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  Reply # 760021 12-Feb-2013 12:47 Send private message

The ceiling itself is an air gap, which should help at least a little. Fix the drafts, get a fan heater, and hope for the best. Don't try and keep it tropical, just try to keep it so you can't see your breath.

The dehumidifier can help reduce water, but you're best off opening the windows for a while first. No point paying money to do something windows can do fine. It uses heaps of power, as it's just a portable air conditioner, and of course heats a bit as a side effect.




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  Reply # 760022 12-Feb-2013 12:50 Send private message

ask the landlord for a heat pump?

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  Reply # 760028 12-Feb-2013 12:52 Send private message

Heat pump without insulation is just a cheaper way to heat the world. A heat pump moves heat, if you can't keep it inside I wouldn't think it's worth the investment. It'd be constantly running.

Even in my well insulated but old home a 7kw heat pump rarely turns off on really cold days. It's probably running on low most of the time, not using much power, but it mostly goes. My new 10kw heat pump spends more time off. For reference this is in a house that loses about 2-3 degrees between 10pm and 7am when the outside temperature's around 6 degrees and all heating's turned off.





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  Reply # 760030 12-Feb-2013 12:53 Send private message

timmmay: Removing those is a nightmare, I had to repaint the windows in places. I have a bunch lying in my shed in Wellington, I should sell them or give them away.


timmmay, out of curiosity did they work? We have one room which is hard to heat in winter since its the furthest from our wood burner. I wouldn't mind putting those on the windows if they do in fact work!



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  Reply # 760033 12-Feb-2013 12:56 Send private message

joker97: ask the landlord for a heat pump?


Could try, but it took from the 1st week of January until yesterday just get a waste pipe from upstairs that was emptying onto our court yard instead of a drain fixed. Apparently the pipe was blocked at the bottom and when the tenants complained about it last year they just drilled a whole into the pipe above the block instead of fixing the block.

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  Reply # 760039 12-Feb-2013 13:06 Send private message

tchart: timmmay, out of curiosity did they work? We have one room which is hard to heat in winter since its the furthest from our wood burner. I wouldn't mind putting those on the windows if they do in fact work!


They reduced condensation, and they probably reduced heat loss as well. Any extra heat retention wasn't noticeable, but this is in a well insulated house with two heat pumps and an oil heater in the room this was done in.

You could try a heat transfer kit if you want to move warm air around, but I hear they don't work super well because of heat loss in the ceiling. My solution is just to use small oil heater in rooms that don't have much heat, though in future I'm going to put in a house integrated wide central heat recovery ventilation and heat pump based heating system - once I want to stump up the $20K or so it'll probably cost.




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  Reply # 760043 12-Feb-2013 13:15 Send private message

RileyB: Also should mention we have access to a dehumidifier


A dehumidifier will give you ~60% extra heat for free (compared to an electric heater), from the latent heat of consensing the water. But only if the air is damp to start with.

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  Reply # 760080 12-Feb-2013 13:56 Send private message

tchart:
timmmay: Removing those is a nightmare, I had to repaint the windows in places. I have a bunch lying in my shed in Wellington, I should sell them or give them away.


timmmay, out of curiosity did they work? We have one room which is hard to heat in winter since its the furthest from our wood burner. I wouldn't mind putting those on the windows if they do in fact work!


They should roughly halve the heat loss through the windows, same as standard double glazing without any bells and whistles, with the bonus that they will help the air sealing of old windows. Also help with the cold feeling you get near windows due to the imbalance of thermal radiation.

The distance to the rim of the window (about 25mm) is a bit more than desirable but not too bad.

Friend of mine triple glazed his cold, draughty London basement flat with them recently. Film is also sometimes used in professional insulated window units overseas eg glass, 2 spaced layers of film and then glass for quadtruple glazing.


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  Reply # 760247 12-Feb-2013 16:29 Send private message

We had a small 2 bedroom original 1960's house in Auckland with no wall or floor insulation, and the ceiling batts were completely collapsed. We managed to get brand new end-of-line carpet which we just cut to size and placed on the timber floor, which made a huge improvement.

Then we got a Mylar film for the windows to do exactly what that 3M kit does, and it made a big difference with a lot less condensation. Remember that moisture absorbs energy to evaporate, which is why your house gets very cold in the morning when the sun comes out.

We also got a window mount aircon and installed it in place of one of the windows. Just unscrewed the window hinges, fitted a strong bracket to the wall for the 35kg aircon, and closed the gaps on the sides and top with timber. It was a 3kW unit for a 70 sqm home, and I had it setup to blow from the lounge into the dining room through the kitchen through the hallway and back into the lounge. The circulating air also spread to the bedrooms. Best to install the unit on the North side, preferable with some cover or else it will freeze up just after the peak of Winter when the humidity get high (for us around August/September).

For light fittings, consider using incandescent bulbs as it is essentially a distributed heat source (assuming you have a few fittings around the room).

