How to use your heating system efficiently

Using your heater efficiently can save you money.

Regardless of the type of heater you have, if you operate and maintain your heating system wisely, you can reduce your heating running costs and still be comfortable. You might even use the heater less, which will save you money on your energy bills.

What is energy efficient heating

Tips

Here are ten tips to ensure that you use your heating system efficiently:

  1. Dress for the weather. Wearing warmer clothing is free and will mean you can turn your heater down!
  2. Use the thermostat correctly. Set your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C for living areas. Every degree higher on your thermostat can increase your bill by up to 10%. Thermostats for central heating systems should be placed in living areas, where you spend most of your time. Ensure thermostats are protected from draughts, as well as heat sources such as heating outlets or direct sunlight. Thermostats should not be located on external walls.
  3. Don’t leave your heater running on low overnight or while you are out during the day. It is cheaper to turn the heater off while you are out or overnight while sleeping, and on again when you return or wake up in the morning (This isn't applicable to storage type heating such as in-slab systems that have a very slow response time).
  4. Install a timer or programmable thermostat to turn your heater on and off automatically, say 20–30 minutes before rising in the morning or getting home in the evening.
  5. Don’t forget to turn the entire system off completely if you are going away on holidays. Turn the pilot light off (if your system has one) over summer; this alone could save you money on energy bills.
  6. Minimise the area to be heated by closing doors to areas of your home that you are not using. Being able to close off different areas allows you to heat only those areas in use at any one time. Doubling the size of the heated area can double the heating cost! Open-plan homes without zoning mean that the whole house will be heated at once, regardless of which areas are being used – a costly and wasteful exercise. Install doors or other barriers between different areas of the home, e.g. between living and sleeping areas, informal and formal areas and in two-storey or split level homes. The ‘wet’ areas of your home, e.g. bathrooms and laundries, should also be a separate zone, as they are usually unheated and able to be well ventilated. If you have a ducted system check the system’s instruction manual to see how many ducts can be closed.
  7. Keep the heat in. Close curtains and blinds to keep the heat in when the heater is running. Heavy curtains and a box pelmet at the top of the curtains will stop the warmed air from escaping through the unprotected glass of the window.
  8. Maintain airflow – keep curtains and furniture clear of outlets and the return air grille so that they do not restrict the flow of air from the outlet and around the home.
  9. Reversible ceiling fans can be effective in redistributing heat that has built up near high ceilings, such as cathedral ceilings
  10. Maintain your heater
  • Ensure your ducting is free of air leaks, you don’t want to pay to heat your ceiling or under the floor
  • Make sure your ductwork is well-insulated (R1.0 to R1.5) if you have a central heating system
  • Clean air-filters regularly
  • Service all heaters according to the manufacturer’s instructions

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