Environment tips for your household and beyond, by Bernadette Thomas
As the temperature starts to drop, you may be preparing to watch your energy bills head skywards. And while we all need to keep warm during the winter months, there are ways to prepare your home to make sure you get the most out of the heat you generate. Whether you have solar panels on the roof, buy renewable energy from a GreenPower supplier, or use energy from burning fossil fuels, reducing the amount of energy used for heating makes environmental and economic sense.
Follow these simple steps to warm up your home this winter without warming up the planet.
Dress for success: if everyone in your family is walking around the house dressed like they are off to Bali for a holiday, then your home and its inhabitants are probably too hot. Socks, ugg boots, a dressing gown over pjs, and your favourite beanie can all help to keep the winter blues at bay, keeping you comfortable and not overheating humans or the house.
Insulate against the cold: one of the best ways to ensure your home stays warm in winter is to install insulation – in the ceiling, walls, and under-floor if you can. Properly insulating your home means the heat won’t be (literally) going through the roof, so it’s worth every cent. Insulation will save energy and money. If you are a renter, approach your landlord and offer to contribute to the cost.
Adjust the temperature: heat your room to about 20 degrees Celsius (if you have a thermostat on your heater this is easy, but if you don’t, just hang a thermometer in the living room). Combine this with your winter dressing and the whole family will be comfortable.
Seal up those gaps: there’s no use heating up the house only to have much of it (as much as 25%) escaping through gaps around windows, doors, chimneys, exhaust fans – anywhere there is a hole or you can see the light from outside. Use draught sealers, door seals, chimney balloons, or draught stoppers to close up the gaps and keep the warm air inside. There are a range of affordable products available from most hardware stores, and you can install them yourself – even if you rent. Using an old fashioned ‘snake’ on the inside of your doors is an additional and cheap option for keeping the heat inside the rooms you are heating.
Cover up: hanging heavy curtains (and installing pelmets if you are really keen) will help stop heat loss through your windows.
Don’t leave it too late to get started – the sooner you warm up, the more TV you can watch!