Heating options for your home buying guide

How to keep your home warm this winter. Get unbiased advice and reviews on heaters and heating options.
 
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07.Heating tips

Reducing the amount of heating you use will save you money and give you a clearer environmental conscience. The following tips show you how you can save and still be comfortable.

Insulation

Family roomAn insulated ceiling should be a number one priority for every house owner (1).

Draughtproofing

Use a lighted candle around windows and doors to find draughty spots in your home. Fix draught stoppers on doors (2) (particularly on external doors), draughtproof your windows with insulation strips, and close off unused pet doors (3) and open fireplaces (4).

Windows

Single glass has an R-value of only 0.17, so windows are only a minor barrier to heat. Cover them during the night with heavy curtains or blinds to reduce heat losses (5). However, don't cover north-facing windows during the day, to take advantage of the winter sun.

Ventilation

The better insulated and draughtproofed your house is, the more important it is to have adequate ventilation. Otherwise the air can't be exchanged often enough. Pollutants (especially from unflued heaters) may accumulate and condensation can cause mould and mildew to grow.

Open some windows for a few minutes several times a day (cross-ventilate, if possible), rather than leaving a window partly open all the time you'll lose less heat that way.

Other tips

  • Close the doors between heated and unheated areas (6).
  • Don't heat the rooms to tropical temperatures. Heating them to only 20°C instead of 23°C probably means you'll have to wear a jumper (7), but it'll save a lot of energy. Each degree Celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use. Also, reduce temperatures at night. Use thermostats on your heater or for your ducted system to control temperatures (8).
  • Only heat the rooms you're actually using.
  • Hot air rises to the ceiling, so you may end up with cold feet. If you have one, a ceiling fan at low speed may help circulate the hot air more evenly throughout the room, particularly if you have high ceilings (9). See also our test of ceiling fans
  • Choose the cleanest available fuel and the right size of heater (see our heating calculator).
  • Check with your state energy information centre for more tips for example, on energy-saving passive solar design when building a new house or renovating an existing one.
 

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