Top 11 tips to save on your electricity bill
There are some bills you have little control over and others – like your energy bill – that simple adjustments around your home and in your behaviour can substantially reduce. And the best part is that none of these tips to save on your electricity bill involve making any real sacrifices.
Switch to energy saving lighting (only uses 6%)
Energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LEDs have been available for some time now and are fantastic alternatives to incandescent and halogen light bulbs. So much so that the Australian Government has introduced regulations to phase out inefficient light bulbs. CFL and LED lights use up to 75% less energy and last much longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs, so you not only save on your electricity bill, you also save money by not having to replace burnt out light bulbs so often.
Switch lights & electrical appliances to stand-by when not in use (uses approx. 10%)
Getting into the habit of switching lights off whenever you leave a room should be relatively easy but remembering to turn certain appliances off might take more practice. While setting your computer or laptop to sleep after a period of inactivity does save some energy, one of the biggest home energy wasters is standby power. Try turning your appliances and devices off at the wall when not being used to avoid paying for standby power. Turn your TV off at the wall, and shutdown your computer or laptop when you go to bed or know you aren’t going to use either of them for hours. Turning the printer and Wi-Fi router off at night or when nobody is home can also save you small amounts that add up over a year. And switching to task lighting, where you use a single desk lamp, standing lamp, and countertop lighting when reading, working at your desk, or working in the kitchen is an even better habit than simply turning off lights when you leave a room.
Switch to using smart power boards
If you find yourself struggling to remember to switch certain appliances off when you leave the house or go to bed, invest in a few smart powerboards. They look and act like regular powerboards, but with built-in Wi-Fi you are able to use your smartphone to turn individual outlets – and appliances or devices – on and off from anywhere. Some smart powerboards even support schedules, allowing you to automate when certain devices and appliances turn on and off.
Be more energy aware with laundry
There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of energy used when washing clothes:
- Don’t wash partial loads. If possible, wait until you have a full load before doing any laundry. If you can’t, select a short cycle instead.
- Warm or hot water washes aren’t always necessary, with cold water washes being more energy efficient and just as good at getting your laundry clean.
- Skip the dryer. When the weather is great, hang your laundry outside and let it air dry. It doesn’t require a lot of effort and can save you loads on your electricity bill.
- If you have to use the dryer, be sure to clean the lint trap out regularly. Not doing this not only creates a fire hazard, it also makes your dryer even less energy efficient.
Naturally, all of this assumes your washer and dryer are fairly new, with modern appliances all being much more energy efficient than appliances more than a decade old.
Keep doors & curtains closed
Whether you are using a heater in winter or the air conditioner in summer, closing the doors of rooms you and your family aren’t using will help warm up or cool down the rooms you are using faster and more efficiently. Check all windows to ensure they are sealed tightly regardless of the season, and then you can also open curtains and blinds during the day in winter, to both lighten and warm rooms ups naturally. In summer the reverse would apply, and you should close curtains and blinds in rooms you aren’t using to help keep them cool without the need for a fan or air conditioner.
Get your roof insulated
In addition to checking all windows and entrance doors seal tightly, you should also explore insulation options for your roof. A substantial amount of heat transfer happens through the ceiling and roof of your home, resulting in you having to spend more to heat your home in winter, and to keep it cool in summer. Spending a bit on quality roof insulation can result in almost immediate savings on your electricity bill.
Adjust the temperature
Once you’ve taken steps to ensure windows and doors are properly sealed and get the roof of your house insulated, you’ll find it easier to set-and-forget the temperature on your HVAC system or air-conditioner. In summer the most efficient temperature setting is around 24 or 27 degrees, and between 18 and 20 degrees in winter, depending on where you live. Every degree above 20 in winter – and below 25 in summer – can add 10% to your electricity bill.
Get an energy assessment
An in-home energy assessment will give you greater insight into your home’s energy usage, specifically how, when and where the most energy is consumed. This in turn allows you to explore measures that will help you save on electricity. Alternatively, if your home has already been fitted with a smart meter, check if it includes an energy monitor which can also reveal usage patterns and trends.
Check & adjust appliance settings
Have you ever tested out different settings on your television and refrigerator? Many times, we simply accept the default settings they come with, without considering they might not be optimal. Reducing the brightness of your television screen and the temperature settings on your fridge can result in savings on your energy bill, but you shouldn’t ignore the temperature setting on your water heater either.
Compare rates & switch providers
When did you last compare the rates of your current electricity provider with that of other providers in your area? While it is quite common to shop around for the best mobile or internet plan, we too easily forget we can do the same with energy providers. If it has been more than two years since you last looked at the rates of different energy providers, now is the best time to do this again. And if you’re happy with your current provider, but can get a better rate elsewhere, don’t hesitate to mention this to your current provider; they might be able to match the rate, getting you a great deal without any need to switch.
Transition to solar energy
The initial costs of solar energy can be quite high, but with the long-term savings more than make up for this. But you also don’t need to convert your entire home to running off solar energy all at once. You can gradually transition by first switching to solar heated water, before exploring other parts of your home you can convert to running off solar energy. Solar systems are more accessible, affordable & easier to install than ever before.
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