With winter coming, you may have started thinking about how to keep your home warm as the temperatures begin to drop. The majority of household energy consumption goes towards heating or cooling the home, which means that people are always looking for ways to save money and increase their home’s energy efficiency by keeping their house warmer without turning up the thermostat.
On average, people like their homes to be 21 degrees Celsius, year-round. This is also the recommended temperature a house be kept at to prevent people from getting too cold. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to set your thermostat to this temperature–many people enjoy a cooler home! However, if you enjoy a warmer home but are feeling the financial effects of turning up the heat, you will need to get creative.
By finding ways to keep your house warm during the winter months without turning up the thermostat, you will be able to keep your energy costs down, save money, and still stay comfortable.
Here are seven ways to keep your house warm during the colder months:
Use the right curtains
During the day, you should keep your curtains open on any window that gets direct sunlight, but at night when you close your curtains to keep in the heat, make sure you’re using the right curtains to keep that heat locked in.
Thermal curtains use heavier materials like cotton or polyester with a layer of acrylic foam between the two layers of material to act as an insulating barrier. They look like any set of regular curtains and are still aesthetically pleasing, while serving to dampen sound, function as blackout curtains, and reduce energy bills.
Install a secondary, energy efficient heat source
Non-ducted gas heating is the most common source of home heating in Australia. When there are days in the shoulder season where you don’t want to turn on your full home-heating system, consider installing a secondary heat source like a free-standing wood heater. Many Australians use a heater for 3 to 6 months out of the year, so this won’t go to waste. See here for a variety of wood heaters that are attractive and effective.
Increase your insulation
Most of our home’s heat is lost through the roof. It is the one location in people’s home that is chronically under insulated. To increase your home’s insulation, install an extra 25 cm of insulation in your home’s attic to see a substantial increase in your home’s insulation capabilities. Topping up your attic’s insulation is as simple as laying extra batting on top of your existing batting, and making sure that it all fits snug between in the joists. If you can swing it, you should have a look inside your walls as well. While not as cheap as fiberglass insulation, blown in insulation will dramatically increase your home insulation value, and drop your heating and cooling bills.
Insulate your hot water tank
Having your water heater in a professional insulating blanket will help keep your water warmer for longer, hence reducing your energy costs. If your hot water tank is aging or isn’t as energy efficient anymore, consider installing a new one. A cheaper way to do this is to lease them from home heating companies and pay a monthly fee to the company. Leasing your water heater also means that the company that owns it will often maintain and repair the water heater with no extra cost to you. Once the lease term is up, you will own the water heater and will most likely get a few more good years out of it before you need to replace it.
Move furniture away from radiators
While it might feel cozy to have your favorite chair beside your heater, it’s terrible for your heating costs. Furniture, curtains, and rugs that are right beside heating sources can absorb precious heat and make your home colder overall. Instead, move your furniture away from heating sources so that the hot air can circulate freely. When it comes to your curtains, try to make sure that your curtains end above the radiator and don’t fall on top of the radiator to cover it. This would mean that the heat rises inside the curtain and does not move into the room. Instead, have your curtains hemmed so that they stop about two inches above your radiators. This may not be an ideal style for many people since many homes put radiators directly in front of windows. However, it will save you money.
Use a learning thermostat
Most thermostats rely on you to set the temperature in your home. This means that when you get up in the morning or come home for the day, you may have to deal with some overall chilliness as you wait for the heat to kick on and warm up your home. A programmable thermostat will let you set specific temperatures for specific times of the day, which can help save you money. However, these thermostats can be unnecessarily complicated, which prevents many people from programming them correctly.
A learning thermostat can help you save money by ‘learning’ your heating patterns and automatically modifying the time that the heat turns on and off and by how much. You can also use a thermostat that you can access through your phone so that you can turn your heat up or down on days when your schedule changes.
Turn down the thermostat by 1 degree
You may be surprised to learn that turning your thermostat down by only 1 degree can cut your heating bill 1 and 3%. This can immediately save you money, but some people will notice a difference in the heat if you drop it too much. This is often caused more by drafts, which move the warm air around and make you feel cooler. This brings us back to our earlier suggestion of increasing your insulation, which will stop the feelings of drafts and keep you comfortable, even at a lower temperature. So set your dial back just a little, and you’ll be surprised by how much money you save, and how little difference it will make to your home’s overall warmth.