You know the feeling – keep on the bed socks, tie up the fleecy dressing gown, and start the day in the worst possible way by being greeted at the letterbox by your new power bill.
Just about any offensive four-letter word will capture the moment well when you take in that number after the $ sign.
And do you know what? Those energy costs are likely to continue to spiral in an upwards direction – and even faster than the rest of your ever-increasing costs of living.
But let’s not get into the politics of renewable energy, outdated coal-fired generators or rising wholesale market prices. Let’s just try to get your power bill down this winter.
If your bill is a lot bigger in winter, that’s completely normal – you’re just trying to stay warm. Your showers are longer, your heaters are blasting, you’re watching TV and checking the fridge rather than walking the dog, and your electric blanket is turned up to MAX.
But have you ever thought about winter-proofing your home? Ever wondered if you can stay cosy and comfortable on the dodgiest of winter days without cranking up your power?
Too many people look at that energy bill and think the only option is to shop around for a new retailer. But you can also shun the power point and take back control right now with easy-to-implement DIY tips and tricks.
Here are 5 of our favourites:
Close the gap
Remember how mum used to go on and on about the danger of ‘the draft’? She was talking about those little gaps and cracks that let the cold winter air in. And any cold air that’s getting in is just making your heater work harder.
So inspect your windows, doors, walls and even the foundation for any gaps and cracks – and seal them! A cheap tub of filler could save you a lot of money.
If your home doesn’t have insulation, winter is the perfect time to get smart about the benefits of getting someone in for a quote.
But it’s not just wall and ceiling insulation that we’re talking about. Insulation is just a barrier that keeps your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter – so simply by closing blinds, shutters and curtains in winter, you’ll also help keep the heat in. Carpet is another natural insulator, and can be a nice morning treat for your bare feet after a toasty night in your warm, cosy bed.
By the way, the Australian government’s YourHome website claims that 40 per cent of your home’s heat energy can be lost through the glass of your window – and it can be almost completely solved by double-glazing.
Be a smart heater user
If your heater has a thermostat setting, are you using it? Too many people answer ‘no’.
What they don’t realise is that by setting the heater to a modest temperature – let’s say 20 degrees – you may actually save money even if you leave it on a lot. Too many people come home to a freezing house and then have to use heaters on maximum power just to get the chill out of the air. But a thermostat will only do what it’s told to do, including turning itself off when the desired temperature is met.
Also, if you’re sitting in the lounge at night and there’s an adjoining (unused) room, close the door and give the heater a smaller task to do. And ask yourself this: Do you really need the heater on at all? Or would it be a lot cheaper to put on a jumper or watch TV with a blanket?
Call a tradie
Are you sure your hot water system and heaters are working efficiently? If not, the chilly weeks leading into winter are the best time to check.
Just like your car needs a service, so too do your heaters. If properly maintained, heaters will be more efficient and use less power – and work a whole lot better.
The same goes for your hot water system. Many people don’t realise they too need to be properly looked after in order to work efficiently throughout the year, and the heart of winter is definitely not the time to have it on the blink.
Think outside the box
If you think most of our tips are a little obvious, then you’re obviously ahead of the curve. But have you thought of these ‘out of the box’ ideas to save power in the winter?
Need your work clothes dry for the morning? Skip the energy-hungry dryer and put them in front of the heater while you’re watching TV in the evening. Finished roasting some vegetables in the oven? Leave the oven door open a bit to let the heat warm up your kitchen while the oven cools off. Are you a bit of a night owl? Consider using your dishwasher or washing machine in the ‘off peak’ energy tariff periods, which generally start around 10pm. Love a long winter shower? Fit a water-saving shower head and use less of that expensive heated water over a longer period of time.
Many people hate winter – not only because their toes go numb, but also because astronomical energy bills make their toes positively curl as well. But ’tis actually the season to be jolly, especially if you get smart about how you keep your home and family warm. Stay toasty!
Ready to learn about how to invest all of the money you’ll be saving from these tips? Learn how Clover works.