Your heating options
The main types of heaters include electric heaters, gas heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners and the best option depends on a few factors.
Electric heaters are usually portable, cheaper to buy, and a good option if you’re not using them in large spaces or for long periods. Good for heating small spaces, or individual people.
A gas heater can be very efficient and good value for money, and some people prefer the feel of gas heating.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners will be more expensive to buy than a small electric heater, but very effective in terms of the power they use compared to the heat they generate. Good for a larger space like an open-plan living area.
How can I make heating my home cheaper?
Before buying a heater make your home as thermally efficient as you can to keep the heat inside in winter and outside in summer. Make sure windows and doors are well sealed. Use draught excluders and door snakes if needed and close off any rooms you don’t need to heat.
If using a portable gas heater, you need some ventilation. Ideally, walls and floors should also be insulated.
Rugs can provide useful insulation on a hard floor. Curtains and blinds will help keep the warmth from escaping through windows and doors.
Only use the heater when you really need to and don’t heat rooms to tropical temperatures; for example, try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Each degree less will save about 10% on your energy use.
Wood heating can be very economical because a lot of people, particularly in rural areas, may have cheap or even free access to firewood (however, check whether you need a permit to collect firewood from reserves).
Apart from modern slow-combustion heaters, solid-fuel heaters are less energy-efficient than electric and gas heating.
Ethanol fireplaces use denatured ethanol (methylated spirits) which doesn’t give off dangerous fumes such as carbon monoxide when burned (though it does give off water vapour and carbon dioxide). These burners don’t need vents or flues.
Ducted reverse cycle air conditioners consist of a compressor (which can be installed outside or in the ceiling space) and ducted outlets in the rooms you want to heat or cool. A good system can be efficient, but installation can be costly.
For underfloor heating electric wiring or water pipes are installed into the concrete floor slab. The slab is heated, using cheap off-peak electricity or hot water (in which case you can use a gas heater to heat the water if gas is available).
Ducted gas central heating consists of a gas furnace (installed outside or underfloor) and ducting vents in the rooms you want to heat. A ducted system may work out cheaper to run than two gas space heaters, though installation costs are usually much higher.
Exciting new home trends
Houses will always reflect our personal taste first, but there’s no denying current design trends influence the choices we make when designing and decorating the space we call home, whether we realise it or not.
While it’s easy to embrace a trend wholeheartedly, it’s always good to remember to choose styles that will remain somewhat timeless so your home doesn’t feel dated in a few short years once trends change. With that in mind, 2018 ushers in a number of new and exciting design trends for the home, in both building design and interior styling. Here’s what Hotondo Homes designers have to say:
Industry experts are indicating that brass is quickly becoming a firm favourite, classic silver is returning, and black metal is increasingly being chosen as an eyecatching feature. If you’re building or renovating, consider your bathroom and kitchen fittings – silver will add a touch of metallic without being too showy, whereas brass is a bolder choice. Or make a spectacular statement with black metal.
Sustainability is always at the forefront of home design these days, and that’s now flowing through into interior spaces as well. Trends are showing a return to organic, rustic materials such as exposed brick, stone, and concrete, as well as natural timbers. Incorporating these into your home helps reconnect the space back to the environment and lends itself to a calm, relaxed atmosphere. Try taking inspiration from environmental spaces like the outback or the bush by using earthy greens, burnt orange, or dusty blue to imitate the great outdoors.
Additionally, terrazzo marble is earmarked for a big comeback this year, replacing the popular geometric tiles and bone tile inlays from the last few years, adding to the throwback to nature in homes. Using marble in your kitchen or bathroom creates an effortlessly chic look that needs no embellishment – the style speaks for itself and will hold up under the everyday use of high traffic areas. The Laminex Glamour range offers a beautiful selection of marble options that are understated and elegant, allowing you to add statement accessories that will pull the style together seamlessly.
