A personal journey from icebox to warmth.

Realsure director, Sarah Symon shares her very own journey transforming her house from a drafty icebox to a warm and comfortable home. Sarah moved into her new place back in 2003 and while she loved the home, going to bed wearing a beanie wasn’t a practical solution to a big problem. Read the steps Sarah took to make her home warm and healthy.

Our family home was built in 1947 as a single storey timber weatherboard home. Over the years it had been extended out and up so the upper level was insulated, and provided insulation to part of the lower level. 

 It seemed a warm home with all the gas heating and thick curtains, but it wasn’t until we lived in it that we realised how cold it was and expensive to heat. 

 Our bedroom is on the lower level in the original part of the house and it was so jolly cold at night I had to sleep with a beanie on my head.  Seriously, my head was like a Popsicle and I could see my breath.  Each morning the windows would all be crying and for the first few winters I got really sick.  After another sickly winter I declared enough was enough!

 Making a home warm and healthy requires a multi-prong approach:

  1. assessing the house condition,
  2. insulation
  3. ventilation, and
  4. heating. 

If we didn’t tackle them all, we knew it wouldn’t work. 

 We pulled out our Realsure report and fixed a couple of leaks identified with a roof and balcony.  We then checked all the old timber joinery and fitted draft strips where needed and security stays so we could safely vent the windows every day while at work. 

 The house was heated with four gas heaters and a gas fire and all but one heater and the fire were unflued.  The unflued gas heaters were putting buckets of water into our home daily, so we took out all the unflued gas heaters and installed two large heat pumps. 

 We then put insulation under the floors and lowered the ceiling in the room where there was no upper level and installed insulation into that. 

 The house has walls of windows so they were all fitted with lined curtains.

 With all the repairs and maintenance up to date and insulation installed, it took the heat pumps and a dehumidifier a few weeks on full time to dry out the home.

  The next winter was unbelievable. We have a warm, dry home.  No more beanies, no more crying windows and no more illness.

  I never appreciated until after that moment how damp the air in the home actually was and got to experience that cold feeling was moisture laden air that no heating was ever going to heat. 

 Our heating bills are much lower, as are our medical bills, and now our home is so consistently warm and dry we have to remember to take jackets and beanies when we go out because outside is now significantly colder than in!