We all complain about the cost of electricity and gas. However, as winter draws on the impact of trying to keep warm means many people with a disability will have to go without, especially if they are at home all day.

It is unbelievable that more people die from the cold in Australia than in Sweden. Research from medical journal The Lancet revealed that the cold contributed to about 3.7% of deaths in Sweden compared to 6.7% in Australia. The constant exposure to low temperatures increases blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. 

Australian houses are designed to keep cool rather than warm (some homes aren’t good either way). The trouble is that if you are on a fixed pension it is difficult to find the extra money required to maintain a comfortable temperature during the winter months.

Listed below are some useful tips on how to reduce your energy bills:

l Use the sun for free heat, open the curtains on your north-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.

l Rug up, this is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on an extra layer. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add a rug to insulate the floor.

l Use ceiling fans to your advantage. Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. Ceiling fans can be used to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.

l Adjust the thermostat at night, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets or blanket.

l Only heat the rooms you use. If you have rooms that you never use close and seal off the vents to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of air to the rooms you use most. 

It’s an important reminder that keeping your home warm in winter is not just for comfort but is for your health’s sake too.