Keeping warm this winter

Winter can be a wonderful time to indulge in warm drinks by the fire or curling up in the cool with a good book or film. In some parts of Australia this may mean open fires, or if you are lucky enough to be in warmer areas – this might just be the use of an occasional heater in those few weeks of the year where it is cold enough to warrant it. Heating a property – just as cooling it – costs money. But there are some things that you can do to minimise your costs:

– Try turning your thermostat down by just 1% – this could save 10% of your electricity charges.

Keep your heaters away from furniture so that the warm air can circulate freely.

Draft proof your doors and windows. There are many variations on the cute sausage dog draft protector. And – if you don’t have one of these – a simple rolled up towel will do just as well.

Use your curtains – keep your curtains open during the day when there is sunlight to help warm your home and shut them when the sun goes down to keep the warmth in the room.

– If you are lucky enough to have a timer on your heating system – use it. If you can time your device to come on 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – you can set the temperature a little lower and save yourself some money as this is more cost-effective than putting it on at a higher temperature when you need it.

Dress in layers – and if it gets really cold – reach for the beanie! You lose 40% of your body heat from your head.

Keep your feet warm – good soled slippers and bed socks work wonders.

Hot water bottles are a cheap and good alternative to electric blankets – or you might even heat up a wheat bag and pop that in your bed for an ever safer option. If you don’t have a wheat bag – try putting rice in a fleece and warm in the microwave. When you are heating a wheat bag in the microwave – put in glass of water in with it to keep the bag moist.

– Make use of the cold weather to make your favourite winter warmers for dinner. This will also help keep your kitchen warm and cosy.

– Humidifiers also help keep your home warmer as well as eliminating drying indoor air.

As much as your focus will be to keep warm – keeping safe is of paramount importance.
Here are a few things that you can discuss with your family to help keep you and your precious possessions safe:

Heating is a major cause of house fires and it is important to regularly check that your smoke alarms are clean and working as per your Tenancy Agreement.

Have an escape plan and make sure all the family practice it. Plan for multiple routes in case one of them is blocked. Nominate one person to go to a neighbour to sound the alert and to call Emergency 000.

Keep an eye on lit candles – never go to sleep with them burning and ensure that they are nowhere near anything flammable. Don’t overload electrical sockets or run cords under rugs.

Don’t place anything flammable such as cardboard boxes next to electrical appliances.

Keep a fire blanket in your kitchen and don’t leave your cooking unattended – particularly when cooking with oil.

– If you have an outdoor gas heater, make sure it is on a level surface and in a well ventilated area. Make sure it is clear of sunshades or umbrellas

Don’t overheat wheat bags or they can catch on fire.

Be wary of where you place portable heaters. Never have clothes or curtains less than one metre away.

Before using your electric blanket – make sure it is free of dust and check the cords to make sure they are not frayed or damaged.

Keep warm and safe this winter!

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