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With summer a fading memory and the cooler weather fast approaching, our quintessential outdoorsy Australian lifestyles start to move indoors. Autumn is a great time to start preparing your home for the cold, unpredictable winter weather and, in the process, ease the strain of energy bills on your hip pocket.
According to a 2018 report by the Australian Energy Market Commission, the annual bill for the national average representative customer in 2017-18 is $1,522.1
From flooring to insulation, here we outline, some ways you can get your home winter-ready.
Cover your windows
Heating and cooling comprise 40% of household energy use, making it the biggest energy drainers in the average Australian home, and a likely culprit for higher than average energy bills. Therefore, if you’re going to switch on the heater during winter, it’s important to preserve as much of that precious heat as possible.
Up to 40% of heat2 in your home escapes through uncovered windows. Investing in the right window coverings is therefore a great way to prevent heat loss and save money on heating bills.
Layered or insulated curtains are one of the most effective ways to keep your home feeling cosy. Or if you prefer the look of blinds, consider swapping blinds with slats for solid versions such as roller, roman or honeycomb blinds to prevent heat escaping in the cooler months.
Warm up your floors
There are a number of ways to warm up your flooring for winter – some fairly simple and others that must be integrated when the flooring is first installed.
A simple, timeless and cost savvy way to warm up floors and prevent draughts is by adding a rug or two.
If, however, you are making more significant home improvements, underlayment beneath carpets, laminate or wood flooring can help to regulate the temperature of your room and also help with noise control.
For Australians who live in cooler climates, underfloor heating is an increasing popular home improvement. It works extremely well in bathrooms and colder living areas and can also be installed underneath carpeted areas and other flooring types.
Swap out your bedding
If you don’t like feeling an icy chill when you get into bed, it’s time to add some layers. Swap cotton sheets for flannel, change your duvet for one with a higher tog rating and top it all off with a warm blanket.
For extra warmth, consider using an electric blanket to pre-heat your bed before use. Electric blankets are very effective heaters, so you only need to run one for 10 to 30 minutes before switching it off. This can provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive space heaters.
Invest in insulation
Having the right building insulation is another way to decrease electricity bills, saving up to 45-55% of heating and cooling energy. A well-insulated, energy efficient home will keep your home up to 5 degrees warmer in winter.4
Less heat escaping can help to reduce the reliance on heating and cooling systems. Experts recommend setting your winter heating at 17-19 degrees, as every degree above this benchmark could add an extra 10% to your heating bills. 5
While it is easier to install insulation during a property build or renovation, it can also be retrofitted to improve the energy efficiency of your home. The three main areas to think about insulating are your ceiling and roof, wall cavities, and windows and doors.
The most common types of insulation for ceilings are reflective and bulk. Reflective insulation is mainly laminated foil sheets which prevent heat loss, while bulk insulation works by trapping air in millions of tiny pockets and slowing down the flow of heat.
If you are building or renovating, reflective or bulk insulation can also be installed in wall cavities, while for existing properties, loose-fill can be pumped into existing cavity walls. For windows, consider adding double glazing or energy efficient glass.
Getting your house ready before the cold creeps in is an investment that is well worth making. Not only will it mean a more comfortable winter but will also make your home more energy efficient, making winter a less expensive season.
1.Figure inclusive of GST, AEMC, 2018 Residential Electricity Price Trends Review
3.Australian Windows Association