Warm your home for winter

Winter web

After an unusually warm Autumn colder weather is finally on the way and Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Dr Robert Simpson said now is the time to prepare to save on heating costs.

Winter electricity bills are generally the highest of the year due to heating costs but there are some simple things people can do to lessen the impact on the household budget”, he said.

A good first step is to walk around your home to work out how you can keep heat inside over the winter months.

“If you are losing heat through doors and windows it means you need to run heaters for longer, which costs you more.

“Consider using door snakes, draught stoppers, foam window sealing tape and closing blinds and curtains to reduce heat loss and stop any draughts.

”It’s also worth investing in rugs for tile or wooden  floors to keep your home cosy for winter and making sure your home is properly insulated can provide big savings.

“Ceiling insulation can reduce heating costs by up to 30 per cent and save you more than $100 a year. Wall insulation is also effective and recommended if you’re building or renovating a home”, Dr Simpson said.

If you are buying a new heater or heating system it’s important to choose the right one for your situation.

“Reverse cycle air conditioners and gas heating systems are good options for heating larger spaces. They are more expensive upfront but if used efficiently they cost up to two thirds less to run compared to portable plug-in heaters”, he said.

Portable plug-in heaters are better suited for using in small spaces for short periods of time.

"Plug-in heaters can be cheap to buy but can be costly to run and it is easy to spend more money on electricity from using a personal fan heater in one week, than the cost of the heater itself" 

Choose a heater with a thermostat or timer so it doesn’t run all night and overheat the room.

Ausgrid research shows more than 80 per cent of households heat their homes to 22 degrees or above.

A comfortable room temperature in winter is considered to be between 18 and 21 degrees. Every degree of heating above that can add 10 per cent to the running costs. Wear an extra layer of clothing or warm socks to keep comfortable.

You should check your heaters are working safely and efficiently. Reverse cycle air conditioners may require a service and cleaning the filter will help maintain optimal efficiency during winter.

“If you use portable plug-in heaters, give them a safety check when you pull them out for winter and check for frayed cords. Heaters use a lot of power so don’t piggy back adaptors and keep them a safe distance from combustible items”, Dr Simpson said.