Ah yes, the winter season. As the mercury dips, electricity bills in Australia can go wildly towards the opposite direction as Aussies scramble for their heaters. But surely there’s a way to save on heating costs and keep energy bills down?
Fortunately the answer to that question is “yes, there are ways to be energy efficient during the winter” and we’re here to fill you in.
1. Dress warmly
The easiest thing you can do to keep warm inside your home is to make the switch from tank tops and shorts to a jumper and trousers. Put a nice, warm blanket on your couch and chairs to use when you’re watching TV or just hanging out. It won’t cost you much to put on layers compared to purchasing new appliances or doing renovations.
Dress your house also by putting rugs on tiled floors so you don’t get too cold walking across them. (And put non-skid pads under rugs so you don’t slip.)
2. Check the heater’s energy rating before you buy
The heater is the culprit that’s adding a sizable chunk of electricity consumption to your bill during the winter. But since you can’t do without it, make sure you’re using one that works efficiently. If you’re buying a new heater, do your due diligence before shopping and look at the appliance’s Energy Rating Label.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Energy Rating Label is a government-regulated program that helps consumers compare the energy efficiency and consumption of appliances. Basically, the higher the star rating, the more energy efficient appliances are.
3. Dry your clothes the natural way
Sure, having a clothes dryer is a faster, more convenient way of getting your clothes ready to wear after laundering but that appliance consumes a lot of electricity. So if the weather and your property permit it, consider hanging your clothes out to dry under the sun.
4. Keep the hot air inside
Since you’re paying to heat up your house, make sure you’re keeping the warm air in instead of letting it escape through an open door or window.
Incidentally, a house that can keep the heat (or cool air, during the summer) inside is a good lookout for anyone who’s looking to buy or sell property because energy efficient houses are considered to be a good investment. This can be ensured through draught-proofing and weather strip installations, having everything sealed well, and also treating for termites (since they may eat through insulation).
5. Insulate your windows
Windows can contribute to heat loss so keeping them uncovered makes it harder to control the temperature at home (thus leading you to crank up your heater more). You can get around this by glazing your windows then covering them up with blinds and shades.
Shuttered windows are also a good idea because the tight-fitting frames can prevent the chilly air from entering through seams. Meanwhile, in terms of window shades, double cell shades offer the most effective heat retention.
You may also want to install layered treatment like combining thermal drapery with your blinds or shades to prevent the cold air from sneaking in. Besides which, the layers may also add a dramatic flair to a room making it aesthetically pleasing in addition to cosy.
6. Make your showers more water-efficient
Hot water showers also add to your energy bills, more so during the winter. Fortunately, a quick way to save on heating costs is by installing a water-efficient showerhead. It’s a cost-effective solution that reduces the amount of energy needed to heat the water, saving you both energy and water.
To know if you’re purchasing a water-efficient showerhead, check its Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating.
7. Only heat the rooms you’re in
Keeping the heating on in unoccupied rooms is a no-no if you’re looking for ways on how to save on heating costs. That said, if you can't control that on a per room basis, you can always turn off the central heating and switch to your gas fire for the meantime.
8. Insulate your roof
This is a larger undertaking but it can lead to very substantial savings on your winter energy bills. Without proper roof insulation, the heat will rise and escape out the ceiling and the roof.
9. Compare electricity providers and look for better deals
Aside from your usage, your energy bill is impacted by the tariff you’re signed up to. You can check if you’re on the right energy offer by visiting the Australian government’s Energy Made Easy Website to compare your consumption from similar-sized houses in your locality.
You can also get a closer look at this by consulting an energy broker that will help you find the best offers in your state according to your consumption, budget and needs.
10. Get on board with solar power
While you’re talking to your energy broker, you can also bring up the idea of switching to a solar powered system. Photovoltaic panels may start off as a big investment but it will pay off in the long run as it reduces your energy bills and is more sustainable.
If you’re looking to get outfitted with solar panels but are worried that it will be costly, you’ll be glad to know that some state governments offer rebates, subsidies or incentives for solar and renewable energy installations like the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
We hope these tips have shown you how to save on heating costs and keep your home nice and toasty for the winter without inflating your winter energy bills. Want to move into an energy-efficient, winter-ready home? Get in touch with the Upside team to find a property that’s right up your alley.