Winter warmers: hot tips to heat your house for less

There’s condensation on the window. The grass is crispy with frost. Winter is setting in. For beach-loving Aussies, staying warm through the cooler months is a top priority.

Are you looking for efficient ways to heat your home during winter?

Since heating and cooling your house consumes 40 per cent of your home’s energy, it makes sense to heat your home efficiently, so you save money and the environment.

We understand the shock of receiving exorbitant power bills during winter, so we have put together a list of ideas to help boost your home savings and reduce expenditure on heating this winter.

Energy efficient heating

Passive heating

There’s no substitute for good design. If you have the opportunity to build or renovate your home, think about how to use design to your advantage.

Good design uses position and materials to warm or cool your house passively. Using passive energy principles means you will spend less on heating and cooling systems.

Simple passive heating principles, include:

  • making sure the north facing side of the house has plenty of exposed windows, to let the winter sun in
  • blocking all draughts
  • drawing curtains or blinds at night to retain heat
  • insulating walls and ceilings.

If you are moving into a ready-built house or apartment, improving passive heating design may not be an option. In this case, you may need to rely on heating equipment.

The equipment you select will depend on your house, and your lifestyle. Remember, the larger the area you are heating, the more energy you will use, and the more money you will spend. Keep heat contained by drawing curtains and blinds, and blocking all draughts, and if your equipment has a timer, use it as recommended. You might also consider putting on warm socks and a jumper before turning up the thermostat!

Convective heating versus radiant heat

Convective heating circulates warm air through the room, whereas radiant heaters direct heat. In a small, draughty space, a radiant heater works well. In a larger room, particularly one with high ceilings, convective heating is the best option.

Gas versus electrical heating

Electric portable heaters can be a good option for heating a small space at a specific time. They tend to be relatively cost effective, and last a long time.

Gas can be more energy efficient, and produces less emissions. This option may be better if you are leaving your heater on all day.

Not all regions are connected to gas. Regional areas tend to rely on buying gas bottles separately. Always check the safety recommendations, when using gas, and replace bottles as instructed.

Reverse cycle

A reverse-cycle heating and cooling system is often more expensive to purchase and install, but is a fairly efficient option in the long run. The system runs on a timer. To get the most out of your system, keep the room temperature relatively moderate. Reverse-cycle heaters tend to work well in larger, open plan spaces. The upside is that you can also use the system in summer, to keep your home cool.

Wood heating

Avoid wood heaters in urban areas, due to carbon pollution and energy spent transporting wood. If you do burn wood, use airtight, slow combustion heaters. Ensure the wood you burn is sustainably harvested and is not treated, to avoid toxic fumes.

Choosing effective heating systems wisely helps the environment. It also means you’ll have more money in your pocket to either put towards your first home deposit, your next home, or future  investment properties. If you are renovating or building, talk to your Mortgage Choice broker about options for funding an efficient heating system.