Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Reduce Your Energy Usage

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.