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    Winter Energy-Saving Tips

July 2018

Want to stay warm and cosy throughout winter? Learn how to save on energy bills at home during colder months without compromising on comfort.

There’s nothing like snuggling up in the warmth of your living room when the wind howls outside and the rain pelts the windows. Yet that warmth – when it’s generated by your home heating system – costs money.

Heating and cooling are responsible for around 40% of the average Australian home’s energy bill each year.1 But there are easy ways you can reduce this figure – for example, by dialling down the thermostat on your heater by just one degree, you can reduce energy use by up to 10%.2

Here are some proven ways to reduce your energy bill in winter. We’ve broken it down into things you can do right now, things that you can do on the weekend, and things that might take a little more planning (and investment).

Quick fixes to reduce your winter energy bill

There are plenty of ways you can save money on your energy bill during winter and the good news? Many of these fixes can be done right now and won’t cost you a cent:

  • Rug up with warm layers of clothes
  • Ditch the electric blanket in favour of a hot water bottle or extra blanket
  • Dial down the thermostat on your heater to around 18-20 degrees Celsius
  • If your heater is zoned, only heat the rooms you are using
  • Close doors to all other rooms to help contain the heat
  • Sounds obvious, but keep external doors and windows closed against the cold
  • Don’t be tempted by long, hot showers
  • On sunny days, open the curtains to catch those winter rays
  • Once it starts to get dark – and on cold, cloudy days – draw the curtains to keep any warmth inside

A weekend’s work to seal up heat loss

Did you know that the cracks and gaps in and around your doors, windows and roof can contribute up to 25% of winter heat loss in your home?3 That’s a lot of hot air escaping. So what can you do about it?

Your first step is to go around the house and identify all the gaps that you can see (hint: if you do it on a windy day, you can feel these gaps too). Common culprits include under and around door and window frames, pet doors, fixed vents, chimneys and vented skylights. Gaps may also appear in places like built-in wardrobes, or where your services (like plumbing and electricity cables) enter the house.

How you seal a gap can depend on where it is. Under doors, for example, you could affix retractable draught seals (or go for the simple fix of door snakes). Around windows, you could add draught-proofing strips. And many cracks can be simply sealed with some caulk or sealant.

An assistant at your local hardware store should be able to advise on the best solution for the various cracks and gaps around your home.

While you’re at it, take a look at your window coverings. You can help to trap the heat inside your home in winter by installing thick or well-insulated curtains, blinds or shutters. You should be able to find good-quality options at your local hardware store.

Big changes that will pay off in the long run

In some older homes, where cold air seems to escape like water through a sieve, more significant changes could help you keep warm air inside your home for much longer. While these changes may cost more upfront, they could make a big difference to your heating bills into the future:

  • Insulate your home – the stats say it all. You could save up to 25% of heating loss by insulating your walls, and another 20% if you insulate your floors.4 You may find that it’s easier than you think, as many older homes can be retrofitted with insulation.
  • Invest in some quality rugs – if you can’t insulate under the floor, then laying rugs over the top can also help to minimise heat loss.
  • Double-glaze your windows – the warmth from your heater leaks out through single panes of plain old glass, with up to 40% of a home’s energy lost through its windows.5 If you suspect that a lot of warmth escapes through your windows, double-glazing (or, if the budget doesn’t stretch to that, then laminating or adding insulating blinds) could make a huge difference.

The final word

As we’ve seen, there are many ways to save energy at home in winter. Do a quick energy audit – both of your own behaviour and your home’s structure – to see where you can save; and then get started on some of the suggestions above to help reduce your energy bill.

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