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There are lots of ways you can make your home cheaper to run and more comfortable in winter. Consider the options below, or book a Scorecard assessment to receive tailored information from one of our expert assessors.
Quick tips for saving on your heating bills
- Keep the thermostat at 20oC or below for your winter heating. Every degree higher can increase heating costs by around 10%.
- Close off rooms that are not in use. This could be as simple as closing a door, or putting a curtain over an open archway to keep the warm air contained.
- Only run the heater when required. Turn it off overnight and when you leave the house
- Seal gaps and cracks around doors and windows or use draught excluders (e.g. door snakes).
- Use curtains or blinds on windows. For best results use heavy curtains that reach the floor and completely cover both sides of the window along with a pelmet, as this creates an air barrier. Keep the curtains closed from late afternoon to keep your heated air inside.
- If you have a ducted heating system that is more than 10 years old, it can be good to have the ducts checked to ensure they aren't leaking warm air.
- Use a wheat bag or other type of heat pack to heat yourself. Ensure you follow the instructions to stay safe.
- Try putting on a heavy jumper, use blankets or perhaps a heated blanket while watching TV at night.
Impact of window protection on winter heat loss
Central or space heating?
Centrally heated homes generally have most of the home heated, for instance by gas ducted heating. Space heated homes often have only one or two rooms heated using an appliance like a wall furnace or air conditioner. Space heating usually costs less to run than central heating, but comfort levels in unheated rooms can be lower.
Reverse-cycle space heating
As well as providing cooling in summer, reverse-cycle air conditioners can be very effective and efficient space heaters.
Most reverse cycle space heaters have a star rating. When purchasing, look for an appliance with 4 stars or more . Using multiple reverse-cycle systems can actually be more efficient than installing central heating as there are no ducts through which heat can be lost.
See www.energyrating.gov.au for a list of models and their ratings.
Gas space heating
Gas space heaters can be very effective and efficient heaters. These can be in the form of floor-mounted console heaters, wall furnaces, gas faux fires and other designs.
These heaters have a star rating. When purchasing, look for an appliance with 5 stars or more. Again, installing multiple systems may be more efficient than central heating.
See the Australian Gas Association list of current models and their energy rating: www.aga.asn.au/complete_product_directory
Many houses have a large reverse-cycle air conditioner or gas heater to provide heating to the whole of the house. These produce hot air in a central module, which is pumped along ducts to either floor or ceiling vents. However, ducted heaters lose heat from the ducts while the warm air is on its way to where you want it. If your system allows it, zoning your house is an effective way of heating the areas that are used more frequently like the living areas, while closing the ducts to the bedrooms until required.
If you’re looking for a gas system, choose appliances with a rating of 5 or 6 stars.
Some electric ducted reverse cycle systems have star ratings. Choose the highest star rating possible.
Ductwork should be regularly checked by a tradesperson to ensure there are no leaks. If you have an older system, the ducting is unlikely to be insulated. Consider upgrading the ducting along with the heater.
Hydronic heating systems that circulate hot water or coolant through radiator panels or the floor can be very cheap to run if an efficient hot water system is used to heat the water. For efficient use of hydronic heating, all radiator room panels should have their own thermostat controls, so you can choose which rooms to heat.
Ensure that water circulation pipes are well insulated and that there is insulation behind the radiator panels. This could be in-wall insulation or a reflective surface behind the panel. This is particularly important for external walls.
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Page last updated: 20/09/22