How to stay warm this winter and save money

Posted 1 May '18
How to stay warm this winter and save money

Winter is just around the corner and that means we need to start thinking about what the colder months mean for our electricity bills.

Here are some tips to save money and not get frost bite! 

1. Close those windows and doors

Cold air can creep into your house through gaps and cracks around doors and windows.  There’s no point in cranking up the heating if you haven’t checked the house for draughts first. Use your door snakes to stop cold air entering, and draw your curtains to stop the heat escaping.   Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install. So it’s worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.

2. Be practical

Do you need to dial up the thermostat or could you put on your winter woollies instead?   Every degree adds 10% to your heating bill. If the room is “toasty warm”, it should ring alarm bells.

Set your heater to the lowest comfortable temperature, this is “1 degree above being cold”.  You can do this by lowering the temperature a degree and then wait 15 minutes, and lower again until it is ”just comfortable” and set the thermostat at that temperature.  As a guide, 18-21 degrees in winter is often considered comfortable. 

3. Think ahead

Open curtains during the day and let the sun naturally heat your rooms.   Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat.  When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. 

4. Make the most of your solar

Got solar? Contrary to popular belief, solar panels will still generate electricity in winter as they generate electricity from light, not heat. So you can be saving just as much, if not more off your bills!

Just make sure to check for anything that could cast shade over your solar panels. The sun is at a lower angle during winter and what was fine in summer, might now inhibit your solar generation. Also ensure your panels are clean and functioning properly. Dust and grime can build up over time and this reduces their efficiency. It is best to hire a qualified professional to take care of this for you.

Solar panels generate electricity from light, not heat. So they can be a big help in the winter!

5. Watch out for standby power

The typical Aussie home has about 30 devices that constantly draw standby power, accounting for around 10% of a home’s energy bill. So if you’re not using an appliance, confirm that’s its completely turned off.

6. Check your insulation

So much of the heat in a home is lost to poor insulation in the roof and walls. Each year, check that the ceiling and walls are adequately insulated, and top it up where that insulation is running thin. You can easily save hundreds of dollars in power bills every year by doing this.

7. Be smart about how and when you heat your home

Set your thermostat to 18 or 19 degrees and set timers for compatible heating systems to heat your home with the last few hours of solar electricity. This means you come home to a warm house and bring down your evening electricity use!

Channel these tips and you’ll be sure to stay cosy and avoid getting a shock when your next bill comes in!