Monday, 26 September 2011

Whats the difference between a Heat Pump and Positive Pressure Ventilation system?

Well the simple answer is ;

A heat pump is basically a air-con unit that can heat your home efficiently (up to 3-4 times more efficient than conventional heaters).

A Positive Pressure system draws fresh, drier air from the roof space or from outside and passes it through a filter before gently distributing it around the home via diffusers set in the ceiling.

Heat Pumps;
How it works.
In NZ, ductless heat pumps (also known as “mini split” heat pumps) are the most common types of heat pump units.
They offer better quality air conditioning than ordinary air conditioners.
Ductless heat pump uses technology similar to that of a refrigerator.
This type of heat pumps is chiefly used for heating however this can also serve as a cooling unit for your home.
The best benefit of having ductless heat pumps is its energy efficiency compared with normal electric heaters.
An extra benefit of ductless heat pumps is its versatility and flexibility in interior designing. A lot of variations and designs are available such as floor stand types, those that can be suspended over ceilings or walls,
Ductless heat pumps are equipped with options for indoor handling of air which allows you to adjust the heating and cooling thermostats for your own needs.  Installation of these units takes a little amount of time with less damage to your interior designs.
Installation of ductless heat pumps should be properly done by an appropriate person. .
The price range for these units starts from $2800, prices also vary depending on configuration and zones found in each unit. When purchasing ductless heat pumps you should opt for units with warranty; warranty varies with each manufacturer so be sure to check and ask for it.
There are also DIY systems available from Bunnings of you want to tackle the job yourself.

Positive Pressure Airflow systems;
How it works
In with the good, out with the bad.
This process positively pressurises your home, forcing out moist stale air through gaps in windows and doors or through special exhaust vents.
Continually cycling your home with fresh, dry air removes air borne toxins, harmful pollutants, dust and dust mites.
A filtration unit traps pollens, dust and allergens.
This filtered air is distributed into each room ducting.
Moist air is forced out around windows and doors, making your home drier, which makes it is easier to heat.
A professionally installed unit starts at around $2000 or you can check out the DIY Smart Vent units at Bunnings if you are game.

In my opinion you need both units to have a healthy efficient home.
However I started with a cost effective Smart Ventilation system as it costs only 20 cents a day  to run the fan and can be totally automated or have a control unit if you like.
The Heat pump is probably the best heating option available to New Zealanders at the moment.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Why does the change in the weather cause my windows to stick?

When windows won't open, and the salt clogs the shaker,
The weather will favour the umbrella maker!
Lets face it Auckland and New Zealand is a pretty damp place.
The changing of the seasons for me is always highlighted by the way my home moves and that crack in the plasterwork above my lounge window disappears for the summer.
Moisture in the air causes wood to swell, making doors and windows sticky,
Most of us Kiwi's still have timber joinery so you will know what I'm talking about.
For instance my back door that has been jamming all winter long, now has plenty of room to close and even has a slight draft blowing through the gaps!
I have discovered some awesome products from Raven lately that can be installed onto timber joinery.
The most useful product in their range is called an RP7 draft strip.
Now I'm not talking about a piece of foam tape here, all that does is add to the sticky window problem.
The RP7 is a strip of aluminium with a small rubber stopper that can be fastened around the window or door jamb. If  installed with care it will sit snugly against the door and window frame when closed giving an airtight seal. The added advantage is that if you stop the wind blowing in the water wont follow saving you from any leak repairs in the future.
It is said that if you add up all the small gaps in the average kiwi house you end up with a whole square metre in total!
No wonder my power bill is so high.
If you are considering sorting this out yourself Bunnings stock a front door kit that can be easily installed.
Now that I have my windows and doors sorted my next post will be on cost effective ways to keeping your home warm and dry.

Monday, 19 September 2011

3 top maintenance tips for your home

Spring is here!
After a long wet winter, spring's bright sun and warm winds are.......... on the way I hope:)
well, we deserve a breath of fresh air in any case.
The only downside?
All that sunshine highlights my peeling paintwork, leaf-filled gutters, green moss covered decks, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year's flower beds.
Yes I'm afraid its time for me to start organizing the big cleanup ready for those summer barbies and Sunday parties.
My list is starting to look like an inventory for some serious labour and effort, but I find the best way is to just start at the top and work my way down.

With anything to do with home maintenance, the best added value I will get other than mowing the lawns and putting out the rubbish is from the exterior painting, roof repairs and cleaning in-general.
These are the cheapest and easiest  to sort out and the finished result will add the biggest difference to the look and feel of my home.
My top 3 to-do building maintenance things on my list...
  1. Full house wash including roof, walls, windows, decks, driveways and fences. For me this is the best place to start. I'm just going to get my house wash guys on the job. Its relatively cheap and they will add a treatment to keep the moss and mold at bay for a few years. For good quality paint work, fencing timber and driveways a soft wash is best as it wont scour the top layer off, however it sometimes takes a while to work. A high pressure wash will highlight the areas in need of repair as it will flick the loose paint off.
  2. Painting and repairs  Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood. Don't use builders bog! it doesn't like the wet, it will swell and fall out in no time flat. The best products are Selleys Permafill and Red Devil exterior fillers. Sand the patch and use an oil based primer (It is still the best) tinted to your house colour. Next I will apply two water based exterior top coats to seal the area.  I'll also seal up any cracks and gaps with a paintable sealant such as 'No more gaps' or a paintable MS modified silicone such as Sikaflex. Don't use standard silicone if you are going to paint the area, paint wont stick to it. I have lots more tips and tricks that I can include in later posts for this sort of work. 
  3. Roof repairs are best left up to the maintenance professionals as it is dangerous and requires some experience in finding leaks and knowledge in the correct materials to use for repairs. However I can do the basic things such as gutter cleaning as it can be done safely from a ladder or using an attachment for the hose. For the rest I get the pro's with Height and Safety training and equipment to sort the roof out. In my case I have an old state house with cast concrete roofing tiles, all I did to avoid a re roof two years ago was have my team re-mortar the capping, replace 20 or so damaged tiles which I found at the demolition yard and spray 4 coats of Paint/sealer on top, I saved about $6000 and gave the roof another 10 yrs life!