Reducing our power bills comes down to more than just cheap electricity prices. In fact, our own energy usage and the efficiency of our homes often have a much greater impact on our bills than we realise.
While solar and other technologies can help, there are plenty of things you can do around your house, for free or at a much lower cost, to reduce the amount of electricity you’re using and start bringing those power bills down!
Turn the heater down!
It can be tempting to crank your heater up on cold winter nights, but by keeping the thermostat between 18°C and 20°C you could save up to 10% on your electricity bill! Every degree over 20°C uses around 10% more energy.¹
☀ Bonus Solar Tip:
If it’s safe to do so, leave your heater running during the day while your solar is generating electricity. By the time you come home in the evening, your house will be toasty warm and you’ll be able to turn your heater off to avoid paying those pesky peak energy rates.
Your ceiling fan isn’t just for summer.
Turn your ceiling fan on when you’re using your heater. Hot air rises and your fan will push it back down again! Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse direction which will push the hot air near the roof back down, and running a fan costs a fraction of the price of running a heater.
Insulation – your home’s blanket.
Insulation is the key to a warm house. Make sure your house is well insulated and be sure to draught proof your home. Draughts let cold air in and warm air out, which means your heater will have to work overtime to keep your house warm.
Let the sun in!
It might seem like a no brainer, but by keeping your blinds and curtains open during the day, you’ll let the warmth of the sun into your home. Close them at night to keep the heat in and think about investing in some heavier curtains with pelmets for extra warmth.
Keep the doors shut.
There’s no point letting the warmth from your heater creep into your laundry if you’re not in there. Keep the doors in your house closed to keep the heat in the rooms you’re heating and out of the rooms you’re not heating!
As long as you’re comfortable, pop on a jumper, some slippers or even a beanie. Snuggle up with a blanket or better yet, turn off your heater and try an electric blanket!
Hold back on your air con.
Your house needs to be comfortable but it doesn’t need to be freezing! When using your air conditioner, aim to keep the temperature set between 25°C and 27°C. Every degree under 23°C uses around 5-10% more energy and this increases your energy costs.²
☀ Bonus Solar Tip:
Leave your air conditioner running during the day while your solar is generating electricity. By the time you come home in the evening, your house will be nice and cool and you’ll be able to turn your air conditioner off to avoid paying those pesky peak energy rates.
Your cheap alternative: the fan.
A ceiling fan only costs around 2 cents an hour to run.² That’s much cheaper than your air conditioner! If the fan doesn’t cool your house enough on its own, turn your air conditioner on for a short time and then let your fan circulate the cool air.
Keep cool and insulate!
Make sure any draughts are plugged up and your house is well insulated. This will ensure the cool air from your air conditioner stays inside while the external hot air stays outside!
Throw a little shade.
You’ve probably thought to close your blinds in summer to keep the sun out, but have you thought about shading the exterior of your home? Retractable awnings and trees can stop the sun hitting your windows and the exterior of your house, which will reduce the amount of heat coming into your home.
Let in some fresh air!
Open your windows when the sun goes down, particularly if there’s a cool breeze blowing outside. By opening your windows you’ll naturally cross-ventilate your house to cool your home and let in some fresh air!
Switch off and unplug!
Be sure to turn your appliances off when you’re not using them, and try to remember to turn them off at the powerpoint too. Even on standby, many appliances use a bit of electricity.
Avoid peak energy rates.
Electricity rates peak in the evening (generally 4pm-7pm) so try to avoid using your appliances at this time.
☀ Bonus Solar Tip:
Run your appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.) during the day using the electricity generated by your solar system. If you’re not home during the day, use timers to set your appliances to run while you’re out.
Keep it cool.
Keep your fridge set to 4°C or 5°C and your freezer at -15°C to -18°C.¹ These temperatures are within safe food storage guidelines, and each degree colder uses more energy.
Water and Laundry.
Use your washing machine more efficiently.
Did you know around 25% of an average home’s electricity is spent on hot water?² It might be time to think about washing your clothes in cold water. Make sure you wait until you have a full load before running your washing machine and wash your clothes using the shortest appropriate cycle.
Let nature dry your clothes!
Line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. This is particularly applicable in summer when there really are no excuses!
A fast shower’s a cheap shower!
Limit your showers to 4 minutes and make sure you have an efficient, 3-star rated shower head fitted. Doing so could save you hundreds of dollars a year!
In the kitchen.
Good things come in small packages.
Where possible, use smaller appliances over larger ones for cooking. For example, use your microwave instead of the oven, or your toaster rather than the grill.
Keep your lid on!
When using the stove, keep lids on the pots to minimise cooking time.
Did you know LED lights use around 80% less energy than older style globes?² Switch your globes to LED lights, it’s a no brainer!
Switch to lamps.
Lamps use less electricity than downlights so, where possible, switch off your downlights and turn on a few lamps instead.
What else can I do?
The only way to really ensure you’re using your electricity as efficiently as possible is to understand how your household uses energy. So, how do we do that? Consider a home energy assessment.
A home energy assessment can help you determine and measure your household’s energy consumption. By thinking about how you use electricity, you can begin to reduce your consumption in the areas you use most electricity, and save on those power bills.
Oh, and the best bit? You can do it yourself with a free online energy health check.