2 July 2014
Stay warm without cooking your bill this winter
Winter is a time when we all like to be warm and cozy indoors, but over-reliance on heaters can quickly burn through your budget.
The good news is that it's possible to save energy and money whilst still being comfortable this winter by making some simple adjustments.
Origin's Energy Expert, Anne Armansin says, “The most important things to focus on are when and how you choose to heat your home – whether you've pulled the curtains and plugged the draughty spaces; the heating systems you choose to use; how high you crank the thermostat setting and also whether you use programmable functions like timers.”
Choose heating systems wisely
- Air conditioners which have a reverse cycle option can be up to five times more efficient than electric heaters. You could save between $160 and $280 over winter depending on which state you live in1.
- Portable electric heaters chew through energy. Just a small unit running for seven hours a day over winter could cost you up to $350 dollars! Try a gas heater instead of an electric one and you could save an average of $2222.
- If you have ceiling fans, you can reverse the blade rotation direction to force warm air away from the ceiling and back to you. It's much cheaper to run a fan than a heater.
Set house rules
- Don't get into the habit of just switching the heater on when you're home, instead set some house rules regarding heater use. For example “At my house we only use the heater on days when the temperature hits 15°C or less”.
- Set your heating thermostats so they don't go higher than 20°C. Each degree of extra heating will increase your energy consumption by up to 10 per cent after that.
- This sounds like a no-brainer, and it should be; if you're out of the room for more than an hour turn the heaters off.
Heat yourself rather than a space
- Layer up when you're in the house
- Electric throw rugs use a maximum of 150 Watts and are great for when you're watching TV or working at your desk.
- Use electric blankets rather than heating bedrooms, they use much less energy.
- Do your homework first. Most new gas and electric duct units can either heat the whole house, part of the house or selected areas and most new heaters have thermostatic controls and timers you can programme which both cut back energy consumption.
- Older units without timer and thermostat functions are likely to cost at least 50% more to operate as their elements, compressors or burners run continuously while the units are on.
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- Based on a 3 star 2.5 kW reverse cycle air conditioner vs. a 2.4 kW portable heater both running at 70% capacity for 7 hrs on 90 cold days in VIC and SA; 80 cold days in NSW and 65 cold days in QLD, on domestic peak tariff.
- Based on a 2.4 kW heater (which may be very small in size) operating for 7 hours a day over 90 cold days in SA; 90 cold days in VIC; 80 cold days in NSW; and 65 cold days QLD.