If you are reeling from bill shock, take stock of what is using energy in your home.
The biggest guzzler in the home is hot water. Typically, more than half will be used in the bathroom, a third in the laundry and the remainder in the kitchen.
To reduce your bill, take shorter showers. Use cold water in the laundry.
Using a more efficient hot water system is also important. There are many options to choose from. If possible, install a heat pump powered by solar PV. Heat pumps run on electricity and can be up to four times more efficient than a conventional electric water heater.
For a one- or two-person household, an instant gas heater is cheap to run.
Heating and cooling
Heating the home in winter and cooling it down in summer can rack up the bills.
In winter, some reverse-cycle air conditioners used for heating can be very efficient. Blow heaters, oil-filled column heaters and radiant bar varieties are not. Make sure your home is well insulated. Stop draughts by sealing cracks and gaps and put down door snakes. Use your thermostat correctly and, by dressing warmly, you’ll be able to turn it down a degree or two, saving money on your bills.
Bathroom heater lights can use a huge amount of energy - check their wattage and use sparingly.
In summer, use fans and if possible rely on cross ventilation to let natural breezes through your home.
Appliances left on stand-by use about 10% of your energy bill. While each appliance only uses a small amount of energy, it adds up. According to consumer group Choice the biggest energy suckers in the home are as follows:
|Device||Highest stand-by cost annually|
|Wireless VOIP router||$25.4|
|Air con - large||$1.08|
|Home theatre system||$0.23|
|TVs - 100 to 115 cm||$0.05|
Switch your appliances off at the wall or install a stand-by power controller that automatically switches appliances off when not in use.
Buy a more energy efficient fridge.
If you have a second fridge in the garage, do you really need it?
Television + entertainment
While a big, cheap television may be tempting, it could cost you in the long run. The type of technology, screen size and brightness all contribute to how much electricity your television will use. Generally, modern TVs use less electricity than older models.
When you go to buy your new television, look for the Energy Rating Label. By law, every TV sold in Australia must meet a minimum level of energy efficiency.