It’s springtime - a good time to get organised and get things in order! Although the weather is warming up, we're still having cooler nights and mornings - improving the heating efficiency of your home is never a wasted exercise. Reduce your next energy bill (and beyond) by putting in some work now.
How to save on energy bills by improving your home’s heating & cooling efficiency
It’s probably no surprise that one of the biggest users of energy in your home is likely to be heating and cooling, at around 40% of household energy use. Furthermore, many Australian homes were historically not designed to cope with cooler climate conditions. Soaring power bills are seeing many renters forego the heater and instead live in conditions that don’t even meet World Health Organisation standards.
If you’re building a new home, the best thing you can do is employ ‘passive design’, where the design and build of your home accounts for your local climate and takes the lion’s share of heating and cooling responsibilities. This means you’ll need less (or no) appliances using energy in order to cool and/ or heat your home.
If you’re buying a new appliance, one of the most important considerations is the size of your home (or space) and requirements of the appliance. If you buy an appliance that’s too big, for example, it will produce more energy than required and you’ll pay for wasted heating and/ or cooling. On the other end of the spectrum, an appliance that’s too small will have to ‘work harder’ meaning it uses more energy than necessary - again, costing you more.
Find out what appliances can be run on solar power.
The most energy-efficient appliance for heating is the reverse cycle air conditioner, which is a type of heat pump. This system absorbs outside heat and distributes it inside (in winter), and absorbs indoor heat before releasing it outside (in summer).
Another basic tip is to always ensure you set the temperature appropriately, because every degree of extra heating or cooling can increase energy consumption by 5-10%. Set thermostats to 18-20 degrees celsius in winter and 25-27 in summer.
Want to do more? Turn your home into a battery for heat. This means your home stores energy in the form of heat, ready to be used when needed.
Not sure how to make your home into a battery? Read on!
How to make your home into a battery for heat
When you think of an everyday battery and how it works, you probably think of stored energy that’s ready and waiting to be drawn on. We’re using this analogy to explore how you can make the most of your home’s capacity to store heat.
By trapping warm air in, and keeping cool air out, you’re well on the way to staying warm in winter and the early stages of spring. For example, by optimising your home’s insulation, sealing drafts with door snakes and new door/ window seals, and opening blinds during the day to allow the sunshine in, you maximise your home’s natural heat storage capacity.
By storing heat in your home, you also minimise the need to use energy-hungry heating. When the sun goes down and the outside air cools, the heat stored inside your home from the day’s warmth will go a long way (particularly when those gaps are sealed). If and when you do turn on the heater, it will be less intensive (and therefore more budget-friendly).
Even better, when you electrify everything and install a solar + battery solution, the sun’s magnificent rays are maximised because you’re using them during the day, and storing the excess in your battery to use when the sun goes down.
Not sure what to look for in a solar battery? Read our article on the Best Solar Battery Storage in Australia 2022.
How does solar help?
As we alluded to above, solar energy can be captured and stored in your very own battery. So when you require heating during those cool mornings and evenings (after your naturally stored heating has been depleted) you can run your chosen heating appliance from your solar battery. In this example, it’s important that your heater runs on electricity - because that’s how solar energy is used!
When you install a solar + battery solution, make a plan to gradually electrify everything (such as heaters, stovetops and hot water) in order to get the most from your new system.
Inspired to learn more about installing a solar + battery solution at your place and saving on energy bills this spring? Chat with a switched-on Plico team member on 1300 175 426 or fill out the contact form below.