How to Stay Warm and Cut Energy Bills This Winter
Author: Halcyon Dreams Date Posted:5 July 2022
Australia is a nation of extremes. Except in a few isolated pockets of paradise, we have a well-deserved reputation for the brutality of our summer and winter weather. Yet another extreme that adds to the challenge of achieving a comfortable indoor temperature is Australia's record high energy costs.
But don't stress out too much, because the article you're reading right now is loaded with tips to help you get nice and cosy while also potentially reducing your winter energy bills.
1. Layer up your clothing
When the cold sets in, the art of layering is one of the best ways to regulate your body temperature as you snuggle in for the night. The principle of layering is simple; it involves three layers that should be worn light-to-heavy and thin-to-thick. Follow this rule and you’ll ensure the most lightweight and breathable layers are closest to your skin, while the more heavy-duty pieces are on the outside and can be easily peeled away as your body temperature regulates.
You should have three basic layers;
Base Layer (thermal underwear, vest) – wicks sweat away from the skin
Middle Layer (bodysuit, slip, t-shirt, long sleeved cotton top, long johns) – preserves body heat
Outer Layer (fluffy pyjamas, robe) – protects you from any draughts coming into the room
Depending on how sensitive you are to the cold and the temperatures outside, you can wear as many layers as you like (do go easy, though, as you do want to be able to move freely in bed!). Top tip: choose materials that are super-soft, thermoregulating, breathable and lightweight.
2. Choose the right mattress.
It's also worth mentioning that your choice of mattress is important. Innerspring mattresses are not a great option, because the metal coils will be very efficient at storing cold from the air, giving you a chilly reception unless you take steps to mitigate the problem.
Latex mattresses have surprising thermal efficiency. They don't pull in cold air as readily as the previously mentioned types, and modern latex mattresses have air channels built into them to help prevent condensation and other unpleasant surprises.
And finally there are foam mattresses (both memory foam and the plain old regular kind). These definitely have better thermal efficiency than innerspring mattresses, but they can also potentially get too warm in the summer because they don't normally have those air channels that are built into latex mattresses.
3. Use a woollen underlay
Wool is an amazingly good insulator. Have you ever heard a sheep complaining about the cold? The woollen underlay will do exactly the same thing for your mattress as it does for the sheep – help to slow down the rate at which the inside parts get cold. The result? A warm bed when you hop in and a warm bed throughout the night!
As an added bonus, the woollen underlay will help you stay more comfortable in summer. It will help prevent you from getting too hot. It's a common mistake to remove the underlay in summer, because most people think it only provides warmth. Look for a reversible underlay so you can turn the wool side down in summer and enjoy the comfort without the additional heat.
4. Choose the highest quality bedding you can afford
Quilts and blankets are the backbone of warmth in winter; the ultimate shield between you and that cold air that's trying to get you. The golden rule with quilts and blankets is to choose natural materials over synthetics. This means blankets should be wool, or a blend of cotton and wool. Wool quilts are also the best choice. Choosing high quality bedding will save you money in the long run as it will reduce your energy costs on heating, electric blankets etc.
Natural is also the way to go with sheets and pillow cases. Linen and cotton are the best choices, as they'll give you a soft and luxurious texture. Synthetic materials should be avoided for many reasons, especially health and safety.
5. Warm up your bed before you get in
Electric blankets, hot water bottles, pets, and spouses (especially spouses!) all do a fantastic job of pre-warming a bed. It's fairly obvious that getting into a warm bed is going to be more pleasant than getting into a cold one. Any of these methods will work well, but if you opt for a hot water bottle (or two), don't forget to remove before going to sleep. Waking up with a cold water bottle is a nightmare. An energy saving tip for electric blanket use is to turn it on for 10-15 minutes before bed then turn it off just before you hop in.
6. Cover up your windows
Apart from enhancing your privacy, covering your windows will make a big difference in preventing heat loss from your home. Single-glazed windows are terribly inefficient. Double glazing is wonderful, but can be prohibitively expensive for those already struggling with high energy costs.
If you have shutters, use them. In any case, drapes, blinds, or curtains will help provide at least some shielding to reflect heat back into the room instead of it all being sucked straight out into the cold night air.
7. Detect and eliminate drafts
Moving air feels colder, so stopping drafts will help take away the chill factor. You can buy or make draft stoppers to put along the bottom of doors. You should also check for air leaks around window frames and seal any you find. It's also a good idea to make sure doors are closed for any rooms that are rarely used. There's no point paying to heat rooms that are usually empty.
Did we miss anything?
We hope you found our tips helpful, but if you have more tips of your own you'd like to share with our readers, feel free to use our comment form to let us know. You're also welcome to share this blog post with friends and family on social media if you think it will be helpful to them.