5th Jun 2013

How to reduce your heating bill

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How to reduce your heating bill
Rachel Tyler Jones

Winter isn’t just coming, it’s here to stay for the next few months. This is traditionally the season when electricity bills skyrocket. Why not read these simple tips to reduce your heating bill this winter?

Prune your plants
How can gardening help your heating bill? No, this isn’t a way to warm you up over winter (although this is an added bonus). Pruning the shady plants which overshadow north, east and west-facing windows of your home can go a long way to letting the sunlight in, which is a great way to warm up your house. Pruning on the south side won’t help the sun to warm your home the natural way, but it will let in extra light, making a huge difference in a gloomy room.

Open the blinds
Pruning your plants won’t have much effect if the curtains are drawn. Open up the curtains and blinds on the north, east and west sides of your house during the day – it’s surprising how efficient the sun is at heating an otherwise chilly room.

Close the blinds
Now that you’ve got your house all warmed up during the day, you don’t want to let the heat out at night. Single pane glass is a great conductor of heat – it will let all that warmth out at night if you leave windows uncovered. Try some thicker curtains with pelmets – these are great at stopping the heat from escaping over the top of the curtain. You can always swap the thick curtains for something lighter when summer comes around again.



Use your ceiling fan
Did you know that your ceiling fan has a winter setting? There’s usually a small switch on the side, just above the blades. By putting it on the winter setting and then turning it on low, the fan will push all the hot air sitting on the ceiling down into the rest of the room – just don’t forget to change it back in summer.

Ditch the draughts
The simple version of this tip is simply to seal up any draughts in your house. You can usually buy door and window seals at your local hardware store. A more extreme approach is to seal off the rooms you aren’t using. The smaller the space you have to heat, the lower your heating bill is going to be. By sealing up rooms which you don’t use – for example a guest bedroom or formal dining room – you can drastically reduce your heating bill. Just remember to turn the heaters off in these rooms if you are lucky enough to have central heating.

Keep the temperature low
Your heating bill increases by approximately 10 per cent with every degree you increase your thermostat. Try leaving it at 21 degrees, instead of 22, and remember that most people are more comfortable sleeping in a cooler house, so turn the heating down or off overnight.

Go back to basics
Firewood isn’t cheap in the city, but if you have easy access to firewood – perhaps you know a builder, or live in an area where it’s easier to come by – why not install a slow-combustion stove? You don’t have to pay to run it, and they give off the most delicious heat – if you’re clever you can heat your whole house using nothing but a few logs per day.

 

Do you have any good tips for keeping your heating bill down? Share your thoughts in the comments below to help your fellow YOURLifeChoices members beat their bills.





COMMENTS

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moke
11th Jun 2013
4:02pm
Before turning on the heater be sure you are warmly clothed, it is surprising the temperature you can accept if dressed properly for cold weather. In the evening while watching TV etc Fleecy clothes and spencers both top and bottom, socks and slippers and perhaps a knee rug are all advantageous.
Zannamarie
11th Jun 2013
5:14pm
Yes Moke, snug clothes, warm body! Go to bed early and watch TV like "a bug in a rug"!{I'm sure bugs love TV!}
bluey
11th Jun 2013
11:22pm
hi as for wood heating i have just installed a wood pellet heater.best thing since sliced bread,there are a few pellets heaters around so check your heating stores.simple to use just drop a 15kg bag of pellets in hopper and start up exactly likea log heater but better.no messey ash to clean up,burns cleaner,less pollution excellent for you city people,so have a look at a pellet heater.bluey
Londoner
12th Jun 2013
7:26am
The design temperature for Central Heating in the UK is 65F (18C) for bedrooms and 70F (21C) for the rest of the house. Reducing either/both by 1C won't make any significant difference to comfort but, as Rachel has pointed out, will give you reduced bills.
It is a fact that heat rises and will also go to the coldest spot so sealing off rooms might be something to consider but I'm not convinced that reversing the air flow from a ceiling fan will make that much difference bearing in mind one has the cost of running the fan.

What will make a significant difference is to have a very well insulated ceiling/loft and to have the heating appliance either maintained or replaced if old (newer appliances are more economical to run). I do not think that oil filled radiators or any appliance that 'stores' heat is a good idea as one has no control over it.
Limiting the time Water Heaters are allowed to heat is a good idea (say connect to a timer) and having the water stored at a higher than necessary temperature will lead to waste as no matter how good the insulation is around the appliance the heat will still escape.
Using a cold fill only for the washing machine will work out cheaper than using a hot and cold fill. The reason being that the water in the hot pipework from the storage vessel to the washing machine is initially cold and will take a period to run hot - that cold water will still have to be heated with the cold supply that it has mixed with whilst the hot water in the storage vessel that has been replaced by cold water will need to be heated. Also the hot water in the pipework that hasn't been used will be a waste - I hope that all makes sense.
Keep windows and doors closed.
As pointed out above, wearing warm clothing and going to bed early with appropriate bedding seems like a good idea and don't forget there's nothing better, or pleasurable, than snuggling up with your partner!
cougar
12th Jun 2013
8:45am
Be careful with wood heaters, many states ie Tas, are 'encouraging' people to get rid of them and only use electricity, also different councils are doing the same. The pellet heater is, however a new one for me? Where did you get it, Bluey?

12th Jun 2013
9:55am
Just make weekly payments to your power supplier, then when the bill arrives you will either be in credit or have little to pay, be a step ahead. Electricity seems best too, as a pensioner I get $50 or so discount each quarter, a discount for being a customer, so my bill is mostly knocked back by up to $70 to begin with.
GO here for a calculator on cost http://www.electricity-usage.com/Electricity-Usage-Calculator.aspx
Good if you want to see how much an appliance can cost over a day, week, month etc. I worked out my fan heater, electric blanket etc and you get an idea. As to folks other ideas above...all things can help get you consumption down..... but as I said try paying some money each week or fortnight. Every family or person is different, I live alone so all I use is fan heater and I can afford to run it each day, no worries. I do not have every light in the place on either. Also I can use a kerosene heater, and covert it to burning metho by removing the wick assembly, draining the tank of Kero, cleaning it by a wash with metho, then pouring a litre or so of metho into the wick well and light it. Not cheap to burn but a bit of fun now and then, as it gives off a hot flame and looks nice as it burns. You can get metho or ethanol heaters, they can be expensive and in the end not viable as heaters as metho is not cheap, nor is kero these days, so unless you you can get a good supply of wood for a fire, electricity seems the way to go.
Jake
12th Jun 2013
10:50am
If you are going to use heavy curtains and pelmet make sure that they just touch the floor. This stops heat circulation across the face of the cold glass in the window. If you have a timber floor and enough room under the house, insulate against the underside of the floor boards between the joists with rigid insulation.

12th Jun 2013
11:22am
Move to Queensland
wally
12th Jun 2013
2:14pm
Or Darwin
ozerokky
12th Jun 2013
6:26pm
If youv'e ever changed a light bulb in the winter months ( a thing of the past with LED's and low voltage globes) and stood on a ladder with your head close to to the ceiling you would be amazed at how much hotter it is up there - so don't knock the old ceiling fan trick because it does make things more comfortable down at floor level.
PlanB
1st Jul 2013
11:58am
If you moved to Nth Queensland or Darwin--you would need to have the A/C on cool


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