It is possible to save hundreds of dollars on energy bills during winter by making simple lifestyle changes, according to an architecture researcher.
Associate Professor Veronica Soebarto, from theUniversity of Adelaide says everyone can reduce their reliance on heating by finding ways to conserve heat. She says many people don’t realise that can make some relatively minor changes to help find savings in energy.
"There is a wide variety of improvements you can make to your home to reduce your energy consumption, however, without changing your behaviour it is likely your savings will not be optimum," she says.
Here are A/Professor Soebarto’s top tips for making savings.
1. Seal cracks
Heat can escape through small cracks and openings, so seal any cracks you see around your house before winter. Heat also escapes under doors, so close the gap with a door snake or something similar.
2. Let the sunshine in
Identify windows that face the sun during the day and remove any obstructions that may prevent solar heat penetrating your house. This doesn't mean cutting down trees, simply removing hanging objects and shades can make a difference. At night time, close internal shades to reduce heat loss through window glazing.
3. Buying a heater
Don’t just look at the initial cost of the heater, but also think of the operating expenses. While convection and oil-column heaters are inexpensive to buy, they are costly to run. If you use a 2-kW oil-column heater to heat a normal-sized bedroom, and run it constantly all night, you could pay about $5 per night or $150 per month.
Even if the heater only runs for 15 minutes every hour, you would still pay $30-$40 per month, just for one bedroom.
If you buy an electric heater, the key is to check its wattage which is usually written on the power plate somewhere on the heater. Multiply it by the approximate number of hours you would use the heater per day, and then multiply that figure by the unit price of electricity which is on the back of your electricity bill. This calculation will give you an approximate figure of how much it will cost to run your heater during winter.
4. Appliances and what to do with them
Don't fill up your electric kettle for just one cup of tea - only fill it as necessary.
Purchase a timer to help reduce the length of your showers.
Since it gets dark earlier during winter we tend to spend more time watching TV. Install power-down power controller systems, which automatically turn off all the appliances which are plugged into it when you turn off your TV.
Also make sure you turn off all your lights when you leave a room.
5. Dress for the occasion
It's winter! It's perfectly okay to dress in warm clothing, especially at home. And it's really quite silly to heat your house to such a temperature that you can walk around in a t-shirt, shorts and barefoot as some people do. It's just throwing money away.