Want to stay warm while saving electricity?
With winter upon us, energy usage is set to skyrocket as Australians do their best to keep Jack Frost at bay, despite high electricity prices.
According to information from YourHome, part of the Department of Industry and Science, heating and cooling accounts for 40 per cent of household energy consumption, which makes it the largest energy user in many Australian homes.
Heat pumps, electric heaters, oil-filled radiators and gas heaters are some of the most common forms of heating in Australia.
However, what they all share in common is very high power consumption.
Here are a few cheap and easy ways to keep your home warm and your power bills down.
Open your curtains
One of the first things you should do in the morning is open all the curtains in your home. As the light floods in through the windows, glancing off furniture, walls and family photos, it will become heat. Your home will absorb it, and best of all, it's free.
Close your curtains
As night falls, close your curtains. This will maximise your home's potential to retain the heat it collected over the day. The thicker the curtains the better, as they will be able to insulate your home from the cold and retain the warmth from the day. Thermal backed curtains are ideal here, and while they may be slightly more expensive, you will get your money back on power savings.
Cover bare floorboards
Floors can account for as much as 10 per cent of heat loss if they're not insulated, according to YourHome. If you have non-insulated floor boards, that doesn't mean you have to go and spend a fortune on under-floor insulation or carpet. Rugs and blankets can help stem the heat loss and have the added benefit of keeping your feet warm.
Seal your home
Research from Sustainability Victoria found that Australians can save hundreds of dollars on their power bills every year, with simple measures such as stopping draughts. Even seemingly small gaps can make a large difference to the ambient temperature in a home - up to 25 per cent of heat loss in winter, according to YourHome. Cat flaps, mail-entry slots, spaces under doors and holes around windows are among the main suspects.
Isolate your living rooms
Keeping doors closed and sealed will prevent cold air from travelling through the rest of your home. This will allow you to heat up rooms quicker (and cheaper) as you isolate the warmer air in your living areas.
If you are living efficiently but are still struggling with your power bills, consider comparing electricity suppliers.
By Richard West