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Helpful ways to keep costs down while warming up this winter

30 June 2022

Helpful ways to keep costs down while warming up this winter

With Winter upon us and energy prices on the rise, here are a few simple but smart hacks which can easily transform your home into a cosy retreat and keep your power bill down.

Only heat areas you occupy and only when you need it

The average Australian household uses most its energy between heating and cooling (40%), appliances and equipment such as cooking and refrigeration (33%), water heating (21%) and lighting (6%). So, when it comes to heating your home and staying warm in winter, it’s all about achieving a fine balance between cost and comfort. It may seem simple enough but reducing the area you heat by closing doors to rooms or larger areas of your home that you’re not using can significantly reduce the amount of energy being used to warm you up.

And if you’re using central heating, it might be tempting to crank up the temp to tropical, but every degree of extra heat increases energy consumption by 5-10%. The general guidelines are to set the temperature at 18-20ºC in winter. Ideally, your central heating should be zoned, so you only heat those rooms you are spending time in. But if zoned central heating is not an option, you might be better off sticking with space heaters and layering up on your clothing.

Use your heater economically

The best way to limit your energy use is by setting a timer on your central heating. Set your heater on a timer so that it switches on 15 minutes before you wake up and switches off 15 minutes before you go to bed or leave the house.

Warm up with clothing

One of the most inexpensive ways to take the chill off is to layer up on clothing. Putting on a warm jumper and adding an extra layer of socks, paired with a hot water bottle, may be all you need to beat the winter blues.

Keep showers short

Since hot water usage accounts for around 21% of the average Australian’s energy bill, consider taking shorter showers. Yes, it can be tempting to heat up with a scorching hot wash, but if you reduce the length of time you take in the shower, it can result in big savings in the long run.

Rug up to cover up cold flooring

It’s no secret that carpet has the edge over hardwood floors in keeping your home snug and warm – especially in older houses.

If your home has hardwood floors, concrete floors, or tiles, rugs are an easy and cost-effective way to warm up in winter while keeping your toes toasty. You can place large or overlapping rugs in the living room and a soft area rug next to the bed for those freezing mornings.

Eliminate gaps and drafts

Doors and windows with cracks and large gaps are an open invitation for Jack Frost to creep into your home, but this problem can be easily fixed. Self-adhesive rubber strips can be bought from hardware stores for about $10, are an easy DIY task and will seal pesky window gaps. And when it comes to stopping drafts creeping in under doors, fitting door snakes under interior doors and installing storm-proof seals along the bottom of exterior doors can stop the freezing winter winds sneaking in.

Hold onto the heat

The cost to heat a well-insulated home is almost half that of an uninsulated home, translating to significant hip-pocket savings. And considering heat rises and up to 35% of heat can be lost through the ceiling, even a turbo-charged heating system is no good if all the heat is escaping through ceilings and walls. So, if a roof space is open and accessible, it’s usually a simple place to fill with insulation batts to help hold onto any heat.

Placing insulation in the walls of existing buildings can be a bit more complicated and may involve removing any plasterboard. Either way, it’s worth considering the extra costs of heat loss versus the long-term investment of hiring a qualified tradesperson to do the job right.

Block out the cold

Did you know a single pane of glass can suck out 10 times as much heat as an equivalent area of insulated wall? So, as you pull out your winter woollies, it’s worth also sparing a thought for how to dress your windows.

A huge help for holding in heat are drapes or blinds, but for best effect, they need to fit snugly at the top and sides to prevent warm air moving behind the fabric and cooling against the chilled glass. If this isn’t an option for you, simply keep your drapes, blinds or curtains closed to block out the cold as best you can.

Get prepared with the NRMA Insurance app

Our insurance data shows that more claims are lodged during the winter months due to house fires. By downloading the NRMA Insurance app, you can not only easily manage your policies, payments and claims in one place, but you can also earn rewards by completing preventative safety tasks around your home to avoid potential risks (like house fires) from happening in the first place. Plus, having the app on your phone means you can get support when you need it at the simple touch of your fingertips.

Download the NRMA Insurance app for iPhones here.

Download the NRMA Insurance app for Androids here.

To find out about NRMA Home Insurance, call us on 132 132 to get a quote or find us online 24/7 at nrma.com.au.

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Winter