Better energy

How to reduce energy usage this winter

Staying warm

There are many simple, commonsense ways to spend less on your energy bills this winter. Here are our suggestions for cutting costs and reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s face it, most of us watch our bills escalate in winter but we see it as a necessary evil – we need to keep warm after all. Heaters, electric blankets and long, hot showers all guzzle energy. But there’s no need to accept bigger bills as inevitable.

Understand what you’re paying for

Revisit your energy plan and understand what you’re paying for. You can then aim to reduce your usage. Is it time to compare energy companies and find a better deal? Take a look at our online estimation tool.

Staying warm without turning up the heat

As the weather cools, don’t simply reach for the heating dial, think of other ways to stay warm and make your home more energy efficient. Tips include:
  • Instead of turning up the heat, wear warmer clothes, snuggle under a blanket, or use a heat pack or hot water bottle to keep really warm. Use warmer bedding as well.
  • If possible, don’t leave heating on overnight.
  • Ensure there are no draughts (a door snake will usually fix this) and seal windows and doors if they need it. Good insulation works wonders too.
  • Close the doors to rooms you’re not using – particularly bathrooms and laundries that tend to be cooler.
  • Make sure your curtains are open on sunny days to harness the natural heat of the sun.
  • Cover floors with rugs to keep the heat in.
  • Make sure the central heating thermostat is set to the appropriate temperature.

Target the main culprits

Take a look around your house and think about where most of the energy is used. Areas you may need to focus on include:
  • Hot water system: The type of system you have can affect your bill. Solar hot water systems are more expensive to buy but can supply 50 to 90 per cent of your hot water needs. You may even be eligible for a rebate if you install one.
  • Heating: From central heating to slab, gas and electric heating, there are many ways to stay warm. When you do need to turn on the heat, only heat the rooms you’re using and don’t turn it up too high. If you need to use small electric fan heaters, turn them off as soon as you don’t need them. Do some research, especially if your heating system is outdated, to make sure you have the most energy-efficient option available. If you can’t update, investigate ways to make your current system operate more efficiently.

What else can you do?

  • Check to see if you can switch your hot water system to an off-peak tariff. The water will then be heated at the cheapest time of day and stored until you need it.
  • Get rid of any appliances that use too much energy and switch things off when you don’t need them.
  • Before you buy any new appliances, always check their energy efficiency rating.
Set yourself a goal this winter and see if you can make a real difference by reducing your winter bill. The cooler months are a good time to assess your energy consumption. Try our free online calculator to determine the best energy plan for you.