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With the winter months in full force, every degree counts when it comes to heating your home. But keeping your space warm and energy bills down can be a challenge.
According to the Australian Energy Council, the average winter electricity bill can be $200 or more expensive than your summer bill, with heating the main culprit.
Speaking to news.com.au, Tamara DiMattina from the sustainability lifestyle pop-up The New Joneses has shared her top tips to live more sustainably while saving money at the same time.
From a cheap and cheerful $3 buy, to the home upgrade that will definitely guarantee you a return on investment, here are five savvy ways to keep your home cosy.
1. Tackle draught
If you use a heater or have an airconditioner, make sure it’s not escaping out the door.
“All of that heat you’re paying for is going to go rushing outside, and the cold is going to come rushing inside,” says Ms DiMattina.
The solution is “super simple”— like a $3 door snake from Bunnings that will trap the heat in your room, keeping it warmer for longer.
Ms Ms DiMattina says you can make your own too.
“You can get an old stocking and literally fill it with stuff (like rice) or small pebbles. You don’t need to buy stuff”.
2. Curtains can help reduce heat loss too
Similar to the heat that escapes through the cracks in your doors and windows, homes can also lose up to 40 per cent of their heat through a closed window pane, reports energy.gov.au. However, fear not because this can be efficiently solved by simply investing in a set of heavy curtains.
“Double glazing can be expensive but installing some thick curtains can also have a huge impact,” says Ms DeMattina.
“I want the natural light coming in during the day but I have my curtains closed at night and the darkness helps you sleep better too.
“Curtains are a really, really big deal.”
3. Double glazing on your windows
As Ms DeMattina notes, double glazing your windows is a considerable investment but it can reduce your heat loss or gain by 30 per cent. The process involves your windows getting replaced with two pieces of glass that are separated by an air gap of at least 12mm. The gap is then filled with gas and sealed, which acts as a break between the inside and outside panes of glass.
As someone who’s personally been through the process, Ms DeMattina says the price is worth the “massive difference” it has made.
4. Check your thermostat
When it comes to heating your home, 19 degrees is the perfect temperature to set your thermostat. Australian Energy Council estimates that every degree over 20 degrees can add a huge 10 per cent to your energy use, a figure that can add up quickly if you are someone who leaves your heating on for a long stretch of time.
However, for the ultimate energy bill saver, Ms DiMattina recommends the tried-and-tested trick of layering up your clothing.
“One of the cheapest things you can do is wear warm clothing,” she says. “I’m wearing thermals, I’ve got my ugg boots on and a beanie plus a puffer jacket.”
“I’d rather put that stuff on than waste money and turn on the heating. I’d rather have that money pay off my mortgage.”
5. Consider adding insulation
Investing in insulation is another way you can keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. While it’s best to add your insulation during your home’s construction, you can also add extra insulation to an existing home’s walls, roof and floors and it’s often a decision that can pay for itself within a few years.
“For some, it won’t be a hugely expensive process either and apart from the savings, it’ll also make your home much more comfortable too,” says Ms DiMattina.
“Think of it was your home maintaining its own temperature rather than you having to pay for heating or cooling.”
FAQs: Switching energy providers
When I switch energy provider, will I lose power during the change over?
As all the energy in your area is supplied from the same distributor, you will not lose power when you switch your energy provider. This means your retails just has to take over your account, which should come with no interruption to you.
What should I look for when comparing electricity plans?
To secure the best electricity deal for you, make sure to compare retailers. Here are some factors you might want to consider:
– What is the supply charge for each retailer?
– What is the green energy rating for each retailer?
– Are you prepared to be locked into a contract and, if so, for how long?
– What are the peak and off-peak rates for each retailer?
– What is your average household usage?
– Will you have to pay cancellation fees if you wish to change retailers again?
How long does it take to switch?
The switching process can happen in a matter of days. However, make sure you check as this will depend on the retailer you choose, so it is best to check.
Will it cost me anything to switch?
No. It doesn’t cost anything to switch but you may be stung with an exit fee depending on your current contract. Even if exit fees apply, they are usually quite low and should be much less than the savings made by switching.
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