You may be thinking she lives in Queensland, what does she know about cold weather and saving on heating?
Well, fair question.
After all, it’s the middle of July and we’re still running around in t-shirt and shorts.
Ok, I’m being a little bit boastful because…
I grew up in Bathurst, NSW where it snows on occasion during the winter. While we’re frolicking in the sun, my mother is complaining of wind chills of –11°C.
And she has a broken heater.
I really, really don’t like the cold.
But I miss all the cold weather comforts like knitting and scarves and snuggling up under a blanket with hot chocolate.
Which brings me to ways to save on heating costs: finding ways to stay warm without overdoing the heater.
Heating, along with cooling, makes up the largest portion of energy usage in the average home.
So reducing heating costs will have a big impact on your overall energy bill.
Today’s post covers just some of the ways to reduce the cost of heating your home.
ways to reduce heating costs
Up to 45% of heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof. An investment in insulation can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the insulation.
MAKE USE OF SOLAR PASSIVE HEAT
Warm the house passively during the daytime using the sun.
The easiest way to do this is to open the curtains on north facing windows to allow the sun in. Even better if you have tiles that absorb the heat and a ‘thermal mass’ like a cement slab beneath the tiles to store it.
At dusk, close curtains to retain the heat and the stored heat in the slab will be released and help keep the house warm in the evening.
For more information on solar passive design, check out the article An introduction to solar passive design.
Keep the warmth in by covering windows with heavy curtains or blankets in the late afternoon. Floor length curtains work best for keeping the warmth in and the cold out and pelmets can also help.
If you don’t have heavy curtains, blankets over the windows can help instead.
Use weather stripping or caulking to seal cracks around windows and doors. Use a draught ‘snake’ or door sweep to prevent draughts under doors.
ZONE YOUR HEATING
Heating the entire house can be expensive and a waste if you’re not using all the rooms.
Instead, shut doors and only heat one or two rooms.
For open plan layouts, use room dividers or curtains on tension rods to zone the room and heat a smaller space.
Layers of clothing provide you with personal insulation and help keep you warm. Thermal undies do a great job of keeping you warm.
Stay warmer by covering your head and feet, rug up with a blanket and a hottie (or a hot water bottle ;)) in front of the TV and layer on the blankets on the bed for extra warmth at night.
The little fella is a fan of Man v Wild, and the other day we watched Bear Grylls do push ups (naked in the snow, of course) to warm up and prevent hyperthermia after plunging into a frozen lake.
Take a tip from Bear and keep off the extra winter padding by exercising instead of turning on the heater (she, who never does exercise, says).
IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF YOUR HEATING BY USING CEILING FANS
Hot air rises, so using ceiling fans on reverse or ‘winter’ cycle can help distribute the heat and keep it down where you feel it the most.
GATHER IN THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is the heart of the home for good reason, especially in winter.
Make the most of the warmth from the oven when cooking and gather in the kitchen.
TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT
Origin Energy recommends setting the thermostat at 18-20°C.
According to Origin:
“every degree of extra heating in winter or cooling in summer will increase energy consumption by about 5 to 10% and this will translate to a bigger energy bill.” [source]
REGULARLY MAINTAIN YOUR HEATER
Maintain your heater according to the manufacturers instructions. Ensure it is dust free and air flow is not constricted.
HAVE RULES FOR WHEN YOU USE THE HEATER
When I was a kid, the rule for the heater was that it wasn’t allowed on between 9am and 4pm unless it was exceptionally cold.
Rather than turning the heating on automatically, try getting / staying warm by layering up in warmer clothes or being more active during the day and leave the heater for the evenings.
GET THE MOST ENERGY EFFICIENT HEATER FOR YOUR HOME
The right heater will depend on your climate, your home design, circumstances and needs.
For information on choosing the right heater for you see:
- Choice Review: Heating Options for Your Home – Buying Guide
- Energy Efficiency Brochures – Heating (PDF)
Staying warm in winter doesn’t have to blow the budget. Rug up and save on heating costs this winter.
What’s your best tip for reducing the cost of heating?