Brrrrrrrrr! Winter is upon us! But before you bring out the electric blankets and heaters, read these clever tips on cutting your electricity bill down in the colder months.
- Ensure your house is sealed and insulated. Check and replace weather strips on doors and windows. Carefully hold a smoking combustible material (say an incense stick) near the frames of exterior doors and windows. If the smoke moves toward or away from the window, an air leak is likely.
- Choose the right size appliance for the area you want to heat. For example, buy a radiant-type glowing heater to heat only yourself in the bathroom in the morning to eliminate morning whole-house heating time.
- Open curtains during the day to let sunlight in to your home, and close windows and curtains when trying to keep heat in.
- Reduce hot water use. Low-flow showerheads reduce water and energy costs. Take showers rather than baths since showering, in general, takes less water than baths. Repair leaky taps.
- Keep doors to empty rooms and cold rooms (like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries) closed. This can prevent up to 75 per cent of total heat loss from a home.
- Only turn on your heating system when people are at home.
- Stay under the covers – turning heaters down or completely off overnight can drastically reduce your energy use and dress more warmly in woollen jumpers and socks.
- “Reuse” heat: Leave hot water in the bathtub or in cooking pots instead of draining it immediately. This allows the water’s stored heat to dissipate into your home rather than being lost down the drain. You can also leave a hot oven slightly open after its use to heat the home.
- Lower the thermostat set point on your water heater. Check your water temperature by placing the back of your hand under a steady stream of hot water – if it is too hot to keep there, it is too hot.
- Decreasing your temperature setting on your air conditioner by just one degree can reduce your power consumption rate by up to 10 per cent.
- Block off heat loss – when your heater’s on, make sure you always shut windows and doors and close curtains, especially at night as a window can lose 10 times as much heat as the same area of insulated wall
- Install insulation – up to 35 per cent of heat loss from a house can be due to a ceiling that’s not insulated. Ceiling keeps your home warmer in winter and helps your heater run more efficiently
- Get out of hot water – electric hot water systems can account for a third of your electricity use. Switching from standard electric storage heaters to solar, heat pump or gas will make big savings on your bill.
- Use timers on heaters so they’re programmed to come on and off at set times. That way you can still wake up to a snug house, without paying for a night’s worth of power
- Fill up a hot water bottle rather than turning on the electric blanket for a warm, cosy night’s sleep
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