Winter’s not over yet, and if you’re in Sydney like us there’s just been a fresh cold snap. Brrrr! With colder weather comes more heating and higher electricity bills but the good news is that there are some simple and effective ways to help heat your house without blowing out your budget.
1) Don’t blast the heat
Don’t set your heater too high as this just pulls more power and increases your bill for little actual heating gain. The ideal comfortable temperature inside is between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Setting your heater’s thermostat in this range can reduce the energy usage of the heater by around 10%-20%.
2) Cover your windows
More than one-third of Winter heat can leak out your windows, meaning that whatever heating you’re using will have to work harder (and cost more!) to keep you warm. Shutting the curtains or blinds is an easy way to stop heat escaping. Pay particular attention to the gaps at the top and side of each window.
3) Fill or cover your gaps
If cold air is getting in – usually under the doors – then warm air is getting out. Stop heat escaping by investing in door seals, door snakes or even using a rolled up towel, and you could reduce your heating costs by up to a quarter.
4) Use rugs on hard floors
Rugs are a great way to insulate your floors from drafts that come up through floorboards or the cold that comes from concrete slabs. If you don’t have a rug just put a blanket down while the heater is on to improve its efficiency.
5) Only heat the areas you need
If you’re watching TV in the lounge, why heat the kitchen or bedroom? Only heating the rooms or areas you are using means you will use less energy than you would need to heat the whole house. So close the doors – and use door snakes – to rooms you aren’t using, such as laundries and bathrooms. Your thermostat will work more efficiently and it will save energy.
If you’re in a more modern, open-plan home, any barrier you can put up to enclose a space will help to contain the heat inside it. We used to use a folding privacy screen to block off the hallway to the bedrooms and it worked a treat.
6) Limit hot showers
We all love a nice hot shower in Winter but it will cost you. Hot water tanks use a lot of energy to heat your water and they account for a big part of your energy bill. Having shorter showers can add up to big savings over time, especially if you have a tribe at home. Three to four minutes is a surprisingly long time in the shower, and much better than the 10 minutes most of us like to indulge in.
7) Say no to heat lamps in the bathroom
Heat lamps are so common in our bathrooms that we tend not to think twice about them, but they can really chew power. Avoid turning them on at all if you can. Really, just don’t touch that switch.
8 ) Ditch the hungry heaters
Generally speaking bar heaters / radiators are the most energy hungry of all. They don’t have thermostats to regulate the temperature, which means you have to be your own thermostat and closely monitor / minimise usage. Go for an energy efficient heater if you can as it will pay itself off in no time with the money you save.
9) Clean your gas heater
Make sure you regularly clean the intake vents on your gas heater (best done with a vacuum), as crusty vents make the heater inefficient and more expensive.
10) The most effective tip of all!
Rug up with extra jumper, wrap your hands around a hot drink and snuggle under a cozy blanket 😊 The amount of times the kids ask if we can turn the heater on while they’re walking around in a t-shirt and bare feet is mind boggling. Use layers to keep warm BEFOFE you turn the heater on!
(Bonus tip: exercise warms everyone up! Do some chores, walk the dogs, drop for 30 push ups!)
Don’t forget to post any questions you have in the comments below and we’ll help where we can.
We’d love to hear if any of the above tips help you to reduce your bills. And if you have great tips, please do share them with us.