How to stay warm in winter and save

Getting your home winter-ready doesn’t have to be expensive. Simple actions can help you save.

Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, there are things you can do to keep warm and spend less on energy bills.

Here are some tips to help you prepare your home and stay warm for less this winter.

Use heating efficiently

  • Set your thermostat between 18 and 21 degrees for ideal energy efficiency and comfort. Every degree you lower the thermostat can reduce your heating bill by as much as 10%.
  • Only heat rooms you're using by closing internal doors and keeping windows closed when the heater is on. Remember unflued gas heaters require a window to be left slightly open for extra ventilation.
  • Remember to turn off heaters when you go out. If your heating system has a timer, set it to come on 30 minutes before you get up in the morning or get home.
  • Replace fan heaters as they can generate excessive air movement across your skin which can make you cold.

Did you know?

Homeowners with eligible concession cards can get up to $5,000 in rebates to help with the upfront cost of installing heating and cooling, rooftop solar, energy efficient appliances and ceiling insulation. Find out more about Home Energy Support Program rebates.

Watch your windows

A typical Canberra house loses 10-20% of heating through its windows in winter. Windows also let the sun’s radiant heat in to warm your home. You can make the most of your windows with a few simple actions:

  • If you have curtains or blinds, simply close them to keep the warmth in at night and open them during the day to let the sunlight in
  • If you don’t have window coverings, fit your windows with thermally backed curtains or energy-efficient blinds (such as honeycomb or roman blinds)
  • Install pelmets around curtain rods to stop air movement around windows
  • For windows that receive little or no direct sunlight, consider wrapping them in an insulating layer, such as bubble wrap, for the whole winter and
  • Clean your windows to let more sunlight in.

Eligible households may be able to get free window coverings along with other benefits as part of the Home Energy Efficiency Program.

Seal gaps

Warm air can escape through gaps and cracks around windows and doors. Draughts make you feel cold even when the air is warm. To keep the warm air in and the chill out, you can:

  • seal gaps around windows and doors with sealant using a caulking gun and
  • use door snakes or other draught stoppers.

Pensioner Concession Card holders may be eligible for free draught proofing from the Home Energy Efficiency Program.

Renters can get free draught-proofing tape through the Renters Home Energy program.

Get a better deal

Switching to a different energy plan could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Phone around or use the Australian Government’s comparison service, Energy Made Easy.

Your existing energy provider may be able to offer you a better deal to suit your lifestyle and energy use. They can also help you access financial support. Available supports include hardship payments, concessions, payment extensions and flexible payment options.

Check your insulation

Up to 35% of heat is lost through the ceiling in a poorly insulated home. Another 20% is lost through walls and up to 15% through the floor.

  • Improve your insulation if you can. Insulation helps climate control our homes, keeping us warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It can halve heating and cooling costs.
  • If you own your home, check that you have adequate insulation in your ceiling, walls and floors. If it doesn’t meet the minimum R5 value, consider having your insulation topped up.

If you’re a renter, ask your rental provider whether your home meets the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard for Rental Properties.

Homeowners may be eligible for a zero-interest loan to help with the up-front cost of ceiling insulation through the Sustainable Household Scheme.

Rental providers registered under the Affordable Community Housing Land Tax Exemption Scheme and eligible homeowners may be eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 when installing ceiling insulation through the Home Energy Support Program.

Switch to energy efficient electric heating

Efficient electric reverse-cycle air-conditioners are up to six times more efficient at heating than a gas system. They are much cheaper to run.

  • Create a plan to transition from gas to electric appliances with our free and easy-to-use tool. You’ll get advice on choosing efficient all-electric appliances and find support to switch off gas.
  • You may be able to access a no interest loan to install an energy efficient reverse cycle heater as part of the Sustainable Household Scheme.
  • Homeowners with an eligible concession card may be eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 to install reverse cycle heating through the Home Energy Support Program.
  • If you have a wood heater you can access a rebate to replace with an energy efficient reverse cycle heater through the Wood Heater Removal Program.
  • No matter what system you choose, remember to purchase a system with a high energy efficiency rating.

Get information and advice on how to check if you’re on the best energy plan for your needs.

Need help?

Don’t know where to start? These programs can help:

  • The Sustainable Home Advice service is your one stop shop to get information on how to reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. You can also learn about what ACT Government supports and rebates you may be eligible for.
  • Get a free in-home energy assessment from one of our energy experts. Learn the best actions you can take to make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy use and costs. Assessments are tailored for renters and homeowners.
  • The Home Energy Support Program can provide up to $5,000 in rebates to homeowners with an eligible concession card. It can help with upfront costs when installing rooftop solar, energy efficient appliances and ceiling insulation.
  • The Home Energy Efficiency Program can provide help with draught-proofing and window coverings. It also offers free expert advice on lowering your electricity, gas and water bills.
  • The Sustainable Household Scheme can provide zero-interest loans of up to $15,000. It supports the installation of energy-efficient electric appliances and solar systems. It can also help pay for electric cars and EV charging.
  • The ACT Government offers free workshops to help Canberran’s access detailed energy saving advice, tools and resources.
  • The ACT Government has partnered with electricity retailers to develop a utilities hardship fund. Customers who need financial support can receive $100 vouchers or rebates to help pay their electricity bills. Access this service by calling your provider.
  • Concession card holders can access the Utilities Concession through their energy supplier to help with energy bills. The concession includes up to $800 for the 2023-24 financial year. Access this service by calling your provider.

Discover more energy savings tips and advice for your household.

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.