According to yourhome.gov.au, 40% of an average household’s winter bill is spent on keeping the home warm, and although spring is around the corner we’re still seeing our energy bills ramp up as we spend more time at home. So, we thought we’d share these energy-saving hacks to enable you to take control of your energy usage in the last cooler weeks of the year.
After reading this blog not only will you know the best ways to heat your home, you’ll also know exactly what you need to do in order to keep that warmth in. In short, you’ll be a pro at having a warm house without the high energy bills.
1) Saving energy by keeping the warmth in your house
Let’s start with the basics and look at what we need to do to retain the heat you’ve already paid for.
Collectively between the walls, floor, windows, doorways and the roof of your home you will lose 70% of the heat that you generate through heating your home.
It seems obvious, but if you are able to close doors in your house this is the fastest way to retain heat in the room you are in as well. You can totally seal the room by using draft excluders on the doors.
Add some layers to your home
At Nectr, we love winter because we can layer up with warm cardigans and cozy coats and scarves. But we also love layering up our homes.
Leave warm blankets laying around your couches and throw rugs on the floors. Rugs aren’t only there for creating design spaces within your house. They were invented for the practical use of keeping your floors warm. Floors can lose up to 10% of the heat if they are not insulated.
If you’re trying to warm a small room without a doorway, try hanging heavy duty curtain between rooms. You’ll be surprised how well this works!
Have a DIY weekend
Staying in again this weekend? Check out some easy and effective DIY projects the whole family can get involved in.
– Apply weather stripping
– Caulk windows
– Set up automatic timers for switching off lights
– Install brush door seal
If you have kids, get them excited about the project and teach them a little about energy as you go. Make a game – have them close the curtains one night to keep the heat in and have the curtains open the next night. See if they can tell you which night was warmer. Interesting fact: windows can let out 40% of your heat!
2) Space heater or central heating?
Without a fireplace, the two main ways you might heat you home is either through central heating or with a space heater. You might find a combination of both work best for you over winter, depending on how many rooms of the house need to be heated at any one point. Check out the pros and cons of each.
In winter central heating really does feel like a gift from the universe. If you have a zoned central heating system and are able to heat sections of your house, then you won’t need to supplement central heating with space heaters and can jump down to point # 2. For the rest of you, read on.
Heating sections of the house? Then a space heater is your kryptonite. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting a fan space heater and an oil space heater.
Fan space heater
Oil space heater
3) Cheapest way to heat your house
Here’s how you go about finding a good heater that gets you the most bang for your buck. Firstly, remember that checking the energy efficiency rating of your space heater should always be your starting point. Secondly, calculate how much your heater will cost to run.
Appliances are rated by Wattage. For example, a space heater may say ‘1500W’. This number is how many ‘Watts’ it uses per hour. We measure electricity in kilowatts per hour (1kwh = a 1000W appliance on for 1 hour). The amount you pay depends on your electricity tariff. If you’re living in the Ausgrid area and are on the Nectr Friends Clean Time of Use plan, for example, you’ll pay 20.57 c/kWh. You can find out more about Time of Use plans here.
To measure the hourly running cost of running an appliance multiply the input power in kW by the price of your electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
1.5kW x 20.57c per kWh = 30.86 cents per hour.
That’s a pretty good price to pay for an hour of comfort, however, if you’re running one space heater over 12 hours/day over winter that adds up to be an additional $333 over three months to warm up just one room.
Whether you’re able to zone central heating or you’re heating your entire house try to keep your heater set to between 18-20°C. Interesting energy-saving hack – every degree above 20°C adds an extra 10% to your energy costs. Also, do you need your house heated while you’re asleep? Try to program your central heating for 20 minutes before you wake up and 20 minutes after you go to bed.
Space heaters are the best way to heat a couple of rooms in the house. Here’s what you do to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck for the money you’re spending on heating.
Place your heater next to your door, facing towards the back corner of the room. Never place the heater facing the doorway as that lets the warm air escape.