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Get your home ready for winter

There are lots of ways you can get your home ready for winter, reduce your energy bills and make your living spaces more comfortable to suit your personal preferences.

A woman dressed warmly for winter

©iStockphoto.com

Here are a few things you can do to save money and energy without spending a cent:

  • Take a look around your home to find areas where you can improve your energy efficiency and retain heat.
  • In cooler regions, set your heating thermostat to 18–20°C. Or in warmer climates, set your cooling to 25–27°C. For every degree you increase your heating and cooling you increase your energy use by around 5 to 10%.
  • Instead of turning the heater on or up, bring out your warmer clothing for use around the home. Pull on a jumper, a pair of socks and slippers; draw the curtains in the early evening to keep the days warmth in; and think about whether you need to heat the entire house.
  • Get into the habit of using appliances efficiently. No matter how obvious it seems, doing the basics like turning appliances off at the wall when they're not in use makes a difference as standby power can account for more than 10% of your household electricity use.
  • Clothes dryers are big energy users, so why not use clothes racks on verandahs, indoors in your already heated rooms, or outdoors while the good weather lasts?
  • If your use of electronic gadgetry is likely to increase in the winter months, our home entertainment and technology guide offers simple actions to suit a variety of budgets, lifestyles and technical know-how. Better understanding the energy use involved could act as a powerful incentive for changing your household's habits. For example, video game consoles are now among the biggest power users in the home. If left on 24 hours a day this could add up to a considerable portion of your energy costs—up to $193 a year.
  • Hot water accounts for a large chunk of your power bill, so avoid the habit of using the shower to get warm. Staying in the shower uses up to 20 times as much energy as hopping out under two heat lamps instead. 
  • Swapping short car trips for walking or cycling is a great way to balance out the shift to more food and cooked meals. It's good for the environment, good for your health, and a great way to get the most of the good weather while it lasts.

A home sustainability assessment can identify areas for improvement and savings that you may not have already thought of. In some states you may even be eligible for rebates and assistance with home assessments or eligible energy-saving items.

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