Image credit Gábor Sidó
It’s foggy, it’s damp, it’s not particularly cold this week – but that’s on the cards for next week YAY lol. Muddy sports are in full swing, the washing is piling up and our daylight hours are dwindling (making any kind of photography super difficult for this social-media mama!). We just can’t deny Winter any longer.
Our daily routine changes heaps as the seasons do, probably because we, like many New Zealand families, live in an old house. Our home is quite the silver-fox, most people don’t immediately realise how old she is. Fully concrete block, sitting on what we assume to be a damaged concrete slab (damp). Our early 1950’s 1/4 acre dream still has original plate glass windows in breezy wooden joinery, a really inefficient gas fire, a slightly leaky roof and one heat pump when we really need two. We love the old girl though and are just so grateful we were able to purchase a house in Auckland just before this crazy market went into it’s upward swing.
As we’re not moving, our household habits need to adjust for the cooler, damper weather. Here’s what we do to survive winter in an old house without having to sell our first-born to pay our power company!
Surviving Winter in an Old House
- #Dehumidifiers4life – I’m sure that hashtag is sooooo on-rend right now lol but it’s true. I can’t live without our 2 dehumidifiers. I keep the big one running in the playroom 24 hours a day as this area of the house is subject to shower moisture and leads to the bedrooms. I also rotate our little one around the other rooms in the house. Dry air is cheaper to heat than moist air, plus, removing excess moisture that creeps in through our slab, roof and dodgy windows is essential in maintaining all-around family health and preventing mould ::::::shudder:::::
- Before I even begin to think about heating in the late afternoons, I shut up shop in rooms that have already lost the light by closing windows and blinds and I shut doors in rooms we are no longer using.
- We identified that we were losing a lot of heat through two old-school glass panelled doors so replaced them over summer with composite fibreglass doors which are much more efficient at retaining heat.
- I’m always checking to make sure that we are spending as little as possible on electricity. Shopping around regularly can make a BIG difference. We switched last month to Electric Kiwi.
Pro-tip: We now get one hour of off-peak power FREE every day! This is when I run the dishwasher, pop things in the dryer to air, put another load of washing on etc. For many families, hot water can be a huge part of the monthly power bill, if you’ve got older kids or teens that go to bed after 9 pm (off-peak), switch from morning to before-bed showers and get that water heated during your free hour!
- We have a clothesline under a porch roof so even in winter I still use this to get our clothes 80% dry saving money on the amount of time clothes need to be in the dryer or on the drying rack – TAKING OVER MY LOUNGE!
This is by no means a comprehensive list or guide, rather, just some easy to implement ideas that we use in our home on a daily basis. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got some awesome ways to survive winter in an old house so get in touch by leaving a comment below!
Thanks so much to Electric Kiwi for partnering with us this winter, love your work guys!