No Award would like to try and help you out with some ways to keep you warmer in your tent-like Aussie rental home this winter.
One of the biggest problems with an Aussie winter is the way our houses are glorified tents. “Moderate” cold weather in Australia leads to more deaths that severe heatwaves. And all the things you might do to mitigate that, such as insulation and better curtains (or curtains at all), is hard to do if you’re a renter, which a lot of us are.
On Friday Steph went to a sustainability conference, and when one of the presenters was asked a question about sustainability for renters, the presenter just kind of faffed around and didn’t really offer an answer. So No Award, lifetime renters, are here to offer you some options.
Keep the House Warm
D U H. Okay so what you have to do is keep the hot air from escaping, and keep the cool air from getting in.
Locate and stop up draughts. Draughts are most likely to come through gaps in windows and doors, especially those crappy patio doors. You can make or buy a door snake, but that’s annoying because if you’re like No Award, you’ll usually forget to push it back in when you’re closing a door. What we recommend is that you get a ‘draught excluder’ for sealing windows and doors, and stick them as appropriate. They come off super easy at the end of winter or the end of your lease, and are easy to put on. You can get them for about $12 at your Bunnings or similar.
(But one thing door snakes are great for is sitting on top of rattly windows, if they’re the type that opens by sliding upwards. They’ll stop the draft and the noise!)
Open curtains when the sun is out. This takes advantage of the glasshouse effect. But remember to close your curtains again when the sun goes down, to keep that heat you’re generating in.
If you have stone, concrete, tiled or wooden floors, cover them with a rug. A blanket from the oppie is fine. Obviously this isn’t as necessary if you have in-floor heating (the dream).
Close internal doors. If you have a cat who cries loudly when internal doors are closed, leave them open just a fraction — Liz likes to rig up a complex network of competing doorstops to keep the door in place.
Keep You Warm
Put an underlay on your bed! A spare blanket as an under-layer works fine if you don’t want to spend dollars on it. This creates an extra cushion of air to insulate you when you’re in bed.
Hot water bottle. Steph loves hers (it is a penguin). Even if you’re sitting at your desk or table, a hot water bottle at your back or in your lap will make a real difference.
Alternatively, use a dry heat pack — there are instructions for making your own here.
Roast and bake things in your oven! And when you’ve finished cooking your deliciousness, leave the oven door open (so long as you don’t have an inquisitive cat/dog/babby who wants to stick their nose in there) – the heat will dissipate into the air.
Blankies over everything! Cosy, close-to-hand blankets that you traded for or bought at the op-shop. It’ll make you feel better and also make it easier for you to wrap yourself up when you’re too cold to move.
Electric blankets are much more efficient and sustainable than space heaters. Switch it on half an hour before you go to bed, turn it off when you get in, enjoy a night of toasty comfort. (Remember to check your electric blanket at the start of every winter, and discard it if it is fraying or damaged.)
Layer your clothes. You’d be amazed at the difference a singlet under your top will make. (In the deepest depths of winter, Liz goes so far as to wear leggings under her pyjama pants at night.) This, again, is about creating another layer of air as insulation — this is why even sheets and leggings that are crocheted are amazing, despite having “holes” in them.
Candles. They’re atmospheric and increase the ambient temperature of your room.
Please share your renter-friendly tips and advice for staying warm in an Aussie winter in the comments.