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Worried about coronavirus power bill shock? CHOICE experts offer their tips

The classic “door snake” still a cheap and effective tool.

With winter around the corner and most Australians hunkering down at home far more than they usually would, it's likely that power bills could be higher than usual. 

"This is going to be a tough winter for many Australians," says CHOICE consumer advocate Jonathan Brown. "Luckily, our experts at CHOICE have come up with a number of cheap and effective things you can do to keep your house warm and reduce your energy use over winter." 

1. Track down and seal draughts 

Draughts can easily get in through gaps around your doors and windows, so it's important to seal up as many as you can to keep your home nice and cosy. 

"The classic door snake can be a cheap and effective way to seal draughts in your home and keep the heat in," says Brown. "If you have some time on your hands, you can make it a fun craft project for the family." 

You can check out some door snake craft tips from CHOICE's very own Managing Editor Marg Rafferty here.

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 A very colourful door snake made by our Managing Editor, Marg Rafferty.

If you're not in a crafty mood, there are other products you can use to seal gaps in your home, including weather seal tape or draught strips. 

2. Make use of curtains and rugs

"Up to 40% of heating energy can be lost through your windows, so close those curtains!" says Brown. 

Rugs can also be an effective way to retain some of the heat in your home, particularly if you have hard floors.

3. Be smart with your heaters and fans

"Your fan can be one of the most helpful tools to keep you warm in winter. Most modern ceiling fans have a reverse switch that can be used to push heat back down towards the floor," says Brown. 

"If you have a portable heater, you can use your portable fan from summer to help circulate the heat around the room."

4. Be aware of how heat moves around your home 

This one is simple but effective. While it can be very tempting to move a chair right in front of the heater so you can feel extra toasty, this will actually restrict the flow of hot air around your home. To get the most out of your heat source, make sure nothing is blocking the flow. 

"It's also important to close doors to rooms you're not using while the heating is on. Only heating the rooms you're actually in will reduce your bill," says Brown. 

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Infogram available for embedding here: https://infogram.com/how-to-reduce-energy-bills-during-covid-19-1hxr4zqn5pq54yo?live

Media contact: Jonathan Brown, media@choice.com.au, 0430 172 669

For more information on how you can manage your bills during this time, we have advice on choice.com.au, which also covers: 

- Relief options currently being offered by utility providers
- Information on how to claim electricity expenses while working from home 

Video tips from CHOICE household expert Chris Barnes and door snake craft tips from CHOICE Managing Editor Marg Rafferty available via Dropbox: https://shwca.se/reducebillscovid19