10 tips for keeping your Hills District home warm this winter
It’s surprising how much money you can save on power bills during the winter months by making a few simple changes to how you and your family live at home.
Check out our Top 10 free and cost-effective energy-saving tips and make your home more energy efficient.
1. Dress more warmly when the temperature drops!
It’s just good old-fashioned common sense, but we’re so used to wearing the bare minimum of clothes for much of the year we forget to layer up when the weather cools down. Instead of turning up the heating, put on warmer clothes – it costs you absolutely nothing while each extra degree of heating you use adds between 5% and 10% to your overall household energy use.
2. Shut the doors!
Even if your house is pretty much open plan, you don’t need to waste money heating bedrooms, bathrooms, laundries or any room you’re not using at the time.
3. Shop around to compare gas and electricity providers
We tend to stick with one company because finding a better one involves a bit of effort, but you can make considerable savings if you do some research – which costs nothing.
Start by asking your current provider if it can offer a better deal. The government website Energy Made Easy has an excellent comparison website – who knew there were so many energy companies – and all you have to do is fill out a simple online form and the website does all the work for you. It also provides useful information about your consumer rights, energy-efficient appliance and how to read energy rating labels, and lots more.
4. Try to limit how much you use your clothes dryer
Any form of heater can chew through a lot of electricity, but clothes dryers are particularly power hungry.
Clothes will dry outside on sunny days even if it’s cold; you could also dry them on racks inside when the heating is on.
If you’re due to buy a new dryer, compare the energy ratings of different models; for example, a 7-kilo dryer with one star will use nearly three times the amount of electricity as a 7-kilo dryer with six stars.
5. Don’t use the shower to warm yourself up
Are you aware that hot water accounts for about 25% of the average power bill. Refer to tip No.1: put some more clothes on!
6. Consider better window coverings
It is well worth investing in good quality curtains or blinds because uncovered windows allow a lot of heat to disperse – up to 40%. Consider curtains that have thermal linings. If you’re renovating or want to make a longer-term investment, check out double glazing.
7. Install a thermostat
A programmable thermostat for your heating or air-conditioning system can save money by controlling your home’s temperature automatically. Every degree you increase your heating can add up to 10% on your energy use.
Beware of overheating your home – various experts say that the ideal temperature for comfort and health is between 18°C and 20°C. Set the thermostat to warm your house when you need it and remember to turn heating off when you’re away from home or overnight.
8. Draught-proofing your home
Installing draught-proofing strips under front and back doors is cheap and easy to do, and if you have an older house you might want to block the gaps around internal doors, too. This could save up to 25% on your heating bills.
9. Insulating your roof
This is a big job but one that’s worth doing – up to 45% of the energy that heats our homes leaks out through ceilings and roofs. Check out the Australian Energy Foundation’s website for advice before splashing out – visit aef.com.au
10. Install solar panels
Solar panels can certainly help reduce your power usage and are more environmentally friendly than using electricity produced by coal, oil and gas. Before investing in solar power systems, it’s important to do your homework because the industry is evolving all the time; a good starting point is the government website energy.gov.au.
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