Save on Electricity
8 Energy Saving Tips To Use In Your Home
For many Australians electricity bills can be one of the biggest annual household expenses. Summer and winter can lead to much higher than expected energy costs being charged from heating and cooling the home. While seasonal weather conditions can be hard to gauge, there are many simple and easy energy saving tips to help households reduce their energy output and save some serious funds.
Some families have been able to reduce their energy consumption by half and put these funds towards big saving goals. No matter what you or your family are saving towards changing energy usage in the home might not seem like much – but the benefits will add up over time. You get to save on bills and reduce the impact on the environment – imagine if each individual did one thing the impact it would make!
Spend More, Save More
As technology improves and enhances our quality of life, so do the types of appliances for the home. The main areas for appliances are found in the kitchen, laundry and living spaces. There are so many electrical gadgets with tablets, phones, computers, printers – there would easily be many devices all through the house.
Conducting an energy audit can help homeowners identify key areas for efficiency and optimal energy performance. DIY audits can take some time and effort but are worthwhile for identifying underperforming appliances, like the old second fridge in the garage that only gets used twice a year. No need to keep paying for that.
If you find that your fridge, washing machine or dishwasher is dialing up the KWh – it’s probably time to invest in an energy efficient model. Now these can be large upfront costs, but with a lower bill and better operating functions these models will be worth the investment over time.
Keeping up with regular maintenance of appliances and following the cleaning and servicing instructions can also reduce the cost of the machine over it’s lifetime.
Ditch the Dryer
Dryers can appear to be a convenient and cost effective method for drying clothes, towels and sheets, but this appliance could be one of the biggest strains on the energy bill budget. Choice.com.au reported last year that, “Using a dryer just three times per week (roughly 150 times a year) means your dryer is going to cost you $225 a year to run.”
Using the dryer less can be as simple as organising washing cycles in a different schedule each week or having clothes washed a few days before they will be needed. In the warmer months take advantage of the sunshine and cheap breeze by hanging clothes outside. Use a clothes horse or hanging rack if you have limited outdoor space. In the cooler months hang clothes on drying racks in the same room that you are heating.
Energy.gov.au estimates that, “Using the clothesline once a week instead of using the dryer could save around $79 a year.”
This was included in a list of energy saving strategies that can save a household of 4 about $760 a year.
It will be more energy efficient to heat the room you’re using and drying clothes at the same time. Dryers put clothes, towels and bedding under pressure and this can result in these items not lasting as long due to the fibres in the material breaking down with the strain. Not only will you find that you’re paying for the usage, but also having to replace clothes more often as well.
Switch off and unplug
Leaving appliances on standby mode and switched on at the wall can still draw energy. A small appliance that constantly draws one watt can cost up to $1 a year. Add this up across a number of appliances and the amount can be a large portion of quarterly bills. Unplugging seems a simple step to take, considering the appliances are not being used. Turning appliances off and then unplugging them from the wall could easily save $100 or $200 a year.
Using a power board is also a quick way to make sure that multiple appliances are turned off at the same time and you only have to pull one plug. Some power boards have built-in timers so appliances will turn off automatically when you know you won’t be using them. The more advanced power boards feature smart technology and can be controlled via an app. Turning lights off in rooms when you’re not using them also helps reduce energy consumption.
New efficient light bulbs
Energy inefficient incandescent light bulbs are being phased out by the Australian Government. This also includes some halogen bulbs. The old style bulbs need a lot of heat to give off only a small amount of light. These older bulbs cost homeowners more in heating than lighting and significantly add to the total of power bills.
Using energy efficient bulbs like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which convert heat to light more effectively, are more expensive to purchase, as they use less power and last for longer periods of time. Energy.gov reported that, “LEDs use about 75% less energy than halogen light bulbs and last 5-10 times longer, greatly reducing replacement costs and the number of light bulbs ending up in landfill.’
LEDs are available in a range of colours and are suitable for indoor and outdoor usage. There are motion sensors and dimmer options to choose from and LEDs are flicker free.
Energy.gov.au estimates that, ‘By replacing 10 halogen light bulbs with LEDs, an average household can expect to save around $650 over 10 years on their electricity bill.’
Fix Electrical specialise in LED upgrades for commercial and residential premises. We can create an energy efficient lighting setup in your home or business.
Use off-peak times
If your home happens to be on a smart meter or Time of Use electricity plan then this means that you’re being charged for peak, shoulder and off peak times. Take advantage of the off peak times (generally between 10pm and 7am). Use off peak rates to charge electronics (phones, tablets and laptops) and run appliances like the washing machine, dishwasher and the dryer. Use an eco setting, if the machine has one, and timers or the delay start function.
Use cold water in the laundry
Many households use warm or hot water to wash clothes, towels and bedding, but changing to cold water can be just as effective and guzzle less power. Heating water accounts for about 25% of household energy use. Set your washing machine to cold wash or only link in the cold water so that you are not paying for heated water for washing. Cold water is just as good at cleaning clothes and won’t damage materials and fibres in the process. Washing full loads also reduces water usage and the number of times the washing machine needs to be used per week. Choosing a front- loader machine with a high energy rating, that’s water efficient is currently the best option. Front- loaders also use less water and detergent than top- loaders.
Install solar panels
With solar technology improving and the price of solar panels decreasing, it can be a great option for homeowners to save energy. In Australia the availability and price of solar panels can depