Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Noise transfer in the home can be a big problem! Here’s five ways you can solve it!

Thanks to the lightweight design and construction methods used in New Zealand, combined with noisy appliances and loud entertainment gear, noise transfer in the home has become a big problem. That’s not even discussing your neighbors who love to throw house parties every Saturday night. Thankfully there are several steps you can take to reduce noise transfer in the home so here are our top five tips to start controlling it!

Insulating your walls lowers noise transfer in and out of the home.

You may not realise, but some insulation materials have amazing sound dampening properties. For many kiwi homes, wall insulation is an afterthought and unfortunately, many builders only provide the minimum thermal levels, if any at all.

Choosing a blown insulation product like CosyWall Insulation not only provides an effective thermal insulation barrier, but because the material is blown into the walls at such a high density it also works to lower noise vibrations and prevent soundwaves from penetrating your walls.

It’s best to chat with an insulation expert about choosing the right insulation material if the sound is an issue for you.

Minimise uniform surfaces

Flat surfaces such as walls and ceilings are great for bouncing sound waves around the house but terrible for controlling noise transfer. If you’re thinking about building a new home, it’s important to make sure your architect or draftsperson considers this in your design. The more angles and less uniform surfaces in your home the harder it is for sound to bounce.

Choose the right doors for your home

Doors play an important role in controlling noise transfer in your house. Selecting the right doors is one of the easiest and least expensive ways of controlling sound in your home.

Doors are typically hollow and have no insulating layer inside. Hollow doors do a poor job of blocking soundwaves. Spending a little more money on solid doors made from denser materials helps prevent noise transfer.

Upgrade your windows

Replacing your old single-pane windows with double-glazed ones will help filter out those unwanted frequencies. Double Glazed windows have the added benefit of improving thermal efficiency. They also work to reduce noise transfer in and out of your home. There are many amazing joinery manufacturers here in New Zealand who could help you upgrade your windows.

Consider your flooring

Your choice of flooring can have a profound impact on the noise levels in your home. Timber and Bamboo floors look great but can create substantial noise issues. This is why it’s so important to prepare your subfloor correctly. Hard floors like concrete and tiles will be quieter than timber however you really can’t go past carpet for soundproofing.

For more information chat to the team at CosyWall Insulation! We’d be happy to discuss ways at reducing noise transfer in your home.

How to fix condensation issues in my home?

If you have been living in your home a little while you may have noticed that parts of your home’s walls get very damp. This is usually because of condensation issues in your home and is usually a good indication that your home’s walls are not well insulated. If damp or wet walls are not addressed quickly, this can lead to mould developing inside the home which in turn can damage your walls and furniture and seriously affect the health and wellbeing of your family. In this article, we are going to look at what causes condensation and steps you can take to deal with the issue.

What causes condensation in my home?

Condensation starts to occur when warm air and cold air meet. It can also occur when there is a lot of humidity in the air and not enough ventilation. It is most evident in the winter months and is usually a result of your efforts to keep your house warm. Everyday activities such as cooking, showering, and drying clothes can also release moisture into the air which can also lead to condensation issues in the home.

For older New Zealand homes, there may be many breaks in your home’s thermal barrier which allows air in and out of your home. When the inside warm air starts mixing with the outside cold air it cools down quickly, releasing the water molecules from the air. These turn into liquid droplets that attach themselves to cold surfaces such as your walls and develops into condensation.

Condensation tends to be less of an issue during the summer months as we are always opening the windows and doors to let fresh air in therefore keeping the home ventilated. In the winter months, we typically keep all the windows and doors closed so the cold air doesn’t come inside but, if the house isn’t well ventilated, this can cause condensation issues to quickly develop. While most houses have extractor fans in the bathrooms, these small fans are usually not enough to keep the entire house ventilated and when the outside air temperature starts to drop you can start to notice damp and wet walls.

While a little bit of water may not sound like a major issue, if left unattended, it can create the perfect environment for black mould to grow which can lead to several health issues including respiration problems, skin rashes and sore or itchy eyes.

What can you do to fix condensation issues in the home?

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to fix your condensation problems and ensure that your home’s thermal envelope is closed. The first thing you want to do is prevent the outside air getting into your home. There could be several weak points in your home contributing to this issue including:

  • Gaps around the windows and doors in your home
  • Poor insulation in your walls, underfloor or roof
  • Leaks in your roof
  • Damage to your homes cladding
  • Poor ventilation in your home

If there is damage to your home and it is not weathertight these issues need to be immediately addressed. Leaving your home exposed to New Zealand’s harsh climate for extended periods of time can lead to an expensive repair bill and numerous health issues.

You could also invest in better extractor fans and/or a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air however, in most situations the underlying issue related to condensation build-up is either poor or no insulation.

Insulating your home is the single best thing you can do for your family’s health and wellbeing and in New Zealand, homes usually only have the minimum standards of insulation. When we inspect most homes, we find that there is a little bit of insulation in the roof and under the floor but usually no insulation in the walls. Insulation is designed to provide a barrier that keeps the outside air temperature out and the inside temperature in. If the walls are not well insulated, all your heating efforts are easily lost through the walls. By insulating your walls, you are helping to close your home’s thermal envelope and helping to permanently fix condensation issues in your home.

Insulation products like CosyWall Insulation can be easily blown into the walls of your home without having to remove the linings. It is pumped into the walls through small holes which are patched up after the installation so you will never know the process was done. Additionally, because it is blown in at such a high density, it will never shrink or slump inside the walls and with a 50-year durability rating, the insulation will last the life of the home.

Talk to the team at CosyWall Insulation today about organising a free home assessment for your property.

How to keep my family healthy this winter

Winter is coming and no doubt you are wanting to keep your family healthy and well! In this article, we cover a few ways you can prepare your home for the winter and ensure you avoid those viruses!

Good insulation and an efficient heating system can go a long way in keeping your home warm and dry and your family healthy.

Insulate to keep your home warm and reduce your energy bills!

Insulation is a great solution for keeping your house dry and healthy and, overall, comfortable to live in. An uninsulated house can lead to many health issues caused by mould growth, condensation and dampness. Fully insulating your home ensures your thermal envelope is closed. This means your home will be easier to heat in the winter and will help reduce your overall energy bills.

While most homes have insulation in the ceiling or floors, many New Zealand homes do not have adequate wall insulation. A lack of wall insulation can account for over 33% of your home’s energy loss so it is important to address this issue. A blown or injected insulation product like CosyWall Insulation is easy to install and doesn’t require the removal of linings.

Keep your home moisture-free

A damp home can be bitterly cold in the winter and lead to several health issues for your family. Too much moisture in your home can cause damage to your floor coverings and walls and can even damage your furniture and clothes. Make every effort to eliminate moisture from your home by following these simple steps.

  • Dry your washing on a clothesline when you can
  • If you have to use a dryer, make sure it is vented outside.
  • Have shorter showers and make sure your extractor fan is left on for a few minutes after you finish.
  • Leave a window open in your bathroom for extra ventilation while in use.
  • Use lids on your pots and pans when in use. This stops extra steam and moisture escaping while you’re cooking.
  • Have a heat pump installed. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than traditional gas or oil heaters and don’t release moisture into the air.
  • Regularly wipe down your windows and walls if you notice condensation forming.
  • Open your windows and doors for a few minutes each day to let fresh air in and ventilate your rooms without extraction fans.
  • Keep mattresses off the floor by ensuring they have a base.

Practice good hygiene to keep your family healthy.

There is no substitute for good hygiene as a defence against viruses and bugs. Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Use warm water and lots of soap and make sure you’re scrubbing long enough. Make sure you have fresh towels and make sure your hands are dry after washing.

Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies

Yes, a healthy diet is of paramount importance to bolstering your immune system. Winter is one of these times where desserts and comfort foods are in high demand but make sure you keep a balanced diet. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables during winter will provide that added defence necessary to help your family healthy once the cold sets in.

A healthy family is a well rested family – make sure they’re getting plenty of sleep!

A great nights sleep helps you stay positive and stress-free. Getting into bed at a reasonable time and ensuring an uninterrupted sleep is a sure-fire way to stay healthy. Don’t forget to regularly wash your sheets and make sure your rooms are dry, well-insulated and dust-free. Keeping a healthy bedroom is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and well this coming winter.

Are you living in a cold damp house? Here’s what you can do about it!

Why is my home always damp in the morning?

Are you living in a cold, damp house where you wake up and the windows are wet in the mornings? You’re not alone, in fact, many older New Zealand homes suffer from this exact issue. Homes that were built 20-30 years ago didn’t have the same insulation standards that exist in today’s building code. Additionally, homes weren’t required to be properly ventilated and the construction approach meant that gaps could show up in the structure of the building which allowed airflow in and out of the house. All this adds up to a cold and damp house which is hard to heat in the winter and challenging to cool in the summer.

What causes dampness and condensation?

If your living in a damp house, the issue is to do with the amount of moisture in the air. Dampness is caused by condensation and moisture in your home. This is most noticeable in winter. When the temperature starts to plumate, condensation rises. You’ll know you’ve got an issue when you start noticing moisture on the windows and mould growing in parts of your home. You may also start to notice decayed flooring and paint starting to peel off the walls.

It can be a big problem that leaves furniture and clothes damaged and can also lead to health issues like asthma and other respiratory ailments. Running a dehumidifier may help reduce moisture levels but it is only a temporary solution. Addressing the root of the issue by properly insulating and ventilating your home is the best way to ensure that you have a healthy home for you and your family.

What can I do about dampness in the home?

There are a few things that you should start to address in your home. If you are renting, these are issues you should raise with your landlord as soon as possible.

Install an extractor fan in the kitchen

Cooking creates a lot of steam and if your house isn’t properly ventilated all this excess moisture gets trapped in the home. Adding or improving your ventilation systems and installing extractor fans in the kitchen will help reduce moisture. These are readily available at most appliance stores and can be easily installed.

Get rid of bathroom moisture

Long, hot showers may feel amazing but they also create a lot of steam and moisture. To prevent this from spreading to other parts of the house it is important to make sure your bathroom is well ventilated. Make sure you have a good extractor fan and your bathroom door is closed when showering. It also helps to open your bathroom windows so steam doesn’t get trapped in the room.

If you want to fix your damp house, you must let it breathe

Opening the windows and doors in your home for just 15 minutes in the morning will aid in the ventilation of your home as it allows any moisture to dry out and any lingering dampness to disappear.

Insulate your home

Yes, you probably know how important insulation is but what you may not know about is your home’s thermal barrier. Older homes may have a little insulation in the ceiling or underfloor but often the walls were left uninsulated. This is one of the biggest causes of dampness in the home. Ensuring your home is well insulated should be at the top of your priority list.

While it may seem like a daunting task, technology has improved which means your walls can now be insulated without having to remove the linings and cause a huge disruption. Choosing a blown product like CosyWall Insulation makes it easy and cost-effective to install. It can be blown through small holes drilled from either the inside or outside of the home. These can be easily repaired after the install, so you’ll never know the process was done.

A free home assessment can be done on your property to find the best approach for insulating your home. Contact the team at CosyWall Insulation today to find out more.

Reduce your energy usage – 5 Tips to help you save on your power bills

You are probably here because you are looking for ways to reduce your energy usage. By reducing your home’s energy usage, you are not only going to save money on your electricity bills but you are also making a difference by reducing your carbon footprint! While making these little steps might seem insignificant, if everyone did a little bit, it would add up to a lot. Reducing your energy usage is the first step in lowing our emissions and keeping the planet healthy!

Unplug your appliances when they are not in use

There are a lot of appliances in your house that are only used from time to time. Your microwave, TV, washing machine and computer are just a few examples. These days, most of our appliances have a standby mode which means they are never truly off. Even in standby mode, your appliances are still consuming electricity. Unplugging these when not in use is the first step to reducing your energy usage.

Choosing the right appliances is also very important. Front-loading washing machines, although a little more expensive upfront, are much more energy-efficient. They require less water and detergent to run and use less power. Choosing an energy-efficient fridge is also very important as it is one appliance in your home that is always on. Make sure you choose a manufacturer that has a high energy rating label.

Insulate your home to reduce your energy usage

Most people think insulation is just about keeping your home warm in the winter when, in fact, making sure your home is well insulated is probably one of the best things you can do to reduce your energy usage.

Insulation helps keep the inside air in and the outside air out. Insulation helps create a thermal barrier which means any effort you spend heating or cooling your home is not immediately lost. While most houses have underfloor and ceiling insulation, many New Zealand houses lack proper wall insulation. Insulating your walls is a great investment and will pay for itself in a relatively short time.

Once your home is properly insulated, you will have to run the heat pump a lot less which in itself will lower your energy consumption.

Look for energy-efficient transport choices.

Electrical vehicles have come a long way in recent years and sales are set to overtake petrol vehicles in the near future. Think about updating your vehicle to an electric or hybrid vehicle. This will help reduce your carbon footprint and the environment will thank you for it!

If upgrading your car is not an option right now, why not try walking, cycling, carpooling or even catching public transport for a change? New Zealand is constantly upgrading its road and public transport infrastructure so, alternatives to using your vehicle are now widely accessible.

Reduce your water usage

As New Zealand’s climate continues to change and water restrictions become more common, it is worth looking at some options to reduce your water usage. Heating your water uses a lot of energy so reducing your water consumption where possible will also reduce your homes energy usage.

Look for water-efficient appliances when purchasing. Water-efficiency labels are now a requirement on these appliances, and you can learn more about the scheme by reviewing the WELS standards (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards).

Purchasing a rainwater tank is another great option. Retention tanks catch the run-off water from your roof and store it for use at a later stage. This is particularly handy if there are water restrictions as it reduces the pressure on your council’s infrastructure and means that you can keep your gardens watered all year round.

Buying a water-efficient showerhead is another great idea! This can help reduce the amount of water you use in the shower and can have a significant impact on your hot water usage.

Switch to solar

Today, solar panels are very affordable. Taking your house off the grid and running it on solar power will have lasting benefits. The upfront cost will easily pay for itself over time and it will aide in the fight against climate change and global warming.

There are many solar companies in New Zealand and a total home conversation can be done very quickly. Learn more about converting your house to solar energy here.

How to keep your home warm this winter

We’re only few months away from winter, so it’s time to start preparing! Colder weather results in colder homes, which can affect our health. It’s important to start thinking about how to protect you and your family from cold’s, flu’s, and other nasties this winter – including how to keep your home warm to help reduce the risks of catching those winter woes.

Here’s some tips on how to keep your home warm this winter.

1. LET THE SUNLIGHT IN DURING THE DAY
While many winter days may be rainy and cloudy, we often see winter days with the sun out and shining. Even on cold days, the sun is still warm. So once the sun is up, capture in that free heat by opening up your curtains and letting that sunshine in before you leave your house in the mornings.

2. MAKE USE OF YOUR CURTAINS
Like opening up your curtains during the day, it’s important to shut them as soon as it gets dark. Curtains act as another layer of insulation to keep warmth and dryness in your rooms. If you don’t have quality curtains, and are thinking of replacing them – think about getting ‘thermal’ curtains which are best at keeping the warmth in.

3. REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE FOR WARMTH
Every room has a warmer and colder point depending on where your windows and doors are positioned. You will feel warmer if you position yourself closer to the inside of the house, because your cold, external walls are further away. Or perhaps your sofa is currently near a window. In this case, you may feel warmer if you move your sofa to a position in the room where it’s further away from your windows and doors. Think about practical ways you can rearrange your furniture to maximise warmth within your home.

4. SEAL YOUR LEAKS AND HOLES
Ever noticed that cool draft in your home that comes out of nowhere? That’s often due to leaks through windows, doors, basements, and other spots in the house. Walk around your home to figure out where that draft is coming from, and seal it. Windows and doors are best solved with spray foam insulation, and other holes can be blocked by caulk.

5. LAYER YOUR WOODEN FLOORS
Architecture Now states that 10% of heat is lost through wooden floors. If you’ve got wooden floors in your home, it’s a good idea to make use of rugs to keep your rooms warmer. If you want to go the extra mile, opting for carpet can do wonders in making your home feel warmer and cosier.

6. MAXIMISE YOUR INSULATION
It’s estimated that homes without sufficient insulation lose 42% of its heat through the roof, 24% through its walls, and 10% through the floors. That is a huge amount of heat loss! To ensure your home is warm this winter, it’s time to assess your current insulation. One of the CosyWall professionals can help assess the insulation in your home, and make necessary adjustments to improve your insulation.

10 DIY home hacks you’ll love

Home maintenance and cleaning isn’t always fun, but it can be with these DIY home hacks! Here are 10 easy ways to help you keep your home tidier and more organised.

1.       KEEPING YOUR POWER OUTLETS ORGANISED

Nothing’s more annoying than pulling out the wrong chord from a full power extension outlet! Use washi tape to add labels to the various cables plugged into your power strips. That way, it you ever need to unplug something, you can do so without accidentally cutting out the TV or phone!

2. GET RID OF DENTED CARPET MARKS FROM FURNITURE

Re-arranging furniture around your home can be exciting, until you see all those dented marks on your carpet. To get rid of them, all you need is some ice cubes!

Place the ice cubes along the carpet dent and wait for them to melt. Once they’re melted, wipe up the excess water with a dishtowel and voila! Your carpet should turn back to its original state.

3. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SHOE ORGANISERS

Don’t be fooled – shore organisers don’t only need to be used for shoes. They’re extremely useful for organising a whole bunch of other things! From your shower supplies, craft supplies, and makeup – they are so versatile they can virtually be used for anything.

4. MAKE YOURSELF A DIY BLIND CLEANER

Cleaning blinds is a tedious job. Make your life easier with this DIY blind cleaner that’ll save you a heck of time.

All you’ll need is a pair of tongs, two microfibre dust cloths, and 4 rubber bands. Follow the instructions in this video and get ready for the most efficient blind cleaning hack ever!

5. USE A POWER DRILL FOR DEEP CLEANING

Cleaning places like your bathtub and shower takes a lot of elbow grease. If you’ve got a cordless drill at home, simply add on a brush or foam ball to the tip and turn it on! It’s tough on grime and will help you clean with ease.

6. APPLY NAIL POLISH TO WINDOW HOLES

Spotted a tiny hole in your window? Clear nail polish can help. Simply apply a coat then wait for it to dry. Repeat until the layers of nail polish are flush with the glass surface.

7. POLISH COPPER WITH KETCHUP

Got some copper items at home that are looking tarnished? Tomato sauce can do the trick. Trust us, this is no joke! Squirt some sauce on a rag, sprinkle on some salt on top and then rub the mixture on your item. Repeat until you’ve covered every inch of the surface, and then rinse. Once done, your item will look good as new.

8. DIY CLEANING SOLUTION

Keen to make your own natural cleaning solution? White vinegar can do wonders. You’ll need 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water, and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Add the mixture into a spray bottle and fill the remaining amount with hot water.

You can even infuse the mixture with other essential oils to make the solution smell amazing.

9. TUCK CHALK IN YOUR TOOLBOX TO STOP RUST

Placing chalk in your toolbox can help keep your metal tools rust-free. Chalk is a moisture-sucking material that traps dampness. If you place several pieces throughout your toolbox, it’ll protect your items from rusting.

10. USE PAINTER’S TAPE FOR A PERFECT CAULK JOB

Applying caulk in a straight line isn’t an easy task! Painter’s tape can help. You’ll need to clean the area you’re caulking first, and when dry, apply the painters tape to the area you’ll be caulking. Start caulking, and make sure to peel off the tape while the caulk is still wet.

Fore more DIY and home tips, head to the CosyWall Insulation blog!

5 tips for renovating in winter

Renovating this winter? It’s not always an easy feat with chilly and unpredictable weather, however, sometimes it just has to be done! While it may be the most difficult time of the year to undergo a renovation project, there are a few ways to make your winter renovation more manageable.

Here’s 5 tips to make your renovations go a little smoother this winter.

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Planning for renovation in any season is essential, however, it’s doubly important in winter. Cold and nasty weather can complicate some of the processes of your renovation – deliveries, demolitions, and other external repairs. It’s important to plan for all of this ahead of time by buying and receiving deliveries of bigger equipment and products earlier, before the worst of winter hits.

PREPARE FOR ANY DELAYS
The likelihood of any renovation delays increases during winter due to the weather and lack of daylight hours that can slow down progress. This is why it’s important to prepare for any delays you may experience during your renovation and ensure your start and completion dates of the project are flexible enough to take into account any unforeseen circumstances that may affect when the work will be finished.

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM NASTY WEATHER
With rain and windy weather forecasted during your renovation, you’ll need to ensure your home is protected once your tradies leave for the night. Things like plastic sheets, and boards can help cover holes, and block out the wind and rain to protect your home from any damage during your project.

KEEP YOUR WINTER RENOVATION PROJECTS TO A MINIMUM
Winter weather can be unpredictable, so you don’t want to take on more than you can handle. Keep to one or two small projects at a time to ensure it gets done and is finished correctly. Any other major renovation projects you want to undergo can wait till winter’s over.

HIRE PROFESSIONALS
When renovating in winter, it’s crucial to hire trustworthy professionals to help you do the job. Trying to save costs by using the cheapest freelance builder can cost you more in the long run. Someone who has no experience renovating in winter can ruin important aspects of your renovation.