For many of us, Winter means hot chocolates, lamb roasts and cosy nights at home with family and friends
Unfortunately It’s also the time of the year when power bills surge to their highest as households battle to keep warm.
To help Australians save precious dollars this winter, Tim Wolfenden, Managing Director at saving service Make It Cheaper has compiled 15 practical tips and tricks to help you avoid winter bill pain.
Winter Saving Tips:
1. Heating – Almost 40% of household energy use relates to heating during winter. Buy the most efficient heater you can afford and only heat the rooms that need it. Keep the thermostat at 18-20C. Be careful you don’t overheat your home. Every degree above that you program your heater adds about 10 % to your heating costs.
2. Program your heater – Use your heater economically. Set it to switch on 20 minutes before you wake up then turn it off 20 minutes before you leave the house or go to bed. Use an electric blanket to warm your bed and then turn it off before you go to sleep.
3. Size matters – Think about the size of the appliances for areas of the home you want to heat up. Small energy-efficient heaters are sufficient for bathrooms to save warming up the whole house instead.
4. Cut down your showers - Hot water accounts for around a third of the average household’s energy use. Resist the temptation for longer showers this winter. The average shower is eight minutes…consider cutting that in half. Install a water-efficient shower head; efficient shower heads can use as little as 7 litres per minute compared to an unrated shower head which can use up to 25 litres of water per minute – a 72% reduction on hot water usage.
5. Don’t make your kettle work harder than it needs to – If you are making a cup of tea or boiling water for a hot water bottle, make sure you only put as much water as you need in the kettle each time you boil it, rather than filling it all the way up to the top. It costs more to boil a full kettle than to run a ceiling fan for an hour.
6. Don’t forget the ‘off’ button - Remember to turn your heating off before you leave the house in the morning.
7. Use your oven! - Leave the oven open after you bake – let the warm air circulate around the room!
8. Put your ceiling fan into winter mode – Many ceiling fans have a switch (above the blades) which will allow you to change between summer and winter mode. If you put the fan into winter mode, it will reverse the movement of the blades and force the warm air that is trapped at the ceiling, down into the room to cycle with the cool air. This will warm up your room in winter. For the best effect, keep your fan on low speed.
9. Don’t block the sunshine – If you have pot plants on your window sill, now is the time to move them elsewhere. Maximise the sunlight coming into your home and remove any blockages that may be in the way.
10. Use your curtains - Let in the sun during the day (particularly on north-facing windows) and close them at night to seal any draughts around windows or doors.
11. Let it vent! – Make sure any heating vents are kept clear and that any rugs or furniture that are in the way are moved, to ensure heat is circulated around the room as efficiently as possible.
12. Get dusting – Make sure you regularly dust or vacuum your radiators and vents to stop dust from accumulating. Dust can keep the heat from getting into the rooms where you need it.
13. Seal up any holes in walls or foundations - Any cracks or holes will allow precious heat to escape. Use weather stripper for doors and windows and gap filler for cracks in the wall.
14. Smarter laundry - Wash clothes in cold water and wash only full loads. Hot water will inflate your bill further and doesn’t contribute any significant benefits versus cold water washes.
15. Get the professionals in – When was the last time your roof was maintained? Do you have any leaks? Now is the time to get all your household issues fixed. The less opportunity for heat to leave the house, the warmer you’ll be – and the less energy you will waste! Make sure your home is well insulated. It keeps your house warmer in winter, cooler in summer and can cut your heating and cooling costs by up to a third.
For more information, visit: www.makeitcheaper.com.au