Blog Post Thursday 12 April 2018
The idea of winter conjures up visions of cosy nights by the fireplace, trips to the snow, and a wardrobe of comfortable woollens and scarves (unless you’re in tropical North Queensland!). Winter can seem idyllic before it hits, but sooner or later you'll probably find yourself trying to stay warm while worrying about the heating costs. Luckily, you can balance comfort with your budget. Get started with these effective strategies for conserving energy without compromising on comfort.
Keeping your home warm likely accounts for a large part of your power bill. Experiment with your thermostat over the course of a week and find the optimal temperature range. In this range, which might be lower than you think, you'll feel completely comfortable as long as you add an extra layer of clothing to what you’re normally wearing.
As the days get colder, you can raise it incrementally, by half a degree or so, but no more. By giving your body time to get used to the colder days, you might find you don't need to heat your home as much.
Always add an extra layer of clothing before reaching for the thermostat. Encourage family members to use throws on the couch, wear socks, and stay warm with an additional layer. Other ways to warm up include using heated water bottles and making a cup of tea.
Keep doors shut and double check windows are fully closed before heating your interiors. If you're spending the day at home, plan to do most of your activities in one space so you only have to heat up that one room. In this case, use a space heater rather than your thermostat to keep the space warm.
Keep washing in cold water and drying naturally during the colder months. Rather than using your dryer, set up an indoor drying rack so you can let your clothes air dry even during rainy days.
Humidity conducts heat more than air, so you'll want to look for ways to boost the humidity in your home. You can add a humidifier to your heating system, but cheaper options include introducing water features and indoor plants to boost indoor humidity.
Houses can lose a considerable amount of heat through windows and doors, especially if it's an older home. If you're a handy person, you can draught proof your house yourself with supplies from the local hardware store. Use weatherstripping, sweeps, foam tape, window film, door snakes, and other options to keep out the draughts.
Whether it's your loft/roof insulation or a bigger undertaking like your wall insulation, reinforcing your existing insulation is a highly effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Adding to your roof insulation is easier than boosting your wall insulation, but they're both professional jobs and will require more financial outlay than other strategies.
Take every opportunity to let in the sunlight during the day and when a sunny day strikes. Pull back the curtains and let in the natural light. When it gets cloudy again, remember to pull down the blinds so you can preserve the heat you've trapped.
If you have a traditional fireplace, using an eco-fan can reduce your fuel consumption while boosting warmth. Eco-fans can be placed next to fireplaces and stoves to multiply the amount of heat you're generating. They also have the effect of spreading the heat more effectively, so the whole room receives an even amount of heat.
If you aren’t already using a water-saving shower head, winter's arrival is a great excuse to install one. As hot-water heating can account for a massive 25% of your power usage, using less water can translate to serious savings on your energy costs.
At the same time, consider showering with warm rather than very hot water. Turn off the shower as you lather yourself and when you're washing your hair to save extra water.
An in-home display can provide you with detailed information about appliances, high-price periods, and where the power's being used in your home. However, there are cheaper ways to track how much energy you're using; for example, with a plug-in power metre. You can also track your power usage by checking your power bills to understand your consumption patterns.
12. Switch to a cost-effective provider
Power retailers can range significantly in their rates and offers, so if you think you're paying too much, why not switch to a new provider?
As winter arrives, have a plan to save more on your energy. From simple measures like turning down your thermostat to DIY solutions like weatherproofing your home, you have a lot of options for cutting unnecessary costs. And as you save on your power bills, you'll also be helping out the environment by consuming less.