Eight ways to reduce your energy bill

Want to have a cosy winter without an electricity bill that gives you the chills? This is what you need to know (woolly scarf optional).

 

First, you notice a hint of a breeze, perhaps a few goose bumps and increased conversations about the changing temperature. Then you realise you’re wearing long sleeves and your t-shirts have been relegated to the back of the drawer. Before you know it, you’re shivering in a beanie and chunky knits have become the order of the day. Winter has a way of pushing its way in, causing chattering teeth and resulting in all-day heater marathons. But before you blast the thermostat (and rack up astronomical electricity bills in the process) try these energy-saving winter warmers on for size. 

1.Shop Around

There are days when the sky is grey, the rain is drizzly, the wind is howling, and the only antidote to the winter blues is the comforting whir of the heater. If you must use it, make sure you’re getting the best deal. As gas and electricity prices continue to rise, it’s a good idea to shop around. The Australian Government website EnergyMadeEasy.gov.au lists a range of calculators and estimators that offer a helpful guide and allow you to compare electricity and gas contracts available from licensed energy retailers. 

2.Embrace Insulation

We’re not suggesting you literally hug the insulation (though there’s no doubt it’s cosy) but installing it, whether in a new home or existing one – can considerably protect your interior from the worst of winter’s bite. In fact, installing roof and ceiling insulation can save up to 45% on heating and cooling energy, and insulating walls saves up to an extra 15%. If you’re inclined to DIY, visit yourhome.gov.au for detailed information on everything you need to know. If you don’t know a ceiling batt from a fruit bat, best to employ a professional. 

3.Bake up a storm

What’s the best thing about using the oven in winter? Besides the edible goodness that comes out of it – it’s hot. Whether you’re inclined to bake muffins – or heat up last night’s pizza, the hot air gives your home a valuable boost in temperature. Once you’ve finished baking, leave the oven door open for a few minutes to let the hot air (and the sweet aroma of baked goods) circulate.

4.Cover the floorboards

If you don’t live in a carpeted home, throwing a few rugs on the floor can make a significant difference to how warm (or cold) you feel. A shaggy weave is cosier underfoot than a plank of wood. While you’re at it, make sure you also shut the doors to any rooms you’re not using, and seal any draughts that might bluster in from under the door, through windows, or from ventilation holes that could be contributing to the chill.

 

Winter Sustainability

5.Have a cuppa

Put on the kettle (but only put in as much water as you need as the more you fill it, the more energy it consumes) and make yourself a soothing cup of tea. Coffee works just as well – or even a cup of soup. The aim is to get your mitts around a hot beverage so you can raise your core temperature.  

6.Rug up warm

From trusty ugg boots and beanies to heavy blankets and cosy coats – there’s no denying that if you feel warm already, switching on the heater will be the furthest thing from your mind. Keep some woolly throws on the couch and try putting on an extra layer before you put on the heater. Also consider using an electric blanket. It costs less to power a blanket than a heater and it makes the space between your bed covers feel especially cosy. The only downside? You’ll never want to leave. 

7.Spoon the dog

It’s a well-known fact that furry pets are like living hot water bottles. Make the most of your pet’s warmth and banish the chills while enjoying a cuddle with your four-legged friend. Live in a pet free home? A hot water bottle can do the job too.