Electricity costs make up a big part of the monthly bill for most Australian homes. Here we go through ten ways that you can reduce your electricity usage and costs in order to bring that bill down and under control.
Appliances like televisions, printers and microwaves all use power when they’re in stand-by and sometimes even when they say they’re off. Switching off a gaming console after use, for instance, can save an Aussie household up to $193 a year. The best way to avoid this power usage is to switch the devices off at the wall.
According to energy.gov.au, up to 40% of the heat in your home could be leaking out your windows. In winter, close your blinds when the sun goes down, and in summer close them in the heat of the day. This will better regulate your house temperature without the need of air conditioning.
Switching to energy efficient bulbs can reduce energy usage for lighting by up to 80% which is going to save you a lot of money in the long run. Look to LEDs that have a much longer life and consume considerably less electricity. Remember to also switch off lights when they’re not in use – a seemingly obvious one, but it’s easy to forget!
The fridge is one of the biggest energy users in your house, responsible for almost 20% of an average Aussie’s household electricity usage. Turning the temperature up by a degree or two can make a huge difference.
Fans use such only a fraction of the electricity that an air conditioner uses. Although fans may not suffice on sweltering summer days, it is worth considering using the fan on milder days in order to reduce electricity usage and thus electricity costs substantially.
With hot water making up an average of 25% of the Aussie household energy bill, saving money on your hot water is an important measure. Some hot water heaters allow you to create the water during off-peak periods provided by your electricity company, and store it for when you need it next. Although this won’t reduce electricity use, it will reduce your costs.
This is especially important with appliances like fridges. A few hundred dollars worth of savings at the checkout could be reversed within the first few years of use if the fridge has poor energy efficiency. Check out our story on energy ratings to understand this better.
Over half of the energy consumed by the average household washing machine is from warm or hot washing clothes. If you’re looking to reduce your electricity usage and costs, consider cold washing your clothes. For stubborn stains, a pre-wash treatment may well be a more effective option than a hot wash. It’s also worth holding off a wash until you have a full load, as most washing machines use the same amount of electricity for a smaller load as they would a full load.
On really cold or wet days, sometimes it feels like your clothes will never dry so a dryer may be necessary. On warmer days, try hanging out clothes on a rack instead. You may be surprised how quickly clothes can dry and air drying has the added benefit of helping your clothes to last longer as the direct heat from dryers can affect elasticity and structural integrity, making them wear out faster. Sunshine also has known antibacterial properties, so turn those undies inside out!
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If you want to make switching appliances off at the wall easier, consider using a powerboard so you only have to switch off at the wall to switch off all power to the appliances plugged in. Better still, if you get a powerboard with a surge protector this will have the added benefit of protecting your appliances from voltage spikes which can, and do happen!
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You’ve almost definitely seen one, you might even have one in your house right now. Those ‘energy rating’ stickers. You get the gist of what they are, but what do they really mean and should you be paying more attention to them?
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