Use your heating system efficiently

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

Regardless of the type of heater you have, if you operate and maintain your heating system wisely, you can reduce your heating costs and still be comfortable.

What is energy efficient heating

1. Dress for the weather

Wear warmer clothing and you'll be able to turn your heater down and stay comfortable.

2. Minimise the area to be heated

  • Minimise the area to be heated by closing doors to areas of your home you're not using – 'zoning' your home.
  • Think about installing doors or barriers in your home between living and sleeping areas.
  • If you have a ducted heating system, check the instruction manual to see how many ducts can be closed.

3. Use your thermostat correctly

  • Set your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C for living areas – every degree higher can increase your bill by up to 10%.
  • Place the thermostat for central heating systems in living areas where you spend most of your time.
  • Protect your thermostat from draughts and heat sources such as heating outlets and direct sunlight.
  • Do not place your thermostat on external walls.

4. Don't leave your heater running

It's far cheaper to turn your heater off while you're out or overnight while sleeping, and on again when you return or wake up in the morning. (Note: this isn't applicable to storage type heating such as in-slab systems that have a very slow response time).

5. Install a timer or programmable thermostat

A timer allows you to turn your heater on and off automatically, say 20–30 minutes before rising in the morning or getting home in the evening. For standard plug-in heaters, you can buy a simple timer from your local hardware store to do the same job.

6. Turn the system off when you go on holiday

  • Turn your entire heating system off completely when you go away on a holiday.
  • Turn the pilot light off (if your system has one) over summer; this alone could save you money on energy bills.

7. Keep the heat in

Close curtains and blinds to reduce heat loss through your windows 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. Insulate your home

Insulating the ceiling, walls and floors of your home creates a sealed envelope which acts like a thermos in winter, keeping the heat generated by your heater inside your home.

9. Draught-proof your home

Prevent loss of heat generated by your heating system by sealing gaps around doors and windows to draught-proof your home.

10. Maintain airflow

Keep curtains and furniture clear of outlets and the return air grille so they do not restrict the flow of air from the outlet around your home.

11. Consider reversible ceiling fans

Ceiling fans can be effective in redistributing heat that has built-up near high ceilings.

12. Maintain your heater

  • Avoid placing duct outlets near windows.
  • 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 (R value 1.0 to 1.5) if you have a central heating system.
  • Clean air filters regularly.
  • Service all heaters according to your manufacturer's instructions.