Heat your home efficiently

Close-up of rows of burning gas jets in a heater

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Heating your home efficiently will save energy and cost less to run. The key is to use your system so that it doesn’t work harder than it needs to and avoid losing heat.

Making changes to heat your home more efficiently can:

  • lower your heating costs by up to 40%
  • create consistent comfortable temperature in your home
  • lower your greenhouse gas emissions.

Use your system efficiently

Only heat the areas you’re using

Assess which areas of your home need to be heated. You may be heating rooms that aren’t used, or don’t need to be warm.

If you have a room heater limit which spaces you’re heating by closing doors or use the zoning capability of a central heating system.

Set your thermostat efficiently

In living areas, set your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C. Every degree higher can increase your heating costs by around 15%.

Your thermostat should be in living areas where you spend most of your time. Protect your thermostat from draughts and heat sources, like direct light, so that it accurately records the temperature. Don’t place your thermostat on an external wall.

Dress according to the weather conditions outside. If it’s cold, wear a jumper indoors.

Only use your system when you need it

Turn your heater off while you're out of the house or overnight.

The exception is in-slab electric systems, which have a slow response time. Since these systems are running constantly in the heating season, lower the thermostat to 18°C to reduce your running costs.

Many new heating systems come with a built-in programmable timer, which allows you to turn your heater on and off automatically.

Timers can be purchased for plug-in electric heaters, but make sure the timer is suitable for the rated power consumption of the heater.

To reduce standby power, turn off your entire heating system when you go on holidays and during summer. This is different depending on your system.

  • If you have a gas heater, turn off the pilot light, if it has one.
  • If you have plug-in heaters, turn off them off at the switch
  • If you have an air conditioner, turn off the circuit breaker in the switchboard.

Keep outlets and return air grilles clear

Ducted heating systems have floor or ceiling mounted:

  • outlets which blow hot air into rooms
  • return air grilles which suck in the air to be reheated in a central heating unit.

Make sure you don’t block off the pathway between the heating outlets and the return air grille.

Keep curtains and furniture clear of outlets and the return air grille, so air is free to flow.

You can purchase air deflectors for your ducted heating systems. These can be placed on top of the floor vents to deflect the heated air away from windows and under furniture. Some floor vents have in-built deflectors.

Depending on your system, it’ll have its own airflow requirements you need to be aware of. Look through your heater’s operating manual, or our page about different types of heating systems >.

Install ceiling fans to distribute heat

Reversible ceiling fans can redistribute the hot air which builds up near high ceilings. During summer, they push air down to provide a cooling breeze. But when reversed in winter, they pull air up from ground level, mix it with the warmer air at ceiling level and push it down the sides of the walls.

Learn how to use ceiling fans efficiently >

Clean air filters regularly

Clean the heating system filters regularly to keep your system working efficiently. These are located in the return air grille of ducted systems and inside the body of an air conditioner. Read through the heater’s operating manual for instructions on cleaning the filter pads.

Service your heater regularly

Have your heating system serviced regularly according to manufacturer's instructions.

Gas heating systems should be serviced at least every two years. Include a check on the carbon monoxide levels when the heater is operating.

Read Energy Safe Victoria’s guide to heating your home with gas.

If you have an older ducted heating system, have your ductwork checked when the heater is serviced. Ductwork can develop holes and splits, connections can become loose and animals can crush them, significantly reducing the efficiency of the system.

Minimise heat loss in your home

Insulation

Insulating your ceiling, walls and floor will help prevent the heat generated by your heater from escaping. It’s the most effective way to improve the energy performance and comfort of your home.

If your ceiling isn’t insulated, you should really consider getting it insulated. If there is easy access to your roof space, it will be straightforward to have insulation installed and saves a lot of money in the long run.

Compared to a non-insulated home, a fully insulated home, can save 40–50% in heating costs.

Read about insulating your home >

Draught proofing

Draught proofing your home helps to prevent warm air from escaping in winter and hot air getting in during summer. This saves you money on heating and cooling your home, and makes your home more comfortable.

Self-adhesive draught seal tape, draught arrestors or draught snakes are an inexpensive way to draught proof your external doors. Seal small cracks and gaps with a caulking gun, and larger gaps with expanding foam.

Un-flued or open flued gas heaters require some ventilation to operate safely. You should not seal any fixed vents that are required for this. It’s important to have a qualified gas fitter check the carbon monoxide levels to make sure that the heating is operating safely after any draught-proofing.

If you have this type of heating it is important that you understand how to operate it safely.

Read Energy Safe Victoria’s guide to heating your home with gas.

Read about draught proofing your home >

Window coverings

When your heater is running, close curtains and blinds to reduce heat loss through your windows. That is, as long as there isn’t any winter sunshine coming through them, helping warm up your home.

Close-fitting, heavy curtains with a box pelmet will significantly reduce the amount of heat loss through windows during winter months.

Read about ways to reduce losing through windows >

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