Heating and cooling for households

It’s not always easy to keep buildings warmer in winter and cooler in summer, without relying on expensive to run heating and cooling systems. Here are our top tips on how to do just that, as well as how to keep the running costs of such systems down.

The main way to keep any building’s inside temperature inside is by improving what is called the building envelope. This refers to the insulation properties of a building, which covers all external walls, floor, ceiling, windows and any gaps in these.

We recommend ensuring your home has sufficient insulation. Visit our insulation advice page here.

It is also important to reduce draughts and gaps in your home. Read more about draught proofing here.

It is also worth considering your windows. Check out this story we featured about windows in our news pages.

When you do need to use heating and cooling here are our top  tips for heating and keeping your home warm when the temperature drops outside!

  1. Insulate, insulate, insulate! We go on about this because it just makes sense. Sufficiently insulating your home can save around 65% on heating and cooling costs. Ceiling, walls and under-floor are worth looking at and insulating wherever possible. If you’re not sure whether or not your draught proofing and insulation are sufficient you can get a detailed assessment done at a discounted rate through our carefully selected draught proofing and insulation supplier. Sign up here
  2. Seal draughts! Check for cracks and gaps around windows, doors, plumbing, heating units and ducted systems. In some older homes all the gaps can add up to a metre cubed! So it’s well worth filling those gaps or getting a professional to come in and do it for you.
  3. Use your thermostat. Set it to between 18°C and 20°C; every degree higher can increase your bill by up to 10%. If you have central heating, the thermostat should be positioned in the living area, where you spend most of your time. Protect the thermostat from draughts, heating outlets or direct sunlight, so that its able to read the room temperature accurately
  4. Use a timer. A timer can turn your heater on and off automatically, such as 20 minutes before you wake up in the morning. Leaving heaters on overnight can cost a small fortune.
  5. Turn it off. Going out for the day? Turn your heating off. It’s significantly cheaper to turn it off and on again when you return, than to leave it running
  6. Zone your home. Minimise the area being heated, by closing doors to rooms that aren’t being used. Doubling the size of the area being heated, can double the cost. Many central heating systems can be zoned by closing vents or turning off parts of the system. Make sure you know how to use yours effectively
  7. Reverse your fan. Reversible ceiling fans are a great way to circulate warm air that’s built up near the ceiling, and only cost 1-2 cents an hour to run
  8. Curtains to heat loss! Keep the heat in at night by insulating the windows with heavy curtains. When coupled with pelmets curtains are even more effective, as they stop airflow behind the curtain, which would otherwise draw the hot air up to behind the curtain as it rises
  9. Maintain your heater. To ensure your heating is running efficiently and safely, it’s important to service it regularly. Visit the Energy Safe Victoria website for more information on safely maintaining your heater
  10. Use your existing reverse cycle air conditioner as a heaterrecent research shows that this could save you hundreds, compared to using gas central heating.

Hints and tips on ways to keep you warm this Winter!

Hugging is a a good way to keep warm in winter! Here are some other great tips on ways to beat the cold without increasing your bills or your carbon footprint:

Here are some top tips on keeping your (and your building’s) warm in the cooler months.

  1. Heat moderately – Generally having your thermostat set to 18-20 degrees Celsius should be comfortable. If the weather has suddenly got cold you may feel the cold more because your body has not adjusted to cooler temperatures but once winter has set in (and as long as you dress appropriately) try turning the temperature down.
  2. Draught proof: check around windows, doors and plumbing pipes (think in the back of the cupboard under the sink) for holes or gaps. You can seal these with custom made products, like weather proof strips or lagging, or (for filling holes and small gaps) expanding foam or calking is a simple solution. Gaps in your home can account for 15-25% of winter heating loss, so it is definitely worth addressing them! For more visit our website here.
  3. Only heat the space you are occupying – if you have central heating think about zoning it, so that you don’t heat the whole house all of the time. Some systems come with zoning options, that allow you to only heat the bedrooms just before you go to bed and in the morning, rather than all the time.
  4. Dress your windows! Windows can account for up to 40% of a home’s heating being lost, so it is worth looking at ways to prevent this. Double glazing is a great option but can be very expensive, there are a few cheaper and easier options: depending on the type of window you have you can purchase a plastic film that acts like double glazing. We have spoken to people that swear by simply sticking bubble wrap on the glass (with sticky dots). If these aren’t practical options for you then good old fashioned curtains can also make a huge difference. Pair them up with a pelmet, to stop cold air flowing back into the room from behind the curtain and they’ll be even more effective.
  5. Insulate your house – Remember that ceiling insulation is like a beanie and you wouldn’t go out with a beanie and no coat! So insulating your walls and under the floor if possible is well worth considering. Good insulation will not only keep the warmth in during winter but it will keep the heat out in summer. In fact, a super insulated, 10 Star rated home will not need any heating or cooling systems! For more visit here.
  6. Insulate your hot water pipes. Although this may not make the house warmer it will save you money in winter by helping the water stay warmer while it sits in the pipe. This will also mean you don’t have to stand on the cold tile floor waiting for the hot water to run in to the tap from the storage tank! It will also prevents wasting water!
  1. Here is an interesting article, which highlights the energy inefficiencies of most of Australia’s housing stock, describing them as ‘glorified tents’.