A free kitchen and winter warmth

An oily ragger has been in touch recently to tell us how they ended up with a free kitchen. In fact, it was better than a free kitchen. The young couple had bought an older style house and was in the process of doing it up as they could afford it, including the kitchen. Now anyone who has replaced their kitchen will know how expensive that is. The cost of the appliances and cabinetry can run into many tens of thousands of dollars.

Because they did not have tens of thousands of dollars to spare, they started looking online and found an “as is where is” kitchen for sale on a no reserve auction. They bid $1 and won! There was a bit of effort involved because they had to remove the cabinetry, but for $1 and a bit of time they ended up with a two-year old kitchen, complete with the near new appliances! Because the cabinetry is modular, they were able to adapt things to suit their space. As it happens they did not need all of the appliances and cabinetry so they sold what they did not need on the same online auction site for $1,000! That’s really smart and just goes to show what can be achieved with a little creativity and a willingness to make an effort.

A quick search online shows that there are quite a number of complete kitchens for sale – at a fraction of their replacement value – when homeowners and builders are renovating. Some are available disassembled and disconnected and others are in situ to be removed before a certain date.

Still on matters to do with building, winter is here but it’s not too late to think about insulation. A property owner from Northland said they recently upgraded a rental property with ceiling and under floor insulation and said the impact was significant and instant. Because their tenant had a community services card, they qualified for the government subsidy and were able to reduce the cost from $3,100 to $2,000. That was a significant saving to them and a great benefit to the tenants. As it happens, community service card holders are not the only ones who are entitled to the subsidy. In some cases those with a respiratory illness also qualify.

It’s worth remembering that about 40% of all household heat is lost through the ceiling, and raised wooden floors account for about 10%, so between the two you have dealt with half of the problem.

Walls account for about a quarter of lost heat, but they are more difficult to insulate unless you are building a new home or extensively renovating. One way to insulate the interior walls is to reline them with gib board.

Just over 10% of the heat of a household is lost through windows. Well-made, full-length curtains or thermal drapes are a simple answer to heat loss through windows. Thick, heavy fabrics are the most efficient. Light materials should be lined. Because a lot of air is lost around the edges, the curtains should extend 150mm on each side – and below the base of the window. A full pelmet is recommended. Heavy drapes are more heat efficient than blinds.

Joy from Cambridge has this tip for lining curtains. “My thermal drapes are past their best and no longer keep the warmth from escaping through the windows in winter. Before winter started this year I purchased enough shower curtains of a similar colour to the backing on the thermal drapes. They have no pattern on them and are the size used for a shower over a bath. They have worked really well – the difference in warmth when the curtains are pulled back is telling. I bought mine at Kmart – they were a lot cheaper than the Warehouse.”

Bob writes, “We use a wood burning range for heating and cooking in winter so we save on heating and cooking costs. It’s amazing how much heat gets trapped in the ceiling. To get this hot air to circulate around a room I installed a fan to the wall just under the ceiling in one corner of the room. It was a cheap and easy fix and did the job nicely, although not quite as good as a ducted ventilation system, but it costs next to nothing.”

If you have a winter warmth tip, please let us know so we can share it with others.