After a long spell of hot, dry days, winter seems to be on the way with overnight temperatures falling. It won’t be long before home heating systems are fired up or switched on.
Heating a home in Melbourne’s winter can cause some anxiety. Firstly, there’s the cost. Electricity and/or gas bills tend to rise as the heating system works hard to keep the house warm. Heating and cooling makes up 40% of the average household’s energy consumption so the cost can be a significant part of the utilities bill.
Secondly, anyone aiming for a more sustainable lifestyle wouldn’t be happy with the increased consumption of (probably) non-renewable resources like gas.
Reducing the heating bill this winter.
How can households reduce winter heating anxiety? The Australian Government has a few suggestions. Here are three no, or low, cost ideas to reduce energy consumption (and utility bills) this winter.
1. Turn down the thermostat
Aim for a setting between 18 and 20℃ on the thermostat. Throw on some warmer clothes if this temperature feels a little cool. Remember, it is winter so pack away the t-shirt and shorts. Dress appropriately for the season.
Turning down the dial makes a big difference. It’s estimated that every one degree reduction cuts 10% off a heater’s energy bill.
2. Close doors between rooms
Heat only the rooms that need it. Start by closing doors to rooms that aren’t in use. If everyone is in the kitchen and living rooms, close doors that allow heated air to find its way to other rooms. Can ducted heating vents in unoccupied rooms (eg spare bedroom) be easily closed as well?
Shutting doors and vents reduces unnecessary energy consumption..
3. Stop drafts
Feel a cold draft? That means warm air is getting out of the house and drawing in cold air.
Fixing this problem will cost a few dollars but it’s worth the time and money. Installing door and window seals purchased from a hardware store (eg Bunnings) can reduce the heating bill by 25%.
Only use energy when it’s needed.
These ideas for reducing energy consumption work for every type of heater - gas or electric, super high efficiency or just average efficiency. It doesn’t matter.
That’s because the cheapest source of energy is the energy we don’t use. Cutting down on energy consumption is also a quick, inexpensive and effective way to reduce carbon emissions.
Try the ideas this winter. You’ll notice the difference in your utility bill and you’ll have a more sustainable lifestyle.
Our guest writer Howard Elston, is a local resident and former teacher, who has been working on energy conservation and sustainable living practices for many years. His current project is dedicated to building a 'Green Unit' here in the outer east. The project is aiming to
Design a functional, comfortable, attractive dwelling that will meet our needs for the foreseeable future and including many cutting edge sustainability ideas that will showcase an alternative to the standard urban house design.
You can read more about Howard and his Green Home Build project here at: http://greenhomebuildaustralia.com/.