John Lennon famously sang ‘Power to the People’ in 1971. The late Beatle’s iconic song had nothing to do with electricity, of course, but power of that variety is very much a current (pardon the pun) issue.
In particular, the cost of power and how we can cut the cost of ours. Winter is no longer coming; it’s here. That means firing up heaters, electric blankets and whatever else is needed to keep you warm through the colder months. In turn, that means higher power and/or gas bills for most Australians, especially those in the southern parts.
In our current (financial) climate of high inflation and rising interest rates, that will add further pressure to family finances.
Power to the people’s pockets
So what can be done to ensure we stay warm in winter without hitting the hip pocket too hard? There are a number of things you can do straight away that can have a positive impact.
If, like many Australians, your windows are not double glazed, you’ll likely be losing a fair amount of heat through them. Simply shutting your blinds and curtains can make a big difference, though.
A thick, heavy curtain can do wonders in this regard. Even a makeshift one using blankets can do this job. It may not look particularly attractive, but it could save you a substantial amount in heating power costs. Perhaps even enough to put towards proper curtains for next winter!
Closing gaps around doors and windows also makes a big difference. On a cold, windy night, try putting an open hand at the edges and base of your doors. You might be surprised by the cold airflow hitting your palm. Even on near still nights that airflow can be felt.
Making changes so that you have a closer-fitting door might not be something easily done, but a door sausage/snake across the base can make a big difference. These are available for just a few dollars at your local variety and hardware stores. Even larger supermarkets will have these in stock.
Insulation makes a big difference. Consider that if you are a homeowner. If you’re a renter, you could ask your landlord to at least consider installing some.
Managing your heating appliances can help, too. If your heater has a timer, it’s probably worth learning how to use it. Used efficiently, it could cut power costs and even allow you to wake to a warm house on cold mornings.
What else can you do to cut heating costs?
So you’ve used all the known ‘hacks’ to keep the heat from escaping. That’ll save you some cash, but there potentially more ways to cut power costs. One of those is to compare your energy costs with those offered by other providers.
These days that’s a much easier task than it once was. There are a number of government and commercial online comparison sites that provide quick answers.
The federal government’s Energy Made Easy site provides a good starting point. Plug in your postcode and a few other simple details and you’ll have some comparisons within seconds. (Depending on your location you may be redirected to a state or territory website. Victorians will be sent to the Victorian Energy Compare site, for instance, but it is also easy to use.)
So before it gets any colder in your neck of the Australian woods, do a little energy audit. One each around the house and online and you’ll be all set for a warmer winter that costs you less.
Have you made preparations for winter at your place? Do you use online tools to compare your bills? Let us know in the comments section below.