Sustainable solutions to save money while staying warm this winter
25 May 2020
If you’ve been working from home recently, you probably know how important being comfortable indoors can be for your productivity, and maybe you’re worried about a chill you’ve noticed in the air recently.
Are you ready for the thermometer to dip lower as winter approaches? Searching for ways to keep warm without spending a lot of money?
Perhaps you’re also concerned about how using extra energy to heat your home could impact the environment. According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, heating appliances account for about 26% of the total energy use in homes across the country.
Fortunately, reducing household energy consumption will lower your heating bills while also helping the environment. Here are some quick tips to get you started.
There are several sustainable ways you can keep your home toasty and warm without spending a fortune this winter.
Familiarise yourself with the various rating labels
Don’t daydream so hard about your next holiday that you forget to check energy rating labels while shopping for home heating appliances. The label is being expanded to cover more heating devices and can be found on air conditioners as well.
Last year, the Government started rolling out a zone energy rating label to provide more comprehensive information, since energy efficiency for appliances can vary by climate zone. Look for the best unit for your needs based on where you live.
If you purchase and install gas systems, like ducted heating or certain space heaters, there’s no government-regulated rating scheme, but the industry maintains its own starred gas energy rating label, which can help you compare similar gas units.
Use the most efficient methods for your needs
Before you opt for more expensive, resource-intensive appliances, see if you can meet your heating needs with lower-cost alternatives.
Start with options that help you efficiently redistribute the heat that’s already in your home. Heat rises, so warm air tends to collect towards the rafters. A reversible ceiling fan pulls up cold air and mixes it with the higher, warmer air, then recirculates it throughout the room. A heat shifter works in much the same way, but this system redistributes warm and cold air across multiple rooms.
Reverse-cycle air conditioner units can also help you stay warm in a way that’s more efficient than many electric heaters.
Heat only what you need, when you need it
Think carefully about which rooms in your home actually need to be warmed. It’s probably not essential for you to heat your whole house or your entire flat all day.
Those of us who are working remotely will likely need our workspaces to be a little bit toastier during the day, but our bedrooms could probably cool off until nightfall, so close the door. Also, how warm do you really need your bedroom to be at night? Pile on the blankets and drift off to dreamland. You won’t even think about the temperature until it’s time to wake up.
At nighttime, the kitchen, living room and other unoccupied areas should be fine if they’re a touch colder than the rest of the house.
If you dress warmly indoors, you won’t have to run the heat as often.
Dress warmly and bundle up
Speaking of extra blankets, you could certainly rely on additional layers instead of picking up more space heaters. If your feet start to feel chilly at your desk, try doubling up your socks before you purchase a personal electric heater. Instead of adjusting your gas heater or your reverse-cycle air conditioner, put on a jumper. As a bonus, you’ll feel particularly cosy!
Properly maintain your heating appliances
Even if you pick out the most energy-efficient units available, they’ll waste heat and energy if you don’t keep them in good shape.
If you use ducted heating, make sure that air is free to flow unimpeded through the outlets and return grilles.
For ducted heating and air conditioners, clean or replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer. If the filters become clogged, the heating unit will have to work harder, using more energy to get your room to the desired temperature.
Make sure your home is optimised for efficient heating
Proper household maintenance for efficient heating is a great way to make your home more environmentally friendly.
If your windows aren’t letting in warm sunshine, make sure they stay covered so heat doesn’t escape.
If you own your home, make sure that it’s fully and properly insulated. This will save you a lot of money over the long run. Look for units that are well insulated if you’re renting.
Also, check around your doors and windows for draughts. You can use caulk, foam or special tape to keep air from escaping or entering your home. Draught snakes can help you plug the tiny gap beneath doors.
As an added bonus, these insulation efforts will help you keep your home cooler during the summer months while you run the air conditioner.
What will you do with your savings from a lower heating bill?
When you reduce your heating bill by using less energy, you’ll be doing right by the environment and lowering your overall expenses. What should you do with all those savings?
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