Cooler weather is here and we’ve all pulled out our heaters to warm our living spaces.
With Australian households experiencing a 26% rise in their energy spend last year, there’s never been a better time to consider the impact on both your pocket and the environment of keeping your home warm and snug.
Further than simply plugging in an appliance however, depending on the size of your home and your energy source, economical heating of your home can be achieved with a number of simple measures.
1. Use your curtains
Not just for decoration, drawing curtains and pulling down blinds across your windows traps in warm area and stops the flow of cool air into your home through glass panels.
Conversely, remember to open the curtains, blinds and even doors to admit fresh warm air as the temperature rises with the sun outside during the day. Inviting the sun’s warming rays into your home is essentially free heating.
2. Use timers on your heating
Whether it’s central heating or a freestanding unit in your home, set a timer for optimum performance. Starting your heater 30 minutes before you get up each morning will take the edge off the chill and remove the need for a costly turbo blast of heat when you start moving through your home each day.
Setting a timer to switch off your heating at night is also a good practice – it might highlight energy wastage heating a whole living area for late night channel surfing, when you could be snuggled in bed with a good book!
3. Rearrange your furniture
Position your furniture to allow circulation of heat throughout your living areas. A sofa place directly in front of a heat source will block the flow and, in some cases, overheat the appliance. Allowing ample space for good air circulation.
4. Rug up
It sounds simple but dressing for the seasons can make your entire family more comfortable in the home without any cost at all. Donning a trackie doesn’t really cut it though - wool is a great insulator against cold and worn against the skin is less bulky than jackets or layers on top that restrict physical movement. Socks and slippers on concrete of timber floors are a must too.
5. Invest in insulation
Homes that are not insulated experience heat loss through roofs and ceilings, walls and floors. Installing insulation can save up to 80% on heating (and cooling) losses, together with the potential to reduce condensation and therefore the potential for mould and damp to develop in your home.
6. Go easy on the temperature setting
Ideally set your thermostat for 19 degrees Celsius, but never above 21 degrees. Don’t be tempted to knock it up when you’re feeling chilly – move around more, close a door or rug up yourself (see #4 above) or your space (see #9 below).
7. Zone out
Using space heaters or a zoned natural gas heating system is the most efficient and cost effective way to heat your home. For maximum efficiency a lower temperature is required for bedrooms (where you’re already snuggled under layers) than in your living areas. If you’re looking at upgrading or replacing your home heating, or are planning a new build, consider the needs for the entire home and talk to experts about the best solution for your home.
8. Mind the gap
Gaps around windows and under door openings can contribute enormously to the loss of warm air created by your heating source, causing it to work harder to maintain a constant temperature.
According to Carbon Cops, filling cracks around windows and sealing your home against draughts typically earns its cost back within two or three bills. Use draught stoppers under doors and block off chimneys where they don’t work.
9. Rug out
Even if you love the look of sweeping timber floorboards, or polished concrete flooring, adding a rug to your living space in the cooler months will insulate you against the cold and aid the retention of warmth in your rooms, particularly with floorboards which, in older home tend to be gappy.
10. Close your doors
It sounds simple but make a practice of physically dividing up your living spaces for optimum heating. Encourage all members of the household to close doors to areas not in use and keep them closed.