# Consumer organisation Choices shares the tips and tricks to heat your home cheaply this winter

Now that temperatures around Australia have dropped significantly and winter is well and truly here, thousands are feeling the pinch as they seek to insulate their homes in a cost-effective way.

But there is help at hand, thanks to Choice.

The consumer organisation recently took a look at how you can heat your home, without breaking the bank.

From turning down your heating by one degree to save ten per cent on bills to making sure your home is draught-proof, here FEMAIL takes a look at their top five tips and tricks – as well as revealing which type of heater suits which type of property.

The consumer organisation Choice recently took a look at how you can heat your home, without breaking the bank (stock image)

From turning down your heating by one degree to save ten per cent on bills to making sure your home is draught-proof, FEMAIL takes a look at their top five tips and tricks (stock image)

Choice firstly explained that your heating type is likely to fall into one of three camps: electric heaters, gas heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners.

Each of these types suits a different sort of home, and depends on several factors.

Electric heaters

‘Electric heaters are usually portable, cheaper to buy, and a good option if you’re not using them in large spaces or for long periods,’ a Choice spokesperson said.

‘They are good for heating small spaces, or individual people.’

### Small room (10-20 square metres)

Small gas (1.5kW) = \$212.50 running cost per 500 hours.

Portable electric heater (2.4kW) = \$312.50 running cost per 500 hours.

Small reverse-cycle air con (3.5kW) = \$113.83 running cost per 500 hours.

### Medium room (35 square metres)

Medium gas (3.5kW) = \$300 running cost per 500 hours.

Medium reverse-cycle air con (6.0kW) = \$226.07 running cost per 500 hours.

Based on using the heater for six hours a day over 12 weeks in winter.

‘Don’t heat rooms to tropical temperatures; for example, try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Each degree less will save about 10 per cent on your energy use,’ Choice said (stock image)

### Large room (60 square metres)

Large gas (7kW) = \$412.50 running cost per 500 hours.

Large reverse-cycle air con (8.5kW) = \$335.50 running cost per 500 hours.

Source: Choice

Gas heaters

If your home is slightly bigger, Choice explain, you might want to think about a gas heater.

‘A gas heater can be very efficient and good value for money, and some people prefer the feel of gas heating over electric heaters and air conditioners,’ they said.

‘If you’re going to leave a heater on all day, a gas heater may be cheaper than a portable electric heater for most homes.

‘However, average national gas prices have risen in recent years and solar power is making electricity much cheaper in many homes. So it’s not a given that gas heating is always cheaper than using electricity.’

This is likely the option for you if you’re looking to heat a ‘small to medium-sized space’.

If you intend to leave the heating on all day, the consumer organisation say this option may work out cheaper.

Reverse-cycle air conditioner

The last main option for heating is one that will be more expensive to buy than a ‘small electric heater, but very effective in terms of the power they use compared to the heat they generate’.

Choice explained that the reverse-cycle air conditioner option is ‘good for a larger space, like an open-plan living area’.

### The top five ways to keep energy bill costs down

1. ‘Don’t heat rooms to tropical temperatures; for example, try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Each degree less will save about 10 per cent on your energy use.’

2. Eliminate draughts whatever way possible, whether that’s by using draught excluders and door snakes or closing the door to any room you don’t need to heat.

3. ‘Insulate the ceiling. Ideally, walls and floors should also be insulated. Rugs can provide some useful insulation on a hard floor.’

4. ‘Remember hot air rises to the ceiling, so if you have a ceiling fan with a reverse-direction option, consider using it at a low speed to help circulate the hot air more evenly through the room without creating a downward breeze.’

5. ‘Refrain from using downlights in your house. Besides using a lot of energy, they penetrate the ceiling and insulation, causing heat loss. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are a good option for lighting.’

They explained that different types of heating suit different sizes and types of properties (stock image)

Tips for keeping costs down

Lastly, the consumer organisation shared the tips and tricks they say will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in energy bills.

‘Don’t heat rooms to tropical temperatures; for example, try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Each degree less will save about 10 per cent on your energy use.’

Similarly, they advocate eliminating draughts whatever way possible, whether that’s by using draught excluders and door snakes, or closing the door to any room you don’t need to heat.

‘Insulate the ceiling. Ideally, walls and floors should also be insulated. Rugs can provide some useful insulation on a hard floor,’ they said.

‘Remember hot air rises to the ceiling, so if you have a ceiling fan with a reverse-direction option, consider using it at a low speed to help circulate the hot air more evenly through the room without creating a downward breeze.’

Lastly, they said it’s a good idea to refrain from using downlights in the house:

‘Besides using a lot of energy, they penetrate the ceiling and insulation, causing heat loss. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are a good option for lighting.’