Keep your energy bills under control this Winter

Rugging up indoors is not the only way to avoid an over-the-top energy bill this Winter.

There are plenty of things you can do to stay both warm and happy.  Sometimes they just require small changes in behaviour and awareness.
On average about 40 per cent of the energy Australians use at home is related to heating and cooling – not including heating hot water. Going solar or adding insulation might not be an option.  But giving some of these tips a try can help keep winter bill shock at bay.
  • Open curtains or blinds to let the sun warm rooms during the day and close them at night;
  • Keep doors shut and only heat rooms you are using. Switch off the heater when the room is warm;
  • Use a door snake to prevent drafts;
  • Pile on winter woolies and add an extra blanket before turning on the heater;
  • Swap the electric blanket for a hot water bottle;
  • Set your thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees. Every degree above 20 can add 10 per cent to your heating bill;
  • Check your hot water habits. It accounts for another quarter of our energy bills. So make sure your thermostat is set at 60 degrees Celsius for storage hot water systems and no more than 50 degrees Celsius for instantaneous systems. Plus, wash clothes in cold water; keep showers short; and install a low-flow shower-head.
  • Cooking winter comfort food can impact our energy costs. Choosing to cook in an electric frypan, pressure cooker, or microwave is more efficient than an electric oven, for instance.
  • Appliances are a significant energy drain. Television is the fourth highest user of electricity in our homes and home entertainment products often use more than a washing machine, clothes dryer, and dishwasher combined. Switch off at the wall appliances that are sitting idle on standby power and practise pulling the plug on phone chargers, microwaves, sound systems, and video games.
  • Use the eco cycles on appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and air conditioners.
  • The energy efficiency of your appliances plays a part, too. An old fridge or second-hand appliances are likely to drive up your bill. If you’re replacing appliances aim to buy the most energy-efficient products you can afford. Fridges and televisions include a star-rating (the more stars the more energy efficient the appliance) and an estimate of how much electricity it uses each year. A television with ½ a star uses more than five times the electricity used by a television with 6 stars.
  • Lighting represents about 10 per cent of energy bills. To keep a lid on lighting costs opt for LED or CFL lighting rather than incandescent and halogen bulbs. And – even easier – flick the switch on lights in rooms not in use.
  • If you’ve already made a lot of these changes try reviewing your energy supplier, particularly if you’ve been on the same contract for years or your typical energy use might have changed.
  • Using a smart meter is a great way to get clarity on your energy usage. An in-home display unit will let you see how much electricity you are using at that time and how much it will cost per hour.

Make sure you take note of when you start trying any of these tips so you can compare the energy consumption between bills!

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