As with all things sustainable, the first question to ask when it comes to using energy is - do I really need to? In the case of heating if you haven't topped up your insulation and sealed your doors and windows, then buying a new heater is like trying to fill up a bottle with a hole in the bottom. No matter how good your new heater, it can't compete with the elements without a little help and the harder it works the more it will cost you to run. So before you buy, make sure you try the following the tips:
Get the most from the sun - If you are renovating or building from scratch, paying attention to passive solar design it can greatly reduce your heating bills. In the winter when the sun is low in the sky, it's warming rays can get deep into your home through north-facing windows to heat it up for free.
Keep the heat in - Heat loss and drafts have a large impact on your comfort during the colder months. Having too much air escaping from your house (drafts) means you're losing the air you've paid to heat, as well as giving you unpleasant bursts of cold air from the outside coming in. Equally, inadequate insulation can mean your warm air is lost through the roof, walls and floor. A well insulated and sealed home costs less to heat and is much more comfortable.
Zone your home - Homes that have ducted heating often end up heating rooms that are infrequently used (like bedrooms) or that do not need to be warm (like the laundry). Zoning your heating system (by having less ducts or controls on these) can result in good savings on your bills. Also for those homes with a single space heater, zoning rooms by having sealed doors on the living room, laundry and bathroom, can increase your comfort and reduce your costs.
Dress for the weather - People report they are more comfortable, irrespective of the air temperature if their feet are warmer than their heads. Sometimes we turn up the heat because parts of us are cold. Why not get creative and keep your toes cosy with slippers, cuddle under a blanket on the couch at night and make a hot water bottle your new best friend?
Adjust that thermostat - Most types of heaters run most efficiently between 18-21 degrees centigrade. Rather than overheating your home, why not keep the thermostat down and use cheap forms of supplimentary heating where you need it (see below).
Choose the right heater for your needs - Heating and comfort are highly subjective with one person in a room shivering in layers of sweaters whilst another wearing only a t-shirt is begging for the thermostat to be turned down. In general people report being more comfortable with heating when one side of them is warmer than another and when the type of heating matches their activity. So for example if you are sitting still, radiant warmth from a fire or electric panel heater is often more comfortable than blown air. Equally a heated mat under your feet when you are working at a computer will keep you feeling toasty. To find out your comfort level, why not do some experimenting with different products in different settings? Notice where and when you feel warm and cosy and notice what type of heating is being used. Try before you buy so you know when you get it home that it will do the job you're paying for.
Staying Warm News
$700 rebate for gas heaters announced
The Victorian State Government has announced a $700 rebate on gas heaters available to concession card holders from July 4th 2011. Find out if you're eligible and let Refit n' Save help you find the right heater for your needs...Read more