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Avoid $200 heating blowout with these tips as Bunnings shopper issues power warning

Sarah was 'shocked' when she saw how 'energy-hungry' many of the electric heaters were.

As the cold grips of winter slowly make its way across Australia, people will no doubt be dusting off their trusty heater to keep themselves toasty. But it's worth double checking how much energy these devices use before you switch them on for the season.

Consumer group CHOICE said Aussies can be hit with high electricity bills if they run heaters all afternoon and evening to keep their homes warm. The difference in electricity use can set Aussies back by close to $200.

But there are other ways to prevent your home from becoming an igloo if you're struggling with the cost of living or want to be energy conscious.

Bunnings shopper Sarah Aubrey next to electric heater
There are loads of ways to stay warm this winter as Bunnings shopper Sarah Aubrey points out how 'energy-hungry' some electric heaters are. (Source: TikTok/Getty)

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Sealing draughts

CHOICE heating expert Chris Barnes said it's really important to "reduce your energy use by keeping the heat in" and you can do that by locating and sealing any draughts in your home.


"You can purchase weather seal tape or draught strips, which you can find from your local hardware store. All you have to do is stick the adhesive side to a window frame or door jamb," Barnes explained.

"Door snakes are another favourite trick we like to use when it comes to sealing draughts - if you're crafty, you can even make your own.

"If you're having trouble detecting where the draughts are, light a candle and run it around the windows and gaps under doors. A draught will be obvious when the flame flickers or smoke blows around."


Rugging up

CHOICE added that having rugs on the floor can help prevent your feet and body from getting cold if they make contact with the floor. You can also keep the cold from outside at bay by closing your blinds or curtains.

Blankets can be an easy way for you to keep warm in a cold home. It stops you from spending loads of money trying to heat a whole room when you can just focus on yourself.

Switching your ceiling fan

While you might not want to turn the ceiling fan on during winter, there's a feature that not many people will be aware of.

"Your ceiling fan most likely has a reverse switch that changes the blades to a clockwise spin," Barnes said.

"By switching your fan to reverse or winter mode, they'll push the warm air back towards the floor. We recommend using them alongside your heating system for the best results."

Bunnings shopper's warning

These handy tips come after a shopper sounded the alarm over how "energy-hungry" some electric heaters can be.

"I'm standing here, looking at the heaters at Bunnings and I'm just so shocked by how energy-hungry they are," Sarah Aubrey said in a video.

She pointed at a small heater that was only $19, but requires 2,000 watts. Almost all the heaters on the aisle had the same electricity need, even the larger, more expensive heaters.

"[They're] proudly displaying 2,000 watts, that is so expensive to run," Aubrey said. "So you run that for one hour, that's 2 kilowatt hours."

Aubrey said she has a wall split heating and cooling system that is much cheaper to run than an electric heater. However, Barnes said not everyone can afford that luxury.

"If you're renting or can't afford the installment of a reverse-cycle air conditioner, then a portable electric heater is a convenient option with low upfront costs," Barnes said.

"However, be wary of the cost of an electric heater over time.

"On average, an electric heater will cost you less in the first year, but bills may start to increase in the long run. Be wary of how long your electric heater is on and avoid running multiple heaters in different rooms."

Electric heater cost

If you were to run a 2,000 watt heater for a few hours each day during the three months of winter, it could cost you more than $200, according to the average price of power from Finder.

It's worth double-checking what the wattage is for each heater as Bunnings has some as low as 800 watts and some as high as 2,400 watts.

For comparison, an 800 watt heater would only cost you around $83 to run for four hours every day during winter, while a model on the higher end of the watt scale would set you back nearly $250.

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