04 July 2013

Can You Keep the Cost of Winter Utilities Down?

The convenience of central heating, instant gas heaters, reverse cycle air conditioning have conditioned us to rely on those appliances to keep warm. Dressing for the season and weather is a thing of the past.

In the olden days when I was a child, you know back in the 70s, we had an old briquette heater in the lounge room. That was it.  The doors were kept closed to keep the warmth in the lounge and kitchen, our living areas.

In winter we wore the appropriate clothing. Spencers or singlets, long sleeved shirts, jumpers, tights under our skirts or trousers, socks and slippers.

Our beds were warmed with hot water bottles, we slept in flannelette pajamas on flannelette sheets covered by nice, cosy, woollen blankets.

If we went outside to play we put on beanies, gloves, parkas and gum boots.

Yes, the bedrooms were cold. But we were plenty warm enough because Mum dressed us for the season.

Fast forward a few years to the 21st century. 

Today we turn the central heating on at 7am and off at 9am. It goes on again at 5pm and off about 9pm.

Everyone has slippers to wear in the house.

Everyone dresses for the season. If they are cold they put on another layer.

We open the north facing drapes and let the sunshine heat the house, as soon as the sun is off those windows I close the drapes to keep the warmth in. 

Doors to rooms we aren't using are kept closed.

There are door snakes on the front and back doors to stop draughts.

There are knee rugs on all the chairs and lounges to snuggle in if it is a little chilly.

There are clotheshorses over the heating vents in each bedroom and the washing is hung over them to dry rather than running the clothes dryer.

We have micro fleece sheets on our beds. They mean we don't need hot water bottles or electric blankets. I made them, much cheaper than trying to buy them.

Our beds have woollen blankets on them as well as feather and down doonas. Our beds are cosy and warm on even the coldest of nights (we had a couple of -5s last week, brrrr….).

Everyone knows to wash in cold water. But do you do just the one load of washing a day? I use lingerie bags so that I can wash colours, whites and darks together in the one load. It lets me get the washing done without having to do separate loads every day or stockpiling dirty laundry until there is enough to run a full load.

Keeping the cost of electricity and gas down is always a work in progress but there are always little things you can do that will trim a few cents off the cost of your utilities each day without being just plain stingy and miserable. Add them up over the billing period and the difference can be substantial, and there's nothing miserable about that.

So what do you do to keep your utility bills down during winter? Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all really trim those utility bills this winter.

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