Top tips to keep warm as the nights start to cool down
As that chill starts to make itself felt during the night, autumn may well be the time to get your home prepared for long winter's eves.
There are a few small adjustments you could consider this year to knock down those electricity prices while still feeling cosy in your home.
The changes you may need to make depend on the climatic zone of Australia that you live in. Those in cooler regions might want to think about ways to minimise heat loss while others in warmer climates may still want to reduce the amount they use their air conditioning unit.
Here are some top ways to get your home prepped for winter, no matter where you live.
Heating and cooling
One of the major costs you will face is in heating and cooling your property. In order to improve efficiency, you can see if there are ways you can keep the heat in.
It might be as simple as fixing any cracks in your property that are allowing heated air to escape.
You could also change the temperature set on your thermostat as this can bring down the cost of your electricity bills.
In those cooler regions, such as Victoria, you can set this between 18-20 degrees Celsius, to provide a comfortable temperature. In the warmer areas, like the Northern Territory, this amount could be reduced to a more reasonable level, between 25-27 degrees Celsius.
Remember, for every degree your heating is turned up in cool climates and down in warm areas, your energy consumption increases by around 5 - 10 per cent.
Another surefire way to get your home prepared for the chillier months is to search for draughts in your home. Plugging up these cracks and gaps can save you around a quarter of your heating bills, according to the Department of Industry.
When you are trying to find these draughts, look for anywhere there could be gaps that let cold air in. This could be spaces around doors and windows or cracks along skirting boards, floorboards and architraves.
Once you have discovered the location of any gaps, there are a few options at your fingertips. Simply fill with some of the adhesive foam strips you can purchase from your hardware store or consider metal or plastic strips. These often come with preattached brushers or wipers. They may be a little more expensive but will last longer. Before purchasing these items, make sure you have measured the space so they will fit in the gap.
As well as blocking up any draughts around your windows, there are a few other steps you can take to make these beautiful features of your home work best for you.
Try to keep curtains and blinds closed at night time and if you are replacing these items, choose heavy fabrics or ones with thermal linings. These will help to insulate your home, keeping the warm air in.
Another simple activity you could consider is the addition of insulation into your home. If you don't already have this installed, autumn could be the perfect time to do it.
It is a great way to make your home more comfortable and can even reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Up to half the energy used to heat rooms in winter is lost through ceilings, floors and walls. In summer, this can also be used to keep chilled air inside your home and you will feel much cooler as a result.
There are many great options to choose from, but to make sure you get the best kind of insulation to suit your individual circumstances, it is best to talk to an expert.
The insulation you require depends on the climate you live in as well as your home design.
As the nights begin to draw in, it is highly likely evenings will be spent indoors rather than outside. This means your lights will be burning bright for longer.
You could switch for more energy efficient lighting options. LED lights may have a higher upfront cost, but have cheaper running costs so you may save more over the long run.
Rather than switching your heater on, a more energy efficient way to keep warm is by adding layers and wearing warmer clothes, or even wrapping up in a blanket.
Some choose to have warm showers to beat the winter blues, but this can increase your electricity and gas prices. If you are trying to keep warm, why not pop on a jumper, warm socks and slippers and close the curtains?
Clothes dryers can be a big energy user, so instead of using these items to take excess water from your freshly washed clothes, make the most of the lingering autumn sun.
Pop a clothes rack on your verandah or in the lounge. This can be of particular use if you only heat one room and can help you save on your energy costs.
Posted by Tim Wolfenden.