Winter warmer tips

Here are some tips to make your home warmer, save you money and reduce your environmental impact.

Heat your home efficiently

Around half our energy use in Tasmania is for heating. But this can be reduced by doing simple things such as fixing draughty windows, insulating your home and putting on warm socks. Typically, loss of heat from a building is up to 35% through the ceiling, up to 30% through the walls, and up to 15% through the floors, so insulation is well worth considering.

Sealing draughts is a good way to reduce heat loss. You can see where heat escapes from your home on a cool night by walking around the outside with the infrared radiometer from our Home Energy Audit Toolkit (HEAT).

You can also use an incense stick on a windy day to locate draughts inside the home, typically around windows, doors, pipes and vents. Once you know where heat is escaping, you can seal gaps and insulate surfaces better.

Water efficient showerheads and taps

More than 25% of the electricity used in the average Tasmanian home is for heating water. One of the best ways to reduce hot water use is by installing water efficient taps and showerheads (that use only 5 litres per minute).

You can also have shorter showers, use cold water to wash clothes, and use mixer taps in the cold water position when hot water is not needed.

Hot water cylinders

All hot water tanks are insulated, but in most cases the insulation can be improved. You can measure the surface temperature of your hot water tank with the infrared radiometer in the Home Energy Audit Toolkit and see where the tank is losing heat because of poor insulation. 

Adding extra insulation to your hot water cylinder could save you up to $200 per year in electricity use. You can also cut energy use by adjusting the thermostat on your tank to 60 oC (any lower than 50 oC and bacteria can grow in the tank).

Fridges and freezers

Many fridges use twice as much energy as needed. Fridges and freezers should be located in cool parts of the house and have a 3 to 5 cm gap at the rear and 2 to 3 cm at the sides. If the outside coils are clogged with dirt and dust, more energy is used, so unplug the fridge and give them a clean. Also consider turning off extra fridges and freezers when not in regular use.  

Your fridge temperature should be between 3 and 5 oC and your freezer between -15 and -18 oC. You can measure these with the Home Energy Audit Toolkit. Use the infrared thermometer to check for temperature differences around the door seals, these can easily be repaired if faulty.


LED lights use a tenth of the energy of the older technology halogen or incandescent bulbs, so will pay for themselves in just a few months. The City of Hobart has replaced 2300 light bulbs over the last few years, saving the equivalent of about 90 households worth of electricity consumption. You should also eliminate ceiling mounted down lights wherever possible, with the aim to have as few holes cut in your ceiling as possible.

Window coverings

Curtains and blinds will keep in heat at night and plastic film can be applied to windows, or plastic panels can be attached to windows as a second layer using a magnetic strip.

These do-it-yourself options are cheaper than new double glazed windows and have a faster payback period.

Standby power

Many appliances around your home will continue to use electricity, even when not in use. This is called standby energy consumption.

Often equipment on standby will be warm to the touch, have an indicator light (such as a camera charger) or a clock (such as a microwave or television). To understand how much energy is used by electrical items that use standby mode, you can use the Power-Mate in the Home Energy Audit Toolkit.

If several devices are used together, you can plug them into an accessible power-board and switch it off when not in use. 

Monitor your electricity use with a smart meter

Smart meters record your electricity use in real time, and while they won’t reduce your electricity bills themselves, they can be useful in changing your habits.

Smart meters can be placed where you can see them throughout the day and will show you how much electricity you are using at any one time (or hourly, weekly, etc.). They help you identify the effectiveness of electricity saving measures, or the impact of particular appliances on your bills.