Tips for keeping warm and saving energy this winter

WE'RE lucky in Coffs to have mild winters - and the predictions tell us there will be even fewer cold nights in coming years.

But many of us still feel the cold when the southerly is blowing, especially if we live in draughty or poorly insulated houses.

Many older homes were built in an era of cheap energy, so even if most of the hot air escaped immediately, it didn't seem to matter.

Back then, we were also less aware of the damage that emissions from burning coal and gas do to the atmosphere.

So how can we make our homes more comfortable and save on heating costs over the winter?

Draughts - don't overlook the humble door snake. Together with weather stripping on window and door frames, simply sealing gaps can make a massive difference to the thermal comfort of your home. It's cheap and easy, even if you are in rental housing.

Insulation improves the comfort of your home in both winter and summer. While most homes do have some ceiling insulation, often it is inadequate. Many homes would also benefit from wall or under-floor insulation. Check with a professional for best practice.

Covering windows with heavy drapes keeps warmth in at night (but open them to let the sun shine in during the day). Pelmets are box-like structures that sit over curtains, stopping circulation of air behind the drapes to reduce draughts. Double (or triple!) glazed windows are excellent.

Products are available to affix secondary glazing on existing internal window frames, to save replacing the entire window and frame.

Heating - if you do need to heat your home, consider the following points:

Heat pumps or split system reverse-cycle air conditioners are more efficient than other electric or gas heaters, but check the energy rating and choose carefully.

It costs $536 to run a 2400 watt bar heater for 8 hours a day for 90 days (price of 31c per kWh). Running the same heater for only one hour a day for same period costs just $67. So try an extra blanket, jumper or socks to minimise your heater use.

TAKING A STAND: The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group.

ENERGY TIPS

Coffs Coast Climate Action Group has a range of energy efficiency items to give away, including door snakes, weather stripping, door seals and thermometers.

You can see them at their stall at the Harbourside Markets on June 14 (tbc) or check the website coffsclimateaction. weebly.com.



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