The cost of winter is coming

by Money101 // in news

We can all feel it in the air: winter is right around the corner. That means cold days and even colder nights. And colder months means the extra cost of keeping our homes heated. Heating can be a huge expense on the household budget and, like most other things, its cost has increased over the past few years.

So what are some ways we can ease the cost of heating, without having to go without completely?

Shop around for a better deal: this tip is given for just about every high cost or budgeting article, but have you ever tried it yourself? A quick look on a comparison site – try to use one provided by your state government first – will let you know if you’re on the best deal you can be. If you already are, consider finding a provider who provides monthly bills instead of quarterly. You may not save money by doing this, but you will be smoothing the cost into smaller chunks. If you find one month your bill is bit high, you will get a bit of an idea as to what the following month’s bill may be, and you can actively try and test ways to lower costs.

Turn off your appliances: appliances can still use power even when you aren’t using them. Turn off your kettles, toasters and any other occasional appliance off at the wall outlet when you’re not using them. This one isn’t just for the winter months either!

Lower the temp: an ideal temperature for heating your home with ducted heating or a reverse cycle system is between 18 and 20 degrees. Every degree higher than this could add around 5-10% to your overall energy consumption, potentially more if you’re using gas.

Try to avoid the cheapest fix: a cheap little plug-in heater might sound like the easiest solution, but if you’re not careful in your research they can chew through energy usage, and they can be dangerous (especially if left on unattended). It’s a good idea to do your research and compare energy consumption, the size of the area you’re heating as well as price to find what would work best for you. Generally, the most efficient plug-in heaters are the oil filled ones.

If you have a wood heater: the cost of using a wood heater is mostly free. If you’re not using the fan, the unit isn’t using power. The real cost when it comes to your wallet is keeping yourself well-stocked with firewood. Keep an eye out online in places like Facebook Marketplace for free wood. A lot of people who cut down trees leave the pieces outside their house for free for anyone to pick up. Some building sites may also advertise free wood scraps (old house framing wood is a great find and burns well).

Check the best time to use the big power users: things like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers can use a lot of power. Energy companies typically have peak period times, times of the day where energy consumption is higher, and can charge more during these times. Trying to use these appliances during off-peak times could save on energy usage. It might take a bit of research to find our energy company’s peak times, but if you’re not sure, you can always give them a call. And in the case of the washing machine, always try to run cold water cycles where possible.

Take a look at your globes: winter means darkness, so we may use more lights than we would in the summer. Taking a look at the type of globes you’re using around the house. LED globes are generally the most energy efficient type, so if you’re not using them, you may some a bit of money by switching. LED globes can cost a little more to buy, but their efficiency and longer lifespan will make up for it.

There are a host of other tips and tricks for reducing your energy usage this winder out there. You can search online or even talk to family and friends to find them.

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General non-advice disclaimer

The information contained in this article is of a general nature, is provided for education purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. It has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial circumstances or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the information as it relates to you. You may wish to consult an adviser before you make any decisions relating to your financial affairs.

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