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Insulation tips to keep the cold at bay this winter

Winter is here! But before you crank up the heating, and inadvertently watch your energy bill and eco footprint skyrocket, take note of these tips to efficiently keep the cold at bay this winter.

Insulation tips to keep the cold at bay this winter

09 June 2020

Winter is here! But before you crank up the heating, and inadvertently watch your energy bill and eco footprint skyrocket, take note of these tips to efficiently keep the cold at bay this winter.

It’ll come as no surprise to learn that during winter, households around Australia switch on their heating in an attempt to heat up their homes.

What might come as a shock, however, is that 40% of energy in the average Aussie home is spent on heating (and cooling).

What’s worse, 40% of heat can be lost through windows alone. So, try as you might to crank up the heater, it will never efficiently heat up your home if you haven’t paid any attention to ways to manage heat loss.

To ensure your home stays on the warmer (and more energy efficient) side of winter, we caught up with some people in the know, to find out their advice on how to keep the cold at bay this winter.

1.     Draft-proof your home

It’s been said that if you added up all of the cracks and gaps in the average Victorian home, it would be the equivalent of having a 1m x 1.5m window open – ALL of the time!

As well as window frames, you should check for any cracks around doors, walls and floors, too.

“Home energy ratings are becoming increasingly important and your doors and frames shouldn’t be an afterthought from a design and energy efficiency perspective,” says Athina Solomou from Corinthian Doors.

Alex Perz

Image: Alex Perz

“Drafts from around doors can account for a quarter of heating and cooling bills, so it’s worth spending the extra money on solid doors and frames which seal effectively.”

If you’re up for a little DIY, you can seal up cracks with a weather-stripping product and in some cases, a door snake at the bottom of the door could do the trick.

2.     Pay extra attention to windows

As mentioned up top, a lot of heat can be lost through windows, and it’s not just cracks that are the culprit. 

Sidekix Media  

Image: Sidekix Media

“Insulation is key to maintaining room temperatures, and a few small changes can help your home be more energy efficient and keep bills down,” says Jenny Brown from Luxaflex Window Fashions.

Jenny advises to think about how you can better insulate with heavy window furnishings.

3.     Monitor the temperature

If you’re really serious about saving the environment and not receiving a hefty energy bill at the end of winter, you need to get smart about monitoring the temperature at home. This means familiarising yourself with what the ideal temp is, and not being tempted to crank the heating up above this.

Graeme Ambrose, sustainability consultant and founder of Ecodecisions, says: “It’s hard to please everyone – but there is an ideal range. The recommended indoor temperature range during winter is between 18 and 21 degrees.”

Once you achieve these temps at home, if there’s someone still complaining, you should tell them to pop on a jumper or provide some extra-cosy blankets. This tactic could really pay off, money-wise. 

“It has been noted that for every one degree Celsius you decrease your thermostat when heating your home in winter, it has the potential to reduce energy consumption by 5 to 10%,” says Graeme.

He also advises: “Move the thermostat into the room you are using, like the family room. What’s the point of having the thermostat in a cold hallway? It just forces the central heating to work harder”.

4.     Close off rooms not in use

To keep the warmth where you want it and the cool, well, away from you, you should ensure you keep as many doors closed as possible. This will keep the heat in the rooms you want heated and stop cooler rooms from cooling down other areas in the home. Also, do not heat empty rooms!

5.     Cover your walls

You might be surprised to hear that walls are another big contributor to heat during winter. The good news is, you can add to the thermal mass of your home by getting creative with layering your walls.

Christy Cortijo

Image: Christy Cortijo

Consider how your decor can warm up a space too, for example throws on the couch, rugs underfoot and blinds to pull down when the sun sets.

“Not only do the layers add extra insulation, but it adds a feeling of intimacy and warmth to the room,” says Bethany James, founder of James Said.

You should consider larger frames and artwork, mirrors, wall panelling and perhaps even a big bookshelf.

6.     Let the sun in during the day

Lastly, take advantage of our free energy and heating source, the sun, when you can!

This means opening your blinds and curtains during the warmer times of day and letting the sun’s warmth wash into your home. Just don’t forget to shut the curtains as the sun sets and the temp drops again. 

Douglas sheppard  

Image: Douglas Sheppard

Originally published on ‘Insulation tips to keep the cold at bay this winter

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