With the cold weather well and truly on its way, it’s high time you got to work on winter-proofing your home. And as electricity rates in Australia continue to soar, it’s now more important than ever to save energy during the colder months.
The good news is cutting power costs doesn’t mean freezing your way through the season; there are lots of practical ways you can stay comfortable and slash your energy bill at the same time. Read on to learn 7 ways a homeowner can save money during the winter.
Fix your drafty windows
With time, the glazing putty in your windows will become brittle, or their double-hung wooden sashes will shrink. Either eventuality causes icy drafts to float in during the winter, which drags down the temperature of the entire room. Several quick and easy fixes are available in your nearest hardware store: v-seal weather stripping, rope caulk, and shrink film. Alternatively, grab a thick new quilted curtain and swap it in for your old one.
For a more long-term fix, you may have to replace the glazing putty or even the entire window. Not sure which windows are drafty? You can use an infrared thermometer to pinpoint air leaks or areas of poor insulation in your home.
Get smart with your heating
Turning down the thermostat and chucking on a big jacket is the most obvious way to save money on your power bill, but it’s also uncomfortable and inconvenient.
A neat little workaround is to turn down the central heating but leave a spot heater to warm the area your family gathers in the most. For example, you could set the thermostat to a bearable 17C, then put an electric oil heater in the living room and switch it on when you’re all huddled around the TV. These heaters take a while to kick in, so remember to hit the switch before your favourite program starts.
Another pro central heating tip: program it to turn on 20 minutes before you wake up and turn off 20 minutes after you go to bed.
Insulate your attic
Your attic is already insulated, although perhaps not to an adequate degree. Check with your local building department how much insulation a house in your city should have, then go up and measure what’s there.
If you’ve got less insulation than the recommended amount, then you’ll need to get up there and install some more. Attic insulation comes in either bats or loose-fill; opt for the latter as it’s easier to install and will fill in the crevices and cracks. The whole process is a little complex, though, so you might want to enlist professional help.
Improve your curtain routine
Keep your curtains open during the day to allow sunlight to flood in, which will gradually warm your home while you’re off at work. Then once you come back in the evening, close your curtains again to provide extra insulation and stop the warm air from escaping.
The routine may take a few seconds out of your day, but it’ll also make a noticeable difference to your comfort and energy bill.
Install the right fireplace doors
Fireplaces are a cosy add-on to any home, yet they can be terrible at holding in the heat. Modern fireplaces have a cold air intake that connects to the exterior of the house, so you need to ensure the door is airtight. Older models use air from your living room, so grab a door with functioning air-vents instead. Just keep those vents firmly closed when not in use, or you’ll let the warm air flow straight out.
Leave the oven door open after you’re done cooking
Once you’ve finished baking your delicious Sunday roast, leave the oven door open and let the heat radiate through the house. This might be an unconventional alternative, but you’ll find that a lot of heat is trapped inside that oven, so you might as well let it warm up the house.
A couple of safety considerations are involved – one of them including you turn the oven off first and giving this tip a miss if you’ve got small children wandering around the house.
Fill up your hot water bottle
Hot water bottles were the bed-heating accessory of choice back before the electric heater became commonplace.
Rather than cracking on the heater in your room or equipping your bed with an electric blanket, these simple rubber bottles will keep your feet warm the whole night through. And they only use as much electricity as it takes to put the kettle on. Wrap a woollen cover around your hot water bottle if you like to rest it directly on your feet.
While you can enact some of these tips yourself, others require a bit of professional help. As an experienced handyman and building service provider, Hire A Tradesman is here to give you a hand, assigning one of our fully qualified, time served, friendly tradesmen to your project to get the job done. Get in touch with the team at Hire A Tradesman to find a skilled, reliable and affordable local tradie in your area today.