It’s that time of year again. The days are drawing in and the nights are getting longer and colder. Here are our simple seasonal tips for keeping warm, without it costing the earth.
Don’t forget that if you need help taking action you can sign up to hear from our recommended suppliers on a range of products and services, including draught-proofing, insulation, solar power (the sun still shines when it’s cold!) and energy assessments. We are also collecting names if you’re interested in reverse cycle air-conditioning (which can be used for heating as well as cooling) and hot water heat pumps.
Top five tips for winter
- Dress for the weather – even when you’re inside wear a warm jumper and slippers to keep the heating costs down.
- Heat moderately – Generally having your thermostat set to 18-20 degrees Celsius should be comfortable. If the weather has suddenly got cold you may feel the cold more because your body has not adjusted to cooler temperatures but once winter has set in (and as long as you dress appropriately) try turning the temperature down. Every degree you turn it up increases your heating costs by around 10%.
- Draught-proof: check around windows, doors and plumbing pipes (think in the back of the cupboard under the sink) for holes or gaps. You can seal these with custom made products, like weather proof strips or lagging, or (for filling holes and small gaps) expanding foam or caulking is a simple solution. Gaps in your home can account for 15-25% of winter heating loss, so it is definitely worth addressing them! For more visit our advice page here.
- Dress your windows! Windows can account for up to 40% of a home’s heating being lost, so it is worth looking at ways to prevent this. Double glazing is a great option but can be very expensive, there are a few cheaper and easier options: depending on the type of window you have you can purchase a plastic film that acts like double glazing. We have spoken to people that swear by simply sticking bubble wrap on the glass (with sticky dots). If these aren’t practical options for you then good old fashioned curtains can also make a huge difference. Pair them up with a pelmet, to stop cold air flowing back into the room from behind the curtain and they’ll be even more effective. For more visit here.
- Insulate your house – Remember that ceiling insulation is like a beanie and you wouldn’t go out with a beanie and no coat! So insulating your walls and under the floor if possible is well worth considering. Good insulation will not only keep the warmth in during winter but it will keep the heat out in summer. In fact, a super insulated, 10 Star rated home will not need any heating or cooling systems! If you’re renting then consider area rugs to insulate the floor. For more visit here.
Here is an interesting article, which highlights the energy inefficiencies of most of Australia’s housing stock, describing them as ‘glorified tents’.
If you are considering purchasing new heating or if you already have a reverse cycle air conditioning unit then it may well be worth using this or installing a new efficient electric powered system, rather than using gas heating. This is especially the case if you have solar power on your roof, as the solar can power the heating and cooling when the sun is shining. From an environmental perspective if you can’t generate your own power you can purchase GreenPower, therefore ensuring that your heating and cooling is emissions free.
Harnessing the power of the sun in winter
Remember that even in winter the sun shines, which means you can create your own electricity for free. If you haven’t already installed sign up for an obligation free quote here. If you have solar then consider using efficient electric heating during the day and keeping your home warm into the night with draught-proofing and insulation.
Read more about heating and cooling.
For more info on switching from gas to electric we recommend reading the ATA’s report on moving from gas to Electricity: http://www.ata.org.au/ata-research/emissions-down-in-switch-from-gas-to-electric-report