Is Being Complacent Costing You More on Your Energy Bill?
When I was teenager, I was fortunate enough to have: my own computer, a television and an air conditioner in my room (spoilt much?). I can’t even imagine the electricity bills my parents had in the days without solar power and energy efficient appliances. Now that I own my own home, I’m teaching my kids energy efficient tips along the way, so hopefully they won’t lose their cooling rights.
There’s nothing like the stress-free sound of the kids on their iPad in the evening giving me time to cook, clean and unwind. Here are a few Netflix and Chill tips that won’t increase your energy bill:
- A 40” LCD TV could cost $19 per quarter. When shopping for a new appliance think energy efficient stars and bigger isn’t always better.
- Any appliance on stand-by mode could be costing you between $55 to $100 a year in running costs. [ii] Switch off at the wall and eliminate those phantom loads costing you money.
- iPads are worth their weight in gold. Costing as little as $2.80 a year to charge that’s quite the incentive to switch off the bedroom television and watch Netflix on the iPad (plus you can watch what you like, no remote hogging here!).[iii]
I’ve been known to splurge on new lamps around the home, more so for their decorative appeal, but it turns out I’ve been doing us a favour because LED lamps save me money!
- You could save up to $140 per year just by switching on an LED lamp of an evening instead of your ceiling lights.[iv]
- During the day, open the curtains for some natural sunlight to save on power.
- At night time, a motion-sensing security light will limit consumption. Your neighbour might appreciate it too! If only the street light outside my bedroom did that.
Cooling your home
Australia is a hot place, some of us experience Summer all year round. If you can’t resist the cool reprieve of air conditioning, here are some tips to get you through the heat and potentially save you between $40 and $590 a year:[v]
- Try cooling your home with ceiling fans first. You can also close your curtains and shut your windows to block out heat from the sun.
- Set your air conditioner temperature to 24° and vow to only use them when the outside temperature reaches 30° or above. Your air conditioner uses 5% more energy for every degree under 24°.
- When running your air conditioner, always have your ceiling fans on at the same time. It helps circulate cool air which enables you to set the A/C at a higher temperature which saves you money.
- Utilise the timer on your air conditioner if it has one. You can purchase timers for your power point which can cut down running time overnight by half!
- Insulating your home could save you up to 45% on your heating and cooling bills.
My mother once told me a clever tool for power outages which works especially well if you’ve been away over the weekend. Place a cup with water in the freezer, once its frozen place a coin on top. This will allow you to measure if your freezer has begun to defrost, or completely defrosted and refrozen the food once the power was on again! Here’s a few more tips:
- Your fridge should be set to 4° to 5° and freezer to -15° to work at peak efficiency and minimize energy costs.
- This one I am certainly guilty of; boiling the potatoes on the hotplate without a lid on uses 70% more energy than if you were to boil with the lids on!
- Defrosting food overnight in the fridge saves energy from microwaving and reduces cooking time. On that note, can you believe a microwave uses 80% less energy than our electric stove tops?
- When boiling the kettle, only boil the water you need to save energy and costs.
Now if only I could convince the husband to switch off the beer fridge then I’d pocket the $220 a year in savings![vi]
Not long ago, my Nanna blessed me with quite the elaborate house warming present; a new washing machine. All I wanted to know was is it easy to use and big enough to fit a blanket? Here are a few things I could have taken into consideration while choosing:
- A front-load washer saves 50% on electricity. I had picked a top loader for convenience, I’m certainly rethinking my options for the future.
- Be conscious of star ratings. Every star on your washing machine could save you 25% more energy and lower your running costs.
- Only ever wash full loads and preferably with cold water.
- In Australia we are rarely short of free sunshine! At least once a week, opt for the clothes line instead of the dryer to save between $40 and $80 a year.[vii]
We have a rule in our house during shower time, wash your body and get out! We can’t avoid using water every day but here are some tips to be wise with your consumption:
- When showers are limited to only 4 minutes or less per person households are saving between $60 and $650 a year![viii] A great reason to turn off the tap while shaving your legs or brushing your teeth.
- The next tip isn’t a freebie but it’s probably the most important. Change your shower head to a 3-star rating and save from $190 to $700 a year in running costs.[ix]
Are you looking forward to an energy bill you can boast about?
These types of changes are small and easy to implement in your everyday routine. You could be saving up to $2,500 per year! The last tip I’m offering, and I personally can vouch its success; invest in solar. Making the switch to solar not only could save you up to 60% off your energy bill, it could also reduce your carbon emissions by 6 tonnes per year. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page every Wednesday this summer for our ongoing energy saving tips.
Want the inside scoop?
Stephanie has recently joined the Horan & Bird Team as Marketing Executive, from a diverse background from Financial Planning to Sales for diamonds, cars and real-estate. Steph’s marketing career started within a local animal rescue group and has since progressed with Horan & Bird, including the addition of her study of a diploma in Digital Media. When she’s not at work, she’s spending time with her husband and two kids while practicing her skills in videography.