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My Efficient Electric Home founder gives top tips for saving money this winter

Victorians could save a fortune if they turned off their gas heating and used reverse-cycle air conditioners to heat their homes instead.

It’s the one message Tim Forcey wants to share as he campaigns to help Victorians save money while reducing fossil fuel use in the state.

It’s the one message Tim Forcey wants to share as he campaigns to help Victorians save money while reducing fossil fuel use in the state.

“Victorians are overpaying billions of dollars a year on energy when they’ve got cheaper options in their homes,” he says.

“A reverse cycle air conditioner can heat a home at around one-third the cost of burning gas, so by heating their homes with the air conditioners they have, they’ll reduce gas use in Victoria and save themselves a lot of money.”

It's one of the many tips Tim shares in his new book,  My Efficient Electric Home Handbook. The book is billed as a practical guide to help people slash their energy bills, protect their health, and save the planet.

“It covers everything. Insulation, draft proofing, window treatments, and the low-hanging fruit – bubble wrapping your windows using bubble wrap cut to size and a spray bottle of water. It’s cheap and as effective as double-glazing. There’s a whole chapter for renters.”

As a home comfort and energy advisor, researcher and author, Tim has visited more than 1,000 homes and says many cost-saving solutions are within easy reach if people just know what to do.

His observations are backed up by data. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around two-thirds of Victorian households have one or more air conditioners. But while they use them for cooling, they rely on gas heating instead.

Tim says around 75 per cent of an average household gas bill goes on heating, which equates to about $10 to $15 a day at current gas prices. Heating a large house can cost $25 a day, while hot water (20 per cent) and cooking (five per cent) make up the rest of the bill.

“If you want to use less gas and save a lot of money, then it’s heating, heating, heating. The solution is reverse cycle air conditioners. We just need to get them into homes, including for renters.”

Tim’s professional life has change dramatically since 1994, when he migrated to Australia from the US as a chemical engineer in the resources sector. He quit that role in 2010 because he was unhappy working in fossil fuels.

He later worked for the University of Melbourne, where he published research on home heating and proved that a reverse-cycle air conditioner could be used for about a third of the price of gas.He has since dedicated his life to teaching people how to save money and live more comfortably in their homes.

In 2015, Tim established a Facebook group, My Efficient Electric Home, to share tips on electrifying your home and saving money on your bills. The group now has close to 120,000 members, growing by 100 a day.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing it into every corner of consciousness. The price of gas has gone up and stayed up. A lot of people are uncomfortable in their homes. If we can give them a cheaper way, they’ll be more comfortable and save money, too.”

Reducing household bills is also a focus of the new SEC. With around 80% of households connected to gas, Victorians use more gas at home than any Australian state. Switching heating, hot water and other appliances to electric will help reduce emissions and energy bills. Find out how we can help you reduce your power bills and make the switch to electric.

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