Stay cosy by installing or upgrade your home’s insulation
You could cut your heating and cooling costs by up to 40% by insulating the ceiling in your home – even more if you include the walls and flooring. When choosing insulation, the most important factor to consider is the R – value, which measures a materials capacity to resist heat-flow. The greater the value, the better the insulation and the lower your power bill.
- Insulate ceilings - insulate ceilings to stop losing between 20 and 40 per cent of your heating. Top up existing ceiling insulation to gain additional performance.
- Insulate roofs - gain some winter thermal protection with reflective foil or foil backed building blankets.
- Insulate flooring - use reflective foil or batts under suspended floors to cut energy costs by a further 5 to 10 per cent. Using carpets across the entire floor can help too.
- Insulate walls - reduce power bills by another 5 to 10 per cent by insulating walls during recladding or replastering. Specialised products are available to insulate existing walls.
- Insulate hot water pipes - avoid heat being lost from a storage hot water system. Insulate externally exposed pipes leading from the water heater to the house as well as the water tank itself. Pipe insulation is cheap can be purchased from hardware stores.
- For more further advice check out the Australian Energy Foundation pages.
Install double glazing on your windows
Up to 40% of your home's heating energy in winter can leak out through windows or skylights. Double glazing on windows and skylights helps keep heat in or out and also reduces noise from outside. How well your double glazing will work can depend on how it is installed, what type of window frames you have, and the climate you live in. Source.
It's important that insulation is installed correctly to meet Australian Standards. Although some types can be sold as DIY, it is safer to have insulation installed by a reputable experienced installer. Installing insulation carries potential health and safety risks and may require expert knowledge and assistance. Some types of insulation require the use of specialised equipment, masks and protective clothing. Electrical and fire safety are particularly important considerations. Your installer should:
- Ensure that thermal insulation in roof spaces is clear of electrical fittings.
- Follow Australian New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3000:2007 Electrical Wiring Rules which provide guidance on the separation of electrical equipment and insulation materials. Electricians and insulation installers working in the roof space of your house must follow these guidelines.
- Ensure that you have covers installed on any downlights, to minimise any risk of the downlights coming into contact with your insulation.
Buy the right heater for you
On average 40% of the energy we use at home is for heating and cooling. This doesn't include heating hot water. For more information on how to select the best heater for you go to Australian Government and Smarter Choice, NSW Government
Reverse the direction of ceiling fans
Your ceiling fan can help distribute warm air through a room during the cooler months. If your fan has a reverse rotation function, use it to push the air in the right direction for heating. Source.
Seal draughts around windows and doors
Around one-third of home heating can escape through gaps and cracks, so draught proofing will not only make your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but it will also reduce your energy bill. And best of all, it’s one of the simplest and most affordable actions you can take.Look for visible obvious gaps around windows, skirting boards, door, skylights – anywhere there are joins. Feel for moving air, check for visible light or moving curtains, listen for rattles or whistling wind. Seal gaps around doors and windows with draught or weather strips. The most effective places to seal are around:
- External doors and windows - make doors to high-ventilation areas, such as bathrooms and laundries, a priority.
- Cracks or gaps in floors, walls, skirtings and ceilings - seal wall vents (but not if you are using non-flued gas heaters).
- Fireplaces- use a chimney damper when an open fireplace is not in use.
- Fans - install self-closing exhaust fans. For ceiling fans, obtain a cover that will seal it with shutters when not in use.
Install curtains and blinds
Snug-fitting curtains and blinds on windows can prevent heat loss or heat gain because they trap a layer of still air next to the window. Well-fitted window furnishings are a good way to deal with existing windows if double glazing is too expensive. Heavier fabrics and multiple layers of fabric with air gaps in between give the best thermal protection.
Install pelmets for your curtains
Install pelmets (cornice board) for curtains – these help keep your home warm by preventing the circulation of cold air currents around the cold window. Pelmets can be made of any material as long as it creates an air barrier.
Clever habits to stay cozy
Dress for the weather before resorting to heating
Wear your favourite jumper and woolly boots before using the heater. It’s a super easy way of saving energy, as turning up the heater could mean your bill goes up by 10% with every extra degree.
Only heat the room you’re in and keep doors and curtains closed
Even if the building you live in is very energy efficient, the way you live inside your home will have a big impact on your energy use and costs. The good news is that changing your habits is free! Open the curtains to the sun during the day to gain free heat then close them when the sun goes down. Make sure you keep the doors closed to trap the warmth. In winter 40% of your heat can escape when the curtains are open.
Don’t over-heat your house
Install thermometers in the main living areas to help keep the temperature at 18-19°C. It’s easier to operate your heater efficiently when you know what the temperature is. For every 1°C above 19°C your energy bill goes up by 10%! You can get a wall thermometer from a hardware store.