Even if winter doesn't seem like it lasts that long, the power bills will always pop up to remind you what time of year it is. As the thermostats go down and the heater settings go up, Melburnians are going to get more and more conscious of their electricity and gas costs.
And why wouldn't they? The latest Consumer Price Index from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) saw gas and household fuel costs go up 3 per cent in a single quarter. The cost of living keeps on edging up, but that doesn't mean your Melbourne real estate (or your bills) should suffer. Here are six easy ways to start saving that you might not have thought of!
1) Use your noodle
ABS data shows that about 12 per cent of Melbourne homes have a pool. And where there are pools, there are pool noodles! One creative way to use these foamy friends in winter is to wrap them up in spare sheets, and voila – you've got a door stop!
This can be useful for homes with intricate floor plans and lots of doorways, where owning dozens of doorstops might be too tedious. It's not for everyone, but we bet you hadn't thought of it!
2) Deck out your drapes
While you might have used light material for curtains in the summer, as it gets colder it's time to break out the big guns. Fleece curtains, or ones made of other heavy materials, will be great for trapping heat in your home, meaning you don't have to turn up the heating too much.
3) Moths to a flame
Do you have an open fireplace but never use it?
Do you have an open fireplace but never use it? Whether you're renting in Melbourne or own the house yourself, it's time to get to work. Make sure it gets professionally cleaned out before you do it, but from there a one-off purchase of the right firewood could keep your lounge warm all winter – no heaters required!
If you don't use your fireplace, then you might want to cover off the chimney. It could be a big source of heat loss.
4) Rug up
There's nothing more comforting than throwing on a rug and cosying up on the couch with the heater or fire blaring, but do you give your floors the same treatment? Without an insulated floor, you might be losing heat. Using large rugs on hardwood floors or linoleum can save you in the long run.
5) Timing is everything
If your heating devices have a thermostat, make the most of it. Use the timing mechanisms to heat up your home during the afternoon or early evening, before peak energy hours hit. That way, if you combine the heating with some great preservation techniques, you can avoid paying peak charges all while enjoying a comfortable home.
6) Get cooking
If you're more inclined to order something off Menulog than make dinner yourself, switching up these habits could have flow-on effects for your home's temperature. Depending on your floor plan, using the oven or stove early in the evening might generate a decent amount of heat that can stick around.
Provided you've done your Masterchef practice, you should end up with some warming smells in your dining and living areas for the rest of the night too.
If you're desperate to keep power bills down in your Melbourne home, you don't need to despair. Take a look around your house, identify where the heat is escaping and use some of these tips and tricks to stay on top of it. With a bit of DIY ethos and smart control of air flow, you'll find yourself less reliant on more expensive heating methods in no time!