Our energy bills escalate every winter as we keep ourselves warm and toasty. But this year, as most of us spend more time at home due to remote working, online studying and self-isolating, our energy consumption is likely to be higher than usual.
Turning the heater off may seem to be the first choice of action to save money, but is it possible to lower our energy bills this winter without freezing ourselves up in the process?
The answer is yes. Here are some things you can do to reduce your energy costs this winter.
Use a reverse-cycle split system
If you are looking to buy a new heater, consider getting a reverse-cycle split system air conditioner. These systems are generally cheaper to buy, install and run, compared to most gas ducted systems.
Also, as split systems come in individual units installed in individual rooms, you can choose to heat only the rooms you are using. This is unlike ducted heating systems, where the entire house will be heated even when you do not need it to be, resulting in wasted energy.
Some of the new split system models also come with energy efficient features. One such feature is the human presence sensor technology, which lets the system switch to energy-saving mode when no movement is detected for 20 minutes.
Lower the thermostat
No matter how cold you feel, resist the temptation to set the thermostat high. In winter, it is recommended that you set the heater thermostat to between 18–20°C. Every extra degree above that will add an extra 10% to your heating bill, so be sure not to overheat your room.
Remember to keep windows and doors closed to increase the efficiency of the heater, and to keep the heated air from flowing out to areas that you are not using.
Clean your heater
A dirty filter will slow down the unit’s heating capacity, reduce its efficiency, and increase your energy cost. According to Energy Star, filters should be cleaned or replaced at least once every month, especially if the air conditioner is used frequently.
Besides the filter, you should also give the internal louvres a good clean, and check the instruction manual for any other specific cleaning requirements. It is also worth cleaning the outdoor unit, and keeping the area clear of leaves, branches and bushes.
Check the windows
Windows can be a major source of heat loss in winter – up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost through the glass. One way to stop this is by using thick curtains that fit snugly on both sides of the window and at the top of the curtain.
It is suggested that you allow the sun in during the day, but remember to keep all curtains and blinds closed when the heating is on, especially at night.
You can also consider double glazing your windows, or installing pelmets to further reduce heat loss during winter (and heat gain in summer).
Seal gaps and insulate
Draughts (or air leakage) causes up to 25% of heat loss during winter, by allowing cold air into your house. Draught proofing your home will stop warm air from escaping, increase your heating efficiency, and save you money in the long run. To draught-proof your home, make sure you seal gaps around doors and windows if they need it.
Insulation is another very effective way to improve energy efficiency and lower your heating bills. Ideally, insulation should be installed in the ceiling, but it can also be installed in the floors and walls.
Other quick tips to lower your energy bills this winter
- Take shorter hot showers. Hot water accounts for almost up to a quarter of your power bill. Every extra minute spent in the shower will add to the bill. Keep this in mind before you use the shower to get warm.
- Switch appliances off when not in use. Appliances on standby mode are still using up power. By switching everything off, you can reduce as much as 10% of your power bills.
- Wear warmer clothes. When you have warmer clothing on, you won’t need to turn the heater temperature up, which means you get to save on energy use.
- Use LED bulbs. If you are still using halogen light bulbs, this is the best time to replace them with LEDs, which last longer and are cheaper to run.
For energy efficient air conditioning systems, get in touch with Total Electrics & Air Conditioning. We offer reverse cycle split systems that have high Energy Star Ratings and low running costs. Speak to us today to find out more!