Feeling the chill? Here's some tips for warming your home before turning on the heater
Winter has arrived, and as the days grow shorter and the chill sets in, it's tempting to crank the heater up to cosy up the home.
But before you do that, you might be surprised to learn that heating can account for up to 40 per cent of your bill! The good news is there's plenty you can do to lower your bills that won't compromise on comfort.
Some of the tips below are free and can increase your bill savings; others are simple and inexpensive. Harry Pavlou, our Energy Advisor, shares his top tips for heating the home while saving money.
Rug up with warm layers of clothes. It's an obvious way to keep warm but often forgotten. Warming yourself is cheaper and easier than heating your whole home. Put on a pair of thick socks, slippers and a jumper. Better yet, if you're on the couch enjoying some Netflix, wrap yourself up in a blanket or quilt. A heated blanket or throw uses much less energy than a heater. It's an inexpensive way to keep you warm before cranking out the heater.
Let the sun shine in
Saving on power and keeping the cold out of your home can be as simple as using the heat from the sun to warm up your home. Open curtains and blinds during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home naturally, and close them as the sun sets to keep in the warmth. Curtains act as an insulator for your windows. This tip is simple and easy, plus it's free!
Plug the gaps and insulate
If cold air is getting in, then hot air is getting out. A lot of heat is lost by air leakage, so find the locations often around cracks in the walls, windows, doors and ceiling and cover them. Insulation in the ceiling and walls will keep your home warmer for longer. Fill cracks with a good quality gap filler or silicone. Use expanding foam for larger openings. Use door snakes or draft proof strips to stop warm air from escaping to unoccupied rooms. This tip is easy, inexpensive and can save you energy.
If you retreat to the comfort of one or two rooms, it is more efficient to heat these rooms rather than the whole house. Keep the room you're in warm by closing doors to rooms not being used and, if using a zoned system, turn off zones in unoccupied areas.
Spend some time baking and roasting. Using the oven has the added benefit of helping to heat the home, and you'll be rewarded with some delicious treats for your efforts.
Reverse ceiling fans
Most ceiling fans spin in an anti-clockwise direction to create a breeze in summer, but did you know you can reverse this in winter and warm your home? When your ceiling fan turns clockwise at a low speed, it helps push the hot air back towards the ground. This will also work when you are using your heater. Hot air rises, and by using your fan in winter mode, it circulates the warm air around the room.
If it does come to using your heater, make sure you check the temperature is set right. Setting your heater between 18° C and 21° C can equal savings. Every degree higher adds up to 10% to the running cost. If your heater doesn't have a thermostat, a room thermometer will do the trick and make sure you hit that sweet spot.
And finally, make sure your heating appliance is serviced before the start of winter. Dirty filters can greatly reduce the heating efficiency of a reverse-cycle air conditioner. Maintenance is key to keeping them running efficiently.
Find some more helpful tips on heating your home efficiently, head to SA.GOV.AU - Heating (www.sa.gov.au)