This winter, buttoning up jackets shouldn’t be the only thing you do to keep you and your family cosy.
Guest Post – Kenneth Gordon, Factory Direct Blinds.
Kenneth Gordon serves as the Assistant VP of Factory Direct Blinds. Kenneth is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Factory Direct Blinds marketing and advertising initiatives. On the side, Kenneth enjoys spending time with his two sons and beautiful wife Brittany when he’s not working or writing.
As the mercury drops, these winter weather tips will make sure your home stays energy-efficient and lower your utility bill to boot. Read on for our seven favourite tricks for saving money and staying warm all winter long.
Dial down the heat
If you’re not at home, why keep your heat cranked up? In Australia, around 40% of home energy use goes on heating and/or cooling. For every degree you increase your heating and cooling at home, you increase energy use between 5 and 10%. Turn your heat down a few degrees while you’re out of the house, or only heat the rooms you’re using and you’ll keep more money in your bank account. This trick can work in the summer too!
Bonus tip: Many newer thermostats have programmable temperature setting capabilities. Check to see if yours allows you to program your home’s climate to suit your lifestyle.
Turn down your water heating
Water heating is the second largest segment of household energy use, ranging from 15-27%, depending on where you live in Australia. The recommended setting for most thermostats is 60°C for storage hot water systems and no more than 50°C for instantaneous systems. If you’re able to adjust your temperature settings, you’ll be able to increase and decrease the temperatures – but remember that higher temperatures can cause bad burns, especially for children and seniors.
Bonus tip: Looking to save a little more dough? After washing, dishwashers move into a warm air drying phase – a very intense energy process that can easily be skipped. Turn off the heat on your dishwasher’s drying cycle. It may take a little longer for your dishes to dry, but you’ll see the savings on your utility bills if you run it often.
Have a fireplace? Consider installing a fireplace door
While Jack Frost is busy glazing our window panes, there’s nothing we love more than a roaring fire in the fireplace. But what we don’t love, however, is leaving the flue open at night to let out residual heat and smoke. Heat can escape through your open flue, leaving your home chilly and wallet light! A fireplace door can put an end to that by creating an airtight barrier around your fireplace.
Bonus tip: Converting a traditional fireplace to gas is a cost-effective option and offer many benefits that are tough to ignore. A gas fireplace has a higher heat output as compared to a wood fireplace. Gas logs also create fewer pollutants when burned than logs do.
Brush up on your shade smarts
Make the most of Australia’s sunny winter days by keeping your window shades open during daylight hours to draw the greatest amount of warmth from sunlight. At night, close them up to keep heat from passing out through the glass.
Bonus tip: If you own the property, consider installing cellular shades (or cellular blinds), which feature a unique honeycomb cell shape. They’ll let you control the amount of light that comes into your home.
Cover your bases
We have a lot of love for hardwood floors and tile, but even the die-hard enthusiasts will likely admit they make for cold feet come winter. Temporary carpeting options like area rugs and hallway runners can make a world of difference underfoot. Rugs can take the chill out of the cold mornings and you make your way through the house – especially as your body is acclimatising to escaping the bed covers!
Bonus tip: Spray foam insulation is inexpensive and effective and can improve your home’s energy efficiency all year round. While you won’t be able to get inside your walls without doing some major demo work, you can easily add insulation in your attic, garage, basements and crawl spaces.
Flip your fans
Your ceiling fan doesn’t make the air warmer or cooler. What it does is keep the warm or cool air circulating. In the summer, fans draw warm air upwards. In the winter, you can do the reverse – pull warm air down into your room – by reversing the direction of your fan blades. This is easy to do. Most fans have a button near the motor that controls the direction the blades spin. Turn it off, grab a ladder and make the switch.
Bonus tip: Your extremities are the first body parts to get cold. To trick your body into feeling warmer for longer, keep your feet, hands and even head covered on colder days. Think socks, slippers, longer-sleeved shirts, jumpers and comfy hats.
Ditch those door drafts
Do you feel chilled to the bone every time you pass your front door? Why not do something about it. You can buy (or DIY) a door sweep that fits right into the crack at the bottom of your door, which should nix drafts for good! Need a quick fix? Roll up a towel or blanket and stuff it into the door space. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll do the trick.
Bonus tip: Ill-fitting windows can let cold air in, too. If replacements aren’t in the cards this year, consider some budget-friendly window treatments to help you block the chill. Alternatively, try using cling film that’s made to temporarily winterise windows.
To keep your utility bills low and your house warm and cosy all winter long, consider giving one (or all seven) of these tricks a try. We bet your wallet will be a little fatter in no time, without needing to wear your winter coat indoors! Not too shabby for a slew of ‘brr-illiant’ winter energy-saving tips!