Boiled down, energy efficiency means that an appliance runs without using as much power as another appliance, therefore saving on electricity. The benefits of an energy efficient appliance span from being more environmentally sustainable to being easier on the back pocket, with plenty of room in between. With the harsh snap of winter well on its way, it’s about time to bust the heaters out of storage and begin the months-long process of feeling guilty every time it’s switched on. Luckily for you, we’re here to help you wrap your head around more energy efficient heating, so you can save yourself the headache.
Energy efficiency ratings
You’d be living under a rock if you’ve missed it, but some appliances come with energy or gas efficiency stars on them. Heating products such as electric and gas heaters may not be required to display their energy efficiency on them, but appliances such as some air conditioners do. It’s pretty straight forward – the more stars, the more energy efficient, and the more energy efficient, the cheaper it will be to run.
Energy efficient heaters
As a rule of thumb, gas heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners will be generally cheaper to run and more energy efficient than portable electric heaters. We’ve used a scenario in which a household pays 30c/kWh for their power, and 2.4c/MJ for gas on a single-rate tariff to calculate the cost of running a range of appliances over winter (three hours a day for 90 days).
|Heater type||Gas convection heater (22MJ)||Reverse-cycle air conditioner (5.0kW)||Tower heaters (2.2kW)||Radiant bar heaters (2.3kW)|
|Winter running cost||$143.10||$124.20||$178.20||$186.30|
General guide only
Keep in mind that it’s often the case that the cheaper appliances to run are the more costly ones upfront. That being said, a sturdy air conditioning system is probably going to outlive a cheap tower heater from a home goods store, so it’s a good idea to do your own calculations to work out what’s best for you.
Energy efficient heating tips
We’re not here to tell you to grab a blanket – we’re here to help you figure out how to heat your home in the most energy efficient way. Here are some tips you may find handy:
- Choose a heater with less power: In most cases, you’ll find a figure in watts (w) or kilowatts (kw) indicating how strong your machine is. Obviously, if you’re living somewhere particularly cold, a high-powered heater will be necessary, but for those in less harsh climates, a smaller, lower watt heater could be something to consider.
- Utilise the timer feature on your heater: Most standalone heaters and air cons will allow you to set periods of time in which your appliance will be operating without you having to turn it on. To avoid cranking your heater to full blast in the mornings, set your timer to 15 minutes before you wake up, turning off at about the time you’d be dressed. Same goes at night- set your timer to switch off the heating an hour or so before bed.
- Get the most out of the sun: In the middle of the day, when it’s warmest, take a second to open up any blinds and allow the natural heat of the sun to warm up your space rather than immediately going for the heater. Keep the air warm by avoiding having too many windows or doors left open.
- Make sure your appliances aren’t ancient: Old appliances rarely run as efficiently as new ones, so if you’ve had an oil column heater since before your kids were born, it may be time to switch it out for a less power-draining model.
Alternative heating solutions
There are many cases to make against standard heaters, and if you’re fed up with large winter power bills, then we don’t blame you for looking elsewhere. Here’s a list of alternative heating suggestions that may save you a pretty penny.
- Thick blankets
- Electric blankets
- Home insulation
- Hot water bottles
- Heated floor mats
- Thermal clothing
- Hand warmers
- Hot food/drinks
Will switching to energy efficient heating help me save money?
Whilst all signs point to yes, whether or not you save money will come down to your personal situation. There’s no point dropping cash on a new, more efficient heater if you’re going to use that as justification to crank it at all hours of the day. On that same note, even the most energy savvy household will have a hard time seeing savings if they’re on a power plan with high rates.
The size of your power bill is not as simple as what heater you own, it comes down to a combination of the factors mentioned above. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, and we’re here to help, so follow the banner below to compare energy deals, and visit our heater ratings to see what other people recommend.