Put a freeze on costs to keep warm

The Riverine Herald - Local Real Estate - - RIVERINE HERALD REAL ESTATE - BY GARY WOOD

With win­ter just weeks away, Charles L. King & Co First Na­tional Real Es­tate Prin­ci­pal, Gary Wood says there is a lot home­own­ers and ten­ants can do to keep en­ergy bills down when chilly weather starts to force them up­ward. “Just a few sim­ple changes to your home and your habits can make sure you and your fam­ily stay warm and cosy with­out cost­ing the earth,” Mr Wood said. “In win­ter, the typ­i­cal Aus­tralian house­hold con­sumes ap­prox­i­mately 2700 kWh of en­ergy, which is around 7 per cent more than in the warmer months. With ris­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with the Federal budget, we know fam­i­lies will be look­ing for ev­ery sav­ing they can make. “En­ergy con­ser­va­tion is a vi­tal en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue, which is one of the rea­sons power costs are es­ca­lat­ing, and it is bet­ter to tackle the nec­es­sary changes to life­styles now than when it is too late. “For ev­ery one de­gree tem­per­a­ture in­crease in win­ter, en­ergy use in­creases by 15 per cent, so it is wise to warm up to the idea of be­com­ing more en­ergy ef­fi­cient in the home.” Mr Wood said while many en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ac­tions should be taken through­out the year, it is dur­ing win­ter we should re­main dili­gent and fol­low a few additional guide­lines.

Turn down - Con­sider turn­ing down the ther­mo­stat on heaters by one or two de­grees – homes should be main­tained at tem­per­a­tures be­tween 18 and 21 de­grees. Ev­ery de­gree lower can de­crease heat­ing costs by up to 10 per cent. When heaters are on, close cur­tains and blinds to re­duce heat es­cap­ing and re­tain it in­side. Putting on warmer cloth­ing, like sweaters, can also lessen the re­liance on heaters as the main source for warmth.

Turn off - Light­ing po­ten­tially makes up around 10 per cent of house­hold en­ergy us­age. Avoid leav­ing un­nec­es­sary lights on and switch them off when no one is in the room. Out­door lights should use mo­tion sen­sors wher­ever pos­si­ble. Com­pact flu­o­res­cent lamps (CFL) use 80 per cent less en­ergy than in­can­des­cent bulbs and last around 10 times longer. Ap­pli­ances, such as com­put­ers and tele­vi­sions, should be turned off at the wall, if pos­si­ble. Standby power can ac­count for up to 10 per cent of to­tal power bills.

Seal up - In­spect for air leaks, com­monly found in places like door and win­dow frames, ducts, elec­tri­cal out­lets and re­cessed lights. Air leaks raise en­ergy bills by al­low­ing heat to es­cape out­side. In­stall draught seals and weather strip­ping around doors and win­dows and re­pair faulty seals – these sim­ple mea­sures will min­imise heat loss through gaps and leaks around the home.

In­su­late - In­su­la­tion helps re­tain heat dur­ing win­ter. At­tics, ceil­ings, walls, floors and base­ments are all ar­eas that ben­e­fit from in­su­la­tion. Up­grad­ing all ar­eas of the home to rec­om­mended in­su­la­tion lev­els can po­ten­tially save 5 to 25 per cent on heat­ing and cool­ing costs.

Be ef­fi­cient - Look at us­ing or in­stalling en­ergy ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances wher­ever pos­si­ble. Use ma­jor ap­pli­ances, such as wash­ing ma­chines, dish­wash­ers or dry­ers at bed-time and other low en­ergy use times of the day, and avoid us­ing them be­tween 4pm and 9pm – this is the op­ti­mal time to power down. Mr Wood said cut­ting back un­nec­es­sary en­ergy use is a sim­ple and easy way to keep hard-earned money in the pocket as well as re­duce the pres­sure on the en­vi­ron­ment. “It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion all round, so ev­ery­one should be tak­ing these sim­ple steps to con­serve en­ergy, re­duce waste and make a bet­ter car­bon-foot­print for the world to see.”

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