Affordable ways to stay warm this winter

27 June 2024

Many Aussie homes aren’t set up to keep the warmth in when the weather cools, making them more expensive to heat. But there are several things you can do to improve the comfort of your home in winter, says Ben Brazier, CommBank retail banking services environmental and social lead. “We want to make our homes work as effectively as possible to hold onto heat and there are myriad ways to do that.”

Don’t heat an empty home

It may sound obvious, says Brazier, but many old heating systems activate whether you’re home or not. “You can get smart systems that connect to your phone, and you can tell it when you’re on your way home,” he says. “And you can retrofit these.” It’s also a good idea to close vents in unused spaces within your home.

Understand your appliances

Portable electric heaters can be a good option in some homes but it’s worth understanding how much energy they use. Look at the wattage on your heater (note: the higher the wattage, the more electricity that heater is likely to use). “If you think about how long you’re using it for and compare that with your electricity cost, a little back of the envelope calculation can help you understand how much energy it’s using and whether there are better options,” says Brazier.

Insulate for comfort

A well-insulated home holds heat when it’s cool and keeps it out in summer, says Brazier. “Insulation is crucial in keeping a home warm during winter by minimising heat loss and keeping a comfortable indoor temperature.” Small adjustments, such as sealing draughts around windows and doors, can reduce cold air infiltration. “Even retrofitting insulation can reduce heating costs through improved energy efficiency,” he says.

Style your space for warmth

Soft furnishings, including window covers and rugs, add cosiness as well as trapping heat. Another easy win: opening your curtains to allow sunlight into your house during the day harnesses natural heat. It’s a simple way to warm your home and reduce your reliance on heating, all of which lowers energy costs.

Quick explainer: Heat pumps

Better known as reverse- cycle air-conditioners, heat pumps give the best of both worlds. The cooling function removes heat from your home and turns it into cold air, while the heating function absorbs cold air from the outside and turns it into warm air. Heat pumps are not only energy efficient but can help prevent your energy bills from spiking, too.

Heating hacks: For renovators

If you’re planning a home renovation or build, now is the perfect time to think about how you can improve the thermal performance of your home, says Brazier. Speak to your architect or builder to understand your options. For example, incorporating insulation or installing double glazed windows. Shading your home, particularly windows, also has a significant impact on energy costs. This can be done with anything that blocks rays, such as eaves, awnings, fences, external blinds, and trellises or by trees and shrubs.

Cost benefit

When it comes to installing renewable energy products, like solar, heat- pump hot-water systems, smart thermostats and battery packs, there are ways to ease upfront costs. CommBank’s Green Loan for eligible home-loan customers, has a low, secured, fixed rate with no establishment or early repayment fees.

CommBank has also teamed up with UPowr, to help customers buy and install solar panels and batteries. UPowr manages the process from start to end, including your rebates, and allows eligible CommBank customers to select InstalPay at UPowr’s checkout to apply for a loan of up to $30,000 with no interest and no monthly fees.

Search CommBank Green Loan or InstalPay to find out more.

Play the energy game

Making the most of sunshine can keep you warm for less indoors. Here’s how: installing solar with a home battery means you can produce your own electricity and reduce the cost of heating your home. According to the Australian Energy Council1, a typical solar pay- back period of a 5kW system in a major city is 3-5 years. To build on those gains, signing up with energy provider Amber Electric gives you access to wholesale energy pricing through their app. You can see energy prices in near real time and shape your own behaviour around energy consumption to further reduce bills. Eligible CommBank Yello customers have access to exclusive offers from Amber to save even more.

CommBank has an ownership interest in Amber. Amber and CommBank have entered into a strategic relationship agreement. You should read Amber’s Terms and Conditions before making any decision about their service. Go to for more information. 

Things you should know

1 The Australian Energy Council Solar Report 2022, page 15.

An earlier version of this article was published in Brighter magazine

This article provides general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as personal financial product advice. The views expressed by contributors are their own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of CBA. As the information has been provided without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions, and whether the product is appropriate to your circumstances. You should also consider whether seeking independent professional legal, tax and financial advice is necessary. Every effort has been taken to ensure the information was correct as at the time of printing but it may be subject to change. No part of the editorial contents may be reproduced or copied in any form without the prior permission and acknowledgement of CBA.