With Winter just around the corner now is the time to ensure your home is adequately prepared to keep you and your family both comfortable and safe as the temperature falls, without doing too much damage to your hip pocket.

Safety first

Every winter we read about fires sweeping through homes as a result of a heater or fireplace. Many of these fires could have been avoided through proper maintenance. It is recommended to check heaters every two years. Contact the manufacturer of your heater or your gas company for approved inspectors and repairers. If there is a working fireplace in your home, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the landlord has the flue or chimney cleaned. We recommend the start of Winter if it is in use and/or as it requires.
You can make heaters run more effectively by cleaning them and keeping doors shut, but remember gas heaters require adequate ventilation to disburse fumes. Without adequate ventilation around a gas heater, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning – another potential danger during winter if safety instructions are not strictly adhered to. If you are planning to buy a gas heater this winter ensure it is professionally installed and properly maintained by a registered service agent or gas heating specialist.

General heater safety tips
  • Ensure you have adequate ventilation – never seal up doorways, windows or vents if you have gas heating thinking you will be saving on energy costs – ventilation allows fresh air to come in and toxic fumes to go out.
  • Don’t let young children or the elderly near a heater to prevent accidental clothing contact.
  • Check your smoke alarms and ensure the battery has been changed (we recommend changing the battery twice a year – when Day Light Saving starts and when it finishes). It is your landlord’s responsibility to have the home’s smoke alarm systems checked by a professional smoke alarm maintenance provider at least once a year.
  • Take care when drying clothes inside – ensure all garments are placed at least 1 metre from the heater and NEVER leave clothes drying by a heater overnight or while the home is unattended.
  • Never use an unflued gas heater in a small room or space like a bathroom, caravan or bedroom.
  • Never bring an outdoor appliance such as a barbecue or patio heater indoors for heating purposes.
  • Never store aerosols, solvents or pressure pack cans near a gas heater.
  • Never dispose of rubbish (even something as seemingly harmless as a tissue) in a gas fire.
Energy efficiency

Did you know that heating and cooling account for around 38% of the average household’s total energy consumption? With energy rate rises in the news again now is also the time to ensure the heating you have in your home is used as wisely as possible to keep the bills down as much as possible.

Here are some tips to ensure your heating is as energy efficient as possible:
  • While you should have adequate ventilation, you don’t want too much heat lost through windows and doors that don’t close properly. Go through the home and report any unsealed windows and doors or ceiling cracks.
  • Inverter air conditioning heaters are one of the most energy efficient forms of heating on the market as they don’t lose heating capacity based on external temperatures and can be set via a timer to come on just before you wake in the morning and get home from work.
  • Consider your décor – it’s amazing how much warmth you can add to a room in winter with the addition of cosy decorative elements such rugs, throws and extra cushions. Many people also like to change the doona on their beds to a winter weight one and add an extra blanket or two in winter.