Photo by Hayden Scott on Unsplash

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research. Who would have thought they would have such good tips for cold-proofing your house and staying warm and cosy this winter.

1. Windows

Uncovered windows account for up to 40 per cent of heat loss in the winter.

  • Use heavy, lined curtains that fall below the window to keep warmth in
  • Check your windows for cracks
  • Consider sealing gaps with insulation strips or caulk (a waterproof filler)
  • Install pelmets above your windows/curtains to stop warm air escaping
  • You can also hang a heavy blanket or towel off the curtain rod.

2. Doors

Sealing gaps around doors can help draught-proof your house.

  • If you feel a draught, make a ‘door snake’ for internal doors
  • For external doors, use a plastic or metal door seal with wipers
  • For draughts around the edges of the door, use adhesive weather stripping.

3. Old heaters, fireplaces and hot water systems

Sometimes when services are removed the hole isn’t sealed. To draught-proof the house you’ll need to seal it up.

  • Look for gaps around built-in appliances, at the back of cupboards and under the kitchen sink
  • You can fill gaps with expanding foam
  • If you have an old fireplace, use fireplace dampers to block airflow.

4. Fixed vents and exhaust fans

  • Some old brick homes have fixed ceiling and wall vents. Block these to stop air leakage
  • For old exhaust fans, use a ventilation cover to block the vents over winter.

5. Evaporative cooling units

These are meant to have winter covers or dampers but they’re not always effective.

  • You can draught-proof them by using magnetic strips around the vent receiver in your ceiling
  • Clip the covers on in winter and peel them off in summer.

6. Other gaps

  • Listen for rattles or whistling and feel for moving air
  • Kitchen cabinets are often leaky, there may be gaps around the pipes and joints in the cabinets
  • Other areas include where skirting meets the wall, and where bricks meet the wood trim
  • Fill small gaps with silicone sealant
  • Fill bigger gaps with expanding spray foam
  • Be careful around internal gas appliances as they need fixed ventilation.

7. Rugs and carpets

Cold air can roar up through gaps in the floorboards, especially in timber homes raised above the ground.

  • Use rugs and carpets to act as a layer of insulation.

8. Let the sunshine in

  • Keep your blinds or curtains open during the day to warm your home, especially north and west-facing rooms.

What’s winter without tea?

So, now that you’ve draught-proofed your house, it’s time to flick the kettle on and settle in for the cool evening vibes. To help you do this, here are some great tea recipes that will keep you toasty once the sun descends on the Northern Rivers.

Moroccan Tea

  • 2 tsp. loose gunpowder green tea
  • Large handful of fresh spearmint leaves washed and dried
  • 3–4 Tbsp. of white sugar (use more or less depending on how sweet you like your tea)

Masala Chai

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1½ inches fresh ginger root, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 4 heaping tsp. loose Darjeeling tea
  • 4 cups whole milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • ¼ cup honey

Turmeric Tea

  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 inch of ginger root, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. dried nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 cups of whole milk (or the non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

I feel now that I can leave in confidence, knowing you are fully prepared for the winter ahead. Sure, it’s an Australian winter but who doesn’t love feeling cosy?