Winter is the time of year when your energy use skyrockets and with the continually rising prices, so do your bills. Here’s some easy and inexpensive ways to cut back on your energy use. The more you can cut back, the more you’ll save!
Stop the draughts
Gaps around windows and doors cause up to 25% of the heat loss in your home. As the warm air seeps out and the cold air comes in, you have to crank the heater up for the same level of comfort. Self adhesive weather stripping stuck on the frame around doors and windows shuts off this gap. It’s easy to put on and costs around $10 for a single door. Larger gaps at the bottom of doors can be closed with seals designed for this. Screwed to the door, they come down automatically when the door is closed. A good old-fashioned door snake is a low-tech way to seal under your door.
Put a blanket on the rooms in your house by installing ceiling insulation. Up to 35% of winter heat is lost up through the ceiling and roof of your home. Installing ceiling insulation is the best way to reduce this loss. It’s like putting a blanket on your house. When installing, try to minimise any gaps but don’t compress the insulation as it reduces its effectiveness. Also keep it at least 200mm away from any ceiling downlights as covering them can create a fire risk. If your house has raised timber floors, insulating under the floor will reduce any cold air from seeping through the gaps and the chill coming up from the ground below.
Choose energy efficient lighting
Halogen downlights consume up to 10 times the amount of energy – and money - compared to more modern LED lights. In most cases the old globes can simply be replaced with new LED globes without the need for an electrician. The energy savings you make on the globes will more than cover the cost of buying them. In some instances the transformer on the old fitting is incompatible with the newer globes and a new light fitting will need to be installed. If your lights are on a dimmer, make sure the new globes can be dimmed.
Draw the curtains
Glass is a poor insulator, allowing heat to escape through it. Keep the heat away from the glass through window coverings. If you like the look of blinds, go for Roman or honeycomb blinds, which are the most energy efficient. The most effective window dressings are close fitting drapes and curtains. There are fewer gaps than other coverings and it also creates an insulating air layer between the glass and the heat.
Turn down the thermostat
Every 1 degree you turn down your heating cuts 10% off the energy used. A setting of around 20 degrees will be comfortable but not send your energy bills through the roof. Also consider turning down the temperature on your hot water system as heating water to a high level uses a lot of energy. Aim for about 60 degrees for tank storage system and 50 degrees for continuous flow heaters.