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How to save on your heating bill this winter

How to save on your heating bill this winter

Did you know that for the average Canberra home around 60% of annual household energy costs comes from heating? Even though winter is already here, it’s never too late to start saving on your heating bill. By making some simple yet smart choices when it comes to your household heating, you can easily stay warm, reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and cut your energy costs starting today.

Here’s our five-step guide to help you save this winter.

  1. Control the temperature. One of the most effective ways to reduce your heating bill is to turn down your thermostat. Lowering the thermostat temperature by 1 degree will reduce your heating bill by as much as 10%, says the ACT Government’s ActSmart initiative, which recommends a thermostat setting between 18–20 degrees during winter. Most modern thermostats allow you to program your heater to turn on and off at certain times of the day. Using the timer setting allows you to set your desired temperature to suit your lifestyle and schedule, and best of all, it will save you having to remember to turn it off when you go to bed or leave the house.

  2. Draught-proof your home. One of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and cut down on your heating bill is by making sure your home is well insulated and weather proofed. Inadequate insulation can cause up to 40% heat loss through the roof, 20% through the walls, up to 15% through the floor and 10–15% through cracks and gaps, according to ActSmart. Heat loss is not only a waste of energy but significantly increases your bill as your system works harder to regulate your home temperature. For great ways to improve the insulation in your home read our handy guide here. Also, remember that good insulation will also pay off in summer by keeping your home cool.

  3. Choose smart heat sources. It’s important to understand how your heaters work and how to use them in the most cost-effective way so you can stay warm, save energy and reduce your spend at the same time. If you can, avoid portable electric heaters as they are one of the most expensive to run. If you do have to use a portable space heater, make sure to choose the most energy efficient option by looking at its energy rating before you make your purchase. For central heating systems, ActSmart says upgrading your gas heating system to a reverse cycle system can reduce household bills by around $500 per year. If you have a ducted central heating system, opt for ‘zoning’ by only heating the areas that you use to ensure you maximise energy efficiency. Also, even though we’re well into winter, it’s never too late to look into changing your energy provider – there’s almost always a better deal out there if you do your research.

  4. Be savvyThere are many quick, easy and savvy ways you can slash your energy bill this winter and one of the most effective is to switch off your heater before you go to sleep. If you get cold, opt for a hot water bottle, put on some fluffy bed socks or add an extra blanket to your bed. Another cost-saving tip is to turn off your electric blanket just before you get into bed. If you are sitting for a long time, heated throw rugs are also a great option and they will cost you less than five cents an hour to run, says ActSmart. Other handy ways to reduce your bill is to always turn off heaters before you leave the house, minimise the areas to be heated across the home by closing doors between heated and unheated rooms, and opt for shorter showers to reduce your hot water usage.

  5. Use the sun. Canberra is synonymous for warm, sunny winter days so take advantage of this free and natural heat source. Open the curtains and blinds on sunny days, especially north-facing windows, and let the sunshine stream in and warm up your home. Be sure to open up internal doors so the heat circulates from room to room. According to ActSmart, for every two square metres of window exposed to direct sunlight, the heat coming in through your window is like having a one-bar radiant heater running. As the sun goes down, draw the curtains and close doors and blinds again and seal the warmth in for the night. Another way to take advantage of a sunny day (as well as save on energy costs) is to hang out your clothes to dry rather than putting them in the dryer.

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