How to make your house cosy and warm

Keeping your home warm and dry doesn't need to be hard or expensive – we've come up with some tips to help!

Last updated: 22 May 2023

A roaring fire, hot chocolates and snuggling up with a good book – that’s how winter should be. Unfortunately, many homes in Aotearoa New Zealand (especially older ones) lack quality insulation like double glazed windows and don’t cope well with the cold.

If you’ve got an eyebrow-raising power bill yet your toes feel like ice, you’re not alone! There are lots of easy and cheap ways to keep your home warm and dry – and it doesn’t involve cranking the heater or wearing puffer jackets inside!

How to keep your house warm and healthy

1. Get dry

In Aotearoa, we have Healthy Homes Standards. One of the most important aspects of this is ensuring your home is dry. Ultimately, a healthy home is a dry home. Damp conditions are the perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow, which can cause discomfort or health problems if left unchecked. Extra moisture in the air can make it harder and more expensive to heat too.

If you suspect your home is suffering, fixing the root cause immediately is always recommended. If it’s not possible to repair the problematic wall or window frame immediately, using a dehumidifier for a few hours (before you flick on the heat) will increase the efficiency of your heater and save you money.

If you get caught in the rain, you’ll want your damp clothes to dry properly before returning them to your wardrobe. Save time with a dryer – you can buy them new or second-hand (some with warranties included) for a super reasonable price.

Can’t justify the ongoing expense of a dryer? A heated towel rail can be an attractive and practical addition to the bathroom or laundry.

A dehumidifier can help dry your home!

2. Make the most of a beneficial breeze

It’s important to regularly air the rooms in your house – even on cold days! Letting fresh air into your home encourages old, damp air to leave and clean, fresh air to take its place.

Use an extractor fan when cooking, and open windows once a day – even for just five minutes. It may seem counter-intuitive (especially when there’s a southerly gale) but it costs nothing, and good air circulation is essential to keeping your home dry and healthy.

Choose windy days to dry your clothes outside, either on a clothes rack or a rotary clothesline. You’ll dry your clothes faster and reduce the amount of moisture inside too.

Letting fresh air into your home encourages old, damp air to leave.

3. Find the perfect heater for your home

From oil heaters to fan heaters to heat pumps – the type of heater you need depends on the type of space you want to heat. Do your research before you buy by figuring out about how and when the heater will be used, and by who.

Search for heaters with timers to avoid accidentally leaving it on while you’re away, or fan heaters if you’ve got curious children or pets around. Retro or vintage heaters also look super cool and add personality to any room, but remember that they do tend to have lower energy ratings than newer models.

Trade Me is also a great way to get firewood. Create a saved search to receive relevant updates and listings throughout the year, straight to your inbox. Just don’t forget to select your location – a trailer load of wood isn’t ideal to ship!

The type of heater you need depends on the type of space you want to heat.

4. Hold on to the heat!

Open your curtains to let the sun stream in during the day, and make sure you close them before the temperature drops to keep the warmth inside.

Thermal or dark coloured curtains can make a big difference to keeping heat in, and draught stoppers will keep cold air out. Rugs aren’t just for show either – they’re a great way to provide some insulation and always make a space feel cosy.

While it seems like just a bit of home-decor, these non-powered ways to hold onto the heat cost can actually be powerful. They cost very little upfront with zero ongoing costs – it’s a win-win.

Let the sun into your home as much as you can!

5. Prepare your home

It can be hard to justify purchasing brand new tools for those once-a-year kind of jobs like clearing your gutter, or trimming trees in anticipation of strong winds. But it’s not a reason to skip out on home maintenance altogether, and something like clearing your gutters is one of those basic tasks. A ladder to clear them or a water blaster to get rid of moss will save you money now (and ensure the winter doesn’t get any wetter)!

A clean gutter now can prevent future leaking.

6. Stay snug

A hot water bottle or electric blanket can make going to bed easier too – especially for little ones!

If you’ve got cabin fever but it’s still freezing, a wind breaker and pair of gumboots might be all you need to enjoy your brisk walk. Don’t forget to keep furry family members comfortable too with our jackets and accessories for pets.

Electric blankets and layering up will help keep you warm and cosy.

7. Treat yourself

Sometimes, you just want to treat yourself – and winter is always a valid excuse. It could be a bit luxurious like splurging on a spa pool and outdoor heater, or simple like a pair of merino gloves – whatever you need to stay dry and warm this winter, you’ll find it for a great price on Trade Me.

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