation is the most important. If you are recladding or replastering, this is a good time to add these materials. Otherwise, you can arrange to have cellulose or fibreglass material pumped into existing wall and floor cavities. Current insulation experts can achieve a great deal without having to tear down and rebuild.
Install a heating system
Door seals and insulation will only go so far. During the coldest nights you will need something extra.
The type of heating system you choose depends on the space you have, the cost to install and run, environmental impact and aesthetic preference. There isn’t a hard and fast right or wrong answer, so do your research about what’s best for your home.
In smaller spaces like bedrooms, electric portable heaters work just fine. They heat the room up very quickly and are perfect while you’re getting ready for bed in the evening or for work in the morning. Choose a fan, column or convection heater and look for one with a timer so it is not running constantly. For example, you can set your heater to come on an hour before you go to bed and half an hour before you wake up in the morning.
For moderate-sized rooms, some experts recommend using an electric convection heater with a built-in fan or a fan heater, such as Dyson’s Hot+Cool. This will help distribute the heat more evenly throughout the room. Some models helpfully include a thermostat to prevent overheating.
Consider using a ceiling fan on a low setting to push the rising warm air downwards.
Gas heating is generally more efficient and better for the environment than electric. Options include ducted gas central heating or plug-in flued or unflued heaters.
Ducted central heating involves installation work but it is extremely effective at warming your whole house at a fraction of the cost of electric heaters. Plug-in gas heaters need either flues or ventilation as they emit carbon monoxide and water vapour. Flued heaters are more hassle to install as the flue needs to have an outside outlet, but they are more effective for larger spaces.
Who doesn’t love a glowing open fire? It’s wonderful for creating a cosy ambience, but a wood-burning fire is not the most efficient way to heat your Mosman home as most of the heat is lost up the chimney.
If you’d like a wood fire, combustion heaters are a better option. They distribute the heat more evenly in a larger space.
Other decent alternatives include gas or bioethanol fireplaces. These can give the look and feel of a woodfire, especially the biofuel option, but they heat more efficiently and are more environmentally friendly.
A heated towel rail is a must for your bathroom and a heated floor is a whole new level of luxury that ends the sting of cold tiles underfoot.
Underfloor heating can be used to warm your floor or even act as a primary heat source, replacing your other heating systems. It works by using either fine electrical cables that generate heat, or by pumping hot water through pipes beneath your floor.
Having warm floors can have a surprising flow on of warming the rest of the room.
Home heating: think long-term
Whatever you do to make your place cosier and warmer this winter, it makes sense to take the longer term view. Install-high quality insulation as well as a heating system that will be efficient and will last. Examples include ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning and gas or hydronic underfloor heating. These will provide that extra level of comfort and appeal that will add value to your Mosman home for the long term.