A warm, welcoming home

MUM's RIGHT: Regardless of which home heating option you use - air conditioning, gas or wood fires or portable heaters - put on another jumper first.
MUM's RIGHT: Regardless of which home heating option you use - air conditioning, gas or wood fires or portable heaters - put on another jumper first.
ROARING: A log fire can keep your home warm for hours, but make sure the house is sealed properly so that valuable heat doesn't escape.

ROARING: A log fire can keep your home warm for hours, but make sure the house is sealed properly so that valuable heat doesn't escape.

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Despite enjoying a relatively mild autumn, there is little doubt that the harsh Western winter will soon be knocking on our doors and we’ll all be spending more time inside, so it is time to wrap our heads around how best to keep our homes warm and welcoming without experiencing bill shock or sending greenhouse emissions through the roof. 

CHOOSE WISELY: The higher the star rating is on reverse cycle air conditioning units, the more cost effectively the system will heat your space. Photos: iStock

CHOOSE WISELY: The higher the star rating is on reverse cycle air conditioning units, the more cost effectively the system will heat your space. Photos: iStock

Before you jump to bump up the heat on your air conditioning or gas or wood fire, there are some simple tips that every householder should adopt to keep the winter chill from the door:

Seal any draughts around doors or windows

Inexpensive draught stoppers, weather seals and window strips can be purchased from most hardware stores and only take moments to install. They effectively prevent cold air from sneaking in and hot air from escaping.

Use the sun’s rays

Let the winter sun warm your home and then seal it in by closing blinds and curtains at night. Where possible, as soon as the morning sun has some bite, open your blinds and curtains. But to maximise the warmth, ensure you close up again well before the sun goes down.

Cover up your windows

Make sure you have quality window coverings as heavy lined curtains or blinds can help insulate a room by trapping cold air behind them and allowing the warm air to circulate in the rest of the room.  

Only heat the rooms you are living in

Close off areas that are not being used, like the laundry, bedrooms, linen cupboards and bathrooms, so any heating devices are not working unnecessarily and you are not wasting money to keep empty rooms toasty warm.

Seal those cracks

Ensure that the heat you are pumping into your home is not leaking out through cracks in skirting boards and cornices and cold air is not seeping in.

Warm yourself before your home

Your mother was correct – the first thing we should all do to stay warm is put another jumper on and rug up. It is common sense to keep yourself warm before you turn up the heat in your home.

Singlettes, sox, slippers, long pants and jumpers should be mandatory before you stoke the fire and turn on the air conditioning.

Heated throw rugs are also relatively inexpensive to purchase (around $50-$90) and are a great, low cost heating option (around four cents an hour).

Following these tips can help keep you warm and comfortable, reduce energy bills and benefit the environment.

Using this advice also means that you will have to rely less on major home heating options, such as air conditioning, gas or wood fires or portable heaters.

Clever homeowners only use these options for brief periods early in the morning and just before bedtime to take the chill out of the air.