Tips on staying warm while saving money during winter

WHILE early morning temperatures have stated to rise following a cold snap earlier in the week, Ergon Energy is still urging its customers to think smart to keep warm and save money.

General Manager Service Delivery Central Steve Leighton said the lower temperatures earlier in the week certainly signalled the start of winter and while keeping warm in cold spells could be expensive, there were ways for customers to save on energy costs without sacrificing comfort.

"People are sometimes surprised at the jump in their energy bills over the cooler months," Mr Leighton said.

"But by using their energy sense and following simple tips such as closing curtains, checking for draughts, blocking gaps or cracks to stop heat loss and dressing to keep warm, they can make a huge difference."

Mr Leighton said installing the right type of insulation, especially in the ceiling, and weather stripping gaps on windows and doors could cut heating costs by up to 45%.

Customers should concentrate heating to a few frequently-used rooms, such as living rooms or kitchens, and spend time in those comfort spaces.

He said on sunny days, customers could save by turning off the heater, opening the curtains and letting the sun in.

Other smart winter ideas include:

  • Covering large glass windows with curtains, which can cut heat loss through windows by up to 70 per cent;
  • Washing clothes in cold water rather than hot wherever possible;
  • Switching off heating appliances when no one is home to save energy and for fire safety;
  • Using an old-fashioned door runner to reduce draughts and keep the heat in;
  • Lowering heater settings. For every degree in the 15 to 21 degree range that you lower the setting on your heater, you save about five per cent on heating costs.

Mr Leighton said that when it came to buying heaters, it was important to consider options before making a quick decision.

"Bar radiators are great for instant heat directed at concentrated areas, but may not be suited to heating entire rooms," he said.

"Heaters with thermostats need to match to the size of the area to be heated. If they are too small for the room, they will run constantly and cost you money.

"The heating cycle of reverse cycle air conditioners can cost about half as much to operate as radiators, fan heaters and oil-filled heaters.  Even on the coldest day, they work by drawing the heat from the outside air and transferring it inside."

Mr Leighton said another way to save money and power was to install energy-efficient light globes and showerheads instead of traditional fittings.

"Also, try to avoid the temptation of spending too much time in the shower, because hot water costs money," he said.

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