Oil fin heaters with a CPU fan placed on top of it and blowing down over the fins work very well, the heat is blown down and spread across the floor instead of going straight up. And for an electric heater I would use only oil fin for a cheap solution, or ceramic wall mount for a compact solution. Open element heaters are dangerous and unhealthy.

We used the dehumidifier in Winter to help dry the air, filter it, and the waste heat to help heat the house.

If you have/install a heat transfer system (I realise you do not have much of a ceiling), keep in mind it only works if you have a concentrated heat source like a metal chimney from a fire place. They do not work for a distributed heat like an aircon. Also, insulated ducting is still only R0.6 so you still need to cover it with more insulation (your cavity between floors might be okay).

Consider running the tumble dryer ducting through the house before it goes outside.

The cheap glue backed foam works for windows and doors, the slightly less cheap one that feels like rubber works much better. Close every single gap you can find. You will not suffocate, the gaps in the floor (assuming timber) is more than enough ventilation.

Bricks are good for insulation, it is a thermal mass.

Go around the house and make sure there is good drainage adjacent to the house, preferably no plant beds as it will hold moisture and cold against the house.

In the bathroom always use heat lamps and a ventilation fan while showering/bathing, to clear the moisture from the house.

Insulation is the best thing to do, but you can still improve your situation without (before) the expense of insulation. I have. Not down South, but I know what relative improvement it made and I had no money to spend at the time.




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  Reply # 761573 13-Feb-2013 10:00 Send private message

If you want to look at heaters then I would recommend a radiant heater, used to be known as infra-red heaters but I think this name scared some people off so they changed it to something less dangerous sounding.

I've tried oil heaters, fan heaters, convection heaters; the best I've found for getting me warm quickly was the radiant heater. It heats you directly and not the surrounding air, so you don't need to worry about all your warmth rising up to the ceiling (I was living in a house with a 5 metre ceiling when I discovered radiant heaters). You have to be sitting pretty much directly in front of the heater, you'll get no benefit if you're behind or to the side. Also they're silent, unlike anything with a fan in it.

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  Reply # 836189 13-Jun-2013 10:28 Send private message

Sorry to revive this discussion but it seems to touch a couple of things we're looking at...

We currnetly have a house with some ceiling insulation (pink batts) that probably need some topup around now. We have a new floor insulation (wool sheets with foil stappled to the beans). The house is about 60cm above ground. Windows have seals so there may be some draft but nothing serious at the moment.

We try to keep our daughter's room at 18c at night. For that we have an oil heater. We thought of replacing it with a flat wall heater (the econo-heat or similar) with a thermostat. First because it would be on only when needed and second because at 400w is a lot less than the 1200w minimum the oil heater uses.

Also, does anyone have any experience with the Dyson heater for a small lounge? Thought of it because it comes with a thermostat and from a couple of engineering sites I've seen it seems it can heat a room up to 3 degrees more than an oil heater in the same time with a bit less power consumption. They do cost more than a conventional fan heater, but seems economical to run. At the end of the day if we can reduce our power bill by $100 a month that would pay for these two things by the end of the year...

Ideas?





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  Reply # 836190 13-Jun-2013 10:32 One person supports this post Send private message

A 400W and a 1200W heater use the same amount of power to keep the room at the same temperature. All heaters are 100% efficient, heat pumps are 300-400% efficient. The only question is where the heat goes - with oil and wall heaters that's up, with fan heaters it's wherever you point it initially, then up.

Ceiling bats are easy enough to install, but annoying. Hire someone.

A dyson heater shouldn't be any different from a regular fan heater. If you want to lower your energy costs your options are heat pump or insulation.

I have a fair bit of experience in this area, after doing up my old house. Happy to pop up and take a look and have a chat this weekend if you like.




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  Reply # 836196 13-Jun-2013 10:44 Send private message

I think the best results for us would be topup the ceiling insulation and investigate some wall insulation as the underfloor is pretty new (two years old)...





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  Reply # 836198 13-Jun-2013 10:46 Send private message

Ceiling insulation always helps. I had loose fill wool, added pink batts over the top, it made a big difference. Having no gaps at all is important, even tiny gaps let a lot of heat through.

If you have downlights don't even bother insulating until they're replaced with sealed units you can insulate over.




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  Reply # 836209 13-Jun-2013 11:01 Send private message

What are the windows like in the room? Single glazed or double glazed?

If you're feeling well off it may be worth retrofitting double glazing into just that one bedroom, or any other rooms you actively heat right throughout the night.

Or you can do it cheaply to start with, by trying some plastic sheeting DIY investigations. I've just redone my daughters rooms with plastic sheeting taped externally over the frames with $10 PVC tape from the warehouse. Instant reduction in condensation on the inside glass face. Total cost of $5 I guess for half a roll of tape, as I used the same plastic sheets as last year, which we take down over summer.

Good curtains and possibly a draught stopper along the top of the curtain rail (as no one seems to do pelmets any more) are another part to consider, which potentially don't have to cost much either.

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