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Save money and be comfortable this winter!

As sustainability advisor for Healesville CoRE I thought I would take this opportunity to help our community save money and live more comfortable this winter.

Most Australian homes were not built to conserve energy. Historically Australia has had low energy cost and mild weather patterns. This lead to house construction that did not pay too much attention to efficiency.

Here are my 11ways to help you out this winter!

1. Fix the drafts. Use a candle or incense to find where cold air is entering your house. Check doors, windows, around skirting boards, old vents including evaporative coolers, man hole covers, down lights  and any other places where air may infiltrate your home. Seal these up!!! Hardware stores have many way to seal gaps, ask for their assistance. 

2. Review your energy provider. Use the Victorian government energy website to review your current energy provider.

Use this link.

Beware of other web search links that take you to commercial compare sites.

3. Install an Energy Monitoring Devise. Most energy providers will offer a energy monitor free of charge. (eg PowerPal) Check your bill and see how your usage compares with the average 2,3,4 person household. If it is high, find where you are using the extra energy.

4. Install a WELS 5 star shower head. WELS showers use less than 6 litres per minute Some older showers can use up to 30 litres per minute This means you are using a lot more hot water, and that water must use energy to reheat. (free from Vic Gov.)

4. Check for unnecessary energy usage. Unplug the old fridge or freezer in the garage. It was inefficient when you replaced it and it still is! Upgrade you TV CRT and plasma TVs are energy hogs. Turn off pool pumps and spa heater.

5. Use timers. Any lights or fans, especially in bathrooms can be fitted with timers that turns them off after a certain time. The light maybe LED but exhaust fans use a lot of power. 

6. Install non return air flaps to all exhaust fans

7. Limit use of heat lights in bath rooms they use a lot of power and most of the heat is drawn up through the fan into the ceiling

8. Change lights to LED. Change any light you have not changed by now to LED

9. Use Reversible fans. Use the reverse feature on most ceiling fans. ( it is a switch on the body of the fan) This reverses the direction of the fan, used on a very slow setting. This pushes the hot air in the ceiling down the walls and back into the living space. raising the temp up to 6 to 10 degrees, allowing you to more efficiently use your heating method.

10. Use or Install curtains, blinds and pelmets. A lot of heat loss is via the windows. Even double/triple glazed windows loss heat. Installing and using curtains with pelmets eliminates a lot of the warm air you have created from being cooled and taxing your heater more.

11. Use the Most efficient heating device. If you have multiple heating sources, pick the one that is the most efficient. A 2000W electric space heater is a lot less efficient that a 5000 W reverses cycle air-conditioner. That is because a reverses cycle air-conditioner only uses 1500W to create 5000W of heat and heats the entire room rather than the small area around you. Personal warmers a very efficient. Electric blankets and towel warmers use very little energy.

This advice will not cost you very much but make a huge difference in your bill and comfort!