Back to Black
White kitchens will always be appealing to the eye, but they’re being sidelined for the complete opposite. Black kitchens are a trend on the up and up this year, as people choose dark charcoal or true black to create a memorable and chic kitchen area. Cabinets and breakfast bars can be black to create a bold effect, with contrasting benchtops in neutral tones to offset the colour. Add in brightly coloured toasters, vases, and other benchtop items.
Tone on tone continues to be a popular design trend when it comes to interior styling. It’s not only timeless, it also creates a very serene, relaxed atmosphere that won’t date. Consider neutral paint colours and accessories to give your home an energy that flows gently and calmly from room to room, and add a little bit of colour with a statement couch or armchairs in the lounge room, or bright bed linen to break up the spaces and create areas that subtly draw the eye in.
When incorporating design trends into your home, the most important thing to remember is to use what works for you and your family, with a focus on trends that will remain timeless. While it’s tempting to inject new life into every corner of your home, focus on smaller areas and accent pieces that can be updated with a minimum of expense.
Earthy colours are the go
In line with the return of 1970s tones to interiors the new go-to colour for 2018 is brown.
Brown is warm, welcoming and inviting and because of its versatility, it is predicted to be used across a number of popular decorating themes in 2018, such as boho and rustic interior stories. Popular shades will be on the earthier side of the spectrum – cognac, almond and beige – instead of chocolate or mission brown.
A series of earthy red and pink shades are also fashionable neutral colours in 2018. The more vibrant reds in this family are likely to be used on accessories, whereas lighter dusty pinks will be used more generously as paint colours on walls.
Terrazzo, most commonly seen on tiles, is now making its way into furniture like side tables and providing inspiration for accessories such as planters and rugs.
After years of monochrome, pastel and Scandi-themed homes, rich colour is finally making a comeback to kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. Homeowners are also increasingly bringing hotel-style extravagance into their bathrooms with once luxury extras now becoming must-have features.
All-white bathrooms and kitchens are set to go – even just a small amount of colour can make an impact, such as coloured tiles to the splashback or just the lower cabinets under the benches in a colour.
Floor and table lamps, pendants, wall sconces and sculptural lighting have functional and aesthetic impact far greater than anything downlights can achieve.
Finding ways to fund your winter dreams
A change of season can be a good opportunity to take stock of a home.
Perhaps the kitchen isn’t quite as functional as it could be. Maybe the cold isn’t kept out as well, or the dreary weather makes you want to brighten things up. Renovation is an excellent way to add value to a home, as well as increase the liveability of a house. Whatever the reasons for renovation, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it right.
The best way to ensure that your renovation is right for your home (and isn’t going to come back to bite you later on) is to make sure you have the funds to get the job done. If you haven’t got the cash on hand, a loan can be the best way forward.
Robert Hanlon, manager of Bendigo Community Bank Narrandera, said that it does depend on an individual’s circumstances.
“It’s always good to have some savings before you start looking or applying,” Mr Hanlon said.
Mr Hanlon pointed to a recent article written by Effie Zahos the editor of Money magazine, which supposed that in the light of the Royal Commission, banks would probably tighten up the money-lending process.
“It’s preferable to have a good savings history; that you’re getting your pay but you’re not spending it all.
“We also like to see at least your last three payslips, and really – we can go into a lot of things, but the easiest thing to do is make an appointment to see us and we can go from there.”
The Narrandera Bendigo Bank is a community bank, meaning that it is owned by an independent company, Narrandera Districts Investment, and franchised by Bendigo Bank.
“For every dollar we earn, 50c goes to Bendigo and 50c goes back into the community,” Mr Hanlon explained. “Once we’ve raised enough to pay for expenses, like wages, 80 per cent goes back into the community.”
Mr Hanlon said the process of getting a loan is different, depending on whether you are a regular Bendigo Community Bank customer or not.
“Some people have enough equity on the house for a loan, but if they don’t, they need quotes from the builders.
“Come in and make an appointment, and we’ll have a chat.”