Electricity and gas have undoubtedly made our lives easier and more comfortable, but it comes at a cost – and often a substantial one. In an age when we’re all looking for ways to reduce our daily expenses, our energy usage often comes under scrutiny.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can make sure you keep your energy usage in check and your power bill low. Here are some energy-saving tips that may help reduce those costly bills.
Turn off the lights in empty rooms
1. Keep tabs on your bill
Most energy suppliers provide both electricity and gas, and include a section in their bills that enables you to track your daily average energy usage per quarter. This figure will help you gauge whether your usage remains the same, or is rising or falling.
Every so often, it’s worthwhile comparing energy suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best energy plan for your area and needs. It may help to use a useful tool such as the Switchwise comparison tool to help you compare and, if you see fit, switch plans.
2. Switch it off
It’s the simplest of ideas, yet many people still struggle to switch their appliances off at the wall. According to Sustainability Victoria, having appliances – the TV, sound system, kettle and microwave, for example – plugged in and on standby mode can add more than $100 to your annual power bill.
To make it easier to switch these devices off, keep all your appliances plugged into one power board; that way you can turn everything off with one flick of a switch.
Keep all plugs on a power board for easy control
3. Be light savvy
There’s no doubt our lives are easier thanks to electric lighting. But that doesn’t mean we have to exploit the innovation. Turning lights off in unoccupied rooms can be an easy way to reduce your energy usage and lower your bills.
Going a step further, you can change your lightbulbs to energy-efficient LED or CFL globes. As Origin Energy says, LED globes could save you up to 80% on energy per globe compared to traditional lightbulbs.
Opt for energy efficient LED or CFL globes
4. Be more conservative with your heating and cooling
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, heating and cooling systems contribute to more than 40% of a home’s annual energy consumption. That makes it an important factor to address when you’re looking to cut energy costs around the home.
Lowering your thermostat to between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius is an easy way to reduce running costs – by up to 10%, according to Sustainability Victoria. Next time you go to raise the mercury, consider putting on an extra layer of clothing instead.
Rug up before turning on the heating
5. Draught proof your home
Heating and cooling can be rendered less effective if you haven’t addressed draughts in the home. The Australian Government recommends filling gaps around doors and windows and using draught stoppers at the base of doors to better insulate your home, which in turn can save you up to 25% on your heating and cooling bills.
6. Learn about off-peak and time-of-use pricing
Many energy retailers offer cheaper rates during specified times to help you lower your energy bills. This initiative – often called time-of-use pricing – means you’re charged at several different rates depending on the time of day you use energy. The off peak rate – the least expensive – typically stands between 10pm and 7am.
Finding out if your energy company provides this service and running your most expensive devices – the washing machine and dishwasher, for example – during this time can be an easy way to better manage your energy usage and costs.
There are plenty of other useful ways to reduce energy consumption and lower your bills around the home. If you want to know more, head to the Australian Government’s invaluable Your Energy Savings website.