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Top tips on keeping your home warm this winter

As the cold sets in the house could be getting a little chilly. Whether you're feeling the freeze a little more at night or if a string wind really brings in the chill we have a few handy hints for ways you can keep the cold at bay.

On their own, they may not deliver immediate warmth but add them together and you'll have a nice warm home in no time at all.

Fill all the gaps where hot air can escape

Cold air can find its way through the smallest of cracks. Sealing up these tiny cracks will really help to reduce the amount of flowing cold air, felt as drafts. This moving cold air can often have a very visible impact and can even direct warmer air away from where it needs to be. Here are some handy ways you can reduce the amount of air flowing in from the cold outside.

Check window seals

Applying window and door weather strips, it is soft enough to allow a window to close on it but offers a little extra material to reduce the amount of air passing in the gap between the window and the frame. These are easy to apply no matter what type of windows you have and are especially good in single glazing or older windows.

Think about using a door sausage

You can buy a door sausage or make one by stuffing unused plastic bags into a long sock, tights or stockings. Place one on the floor at the foot of the door to reduce the amount of air blasted from where the base of the door has a gap by the frame.

Check the cat flap

If you have a little furry friend then their cat flap is often a large source of cold air intake. Locking it stops the draft but stops your cat from being able to get in, and even when locked the gaps around the flap itself are hardly wind-proof. A draftproof petflap was invented to reduce drafts from cat doors and it looks pretty good too.

Curtains or blinds can help stop hot air from escaping

Changing your curtains to thicker, thermal fabrics will help to keep the cold away and if you can try to choose floor-length drapes to reduce the heat transfer in colder months. They can have the benefit of sheltering the room from the heat in the summer if closed as well.

Warm homes nz

Insulate, insulate, insulate

Most new homes come fully insulated but if your property is older then you may be missing out on this energy-saving, money-saving and heat-trapping tool! When choosing insulation you want really good quality and this means looking for the R-value of the insulation. The higher the R-value the better the insulation is and you can find more information on insulation types and grades online.

Under-floor insulation

This is broken down into different types and which one you choose will depend on the flooring you have, as well as other factors. You might choose polystyrene boards, or wool for example. Every Genius Homes house comes with 40mm EPS polystyrene insulation glued to the underfloor.

Wall insulation

There are a few options here from your standard Pink Batts to more innovative solution like SIPS. SIPS stands for structural insulated panels and replace the framing for a home with panels that have strength and insulation built into one. Most Genius Homes designs include R2.6 Pink Batts in all external walls but some houses, like the Wakatipu, can be configured with SIPs instead.

Ceiling insulation

Heat rises so stopping it from rising into the attic, or up through the roof tiles is really key to keeping a house warm. Adding ceiling, or roof insulation, to a home is a relatively easy task that can be done at any time of year. Pink Batts are a common find in many insulated roofs, and for good reason, as they really work! Each Genius Homes plan includes R3.6 (a nice high number) Pink Batts for roof insulation as standard.

Window glazing matters

Windows can be a major source of heat loss and not only because of gaps in older frames. The glass itself is a contributor to heat loss as glass is not a great material for keeping things hot or cold.

Just consider a cold glass of water. Almost as soon as the water is poured the glass takes on the characteristic of the fluid, becoming chill to the touch. As the water warms so does the glass. Unlike metal, glass doesn't actually want to stay one temperature for very long. This is why glazing technology has come a long way for thermal retention.


Having two panes of glass close together doesn't really do a whole heap on its own but double glazing is hermetically sealed with either air or argon gas trapped between the panes. This gas is poor at conducting heat which means it doesn't pull the heat from inside the home (or from the sun in summer) creating a fairly neutral barrier to shield the internal heat from the cold air outside.

Every Genius Homes house comes with double glazed aluminium windows with clear pine H3.1, 25mm reveals as standard.

Keeping warm is a key part of getting through winter. Implementing some of these tips will help keep the cold out and if they are all used then you're more likely to have a warmer home as the cold sets in.

Another way to end up in a warmer, drier and healthy home is to talk to the team at Genius Homes regarding our range of modern prefab houses. With so many standard insulation inclusions you're getting a house that's ready to handle the cold, and with the Genius Homes team being based in Timaru they know a thing or two about a cold snap!

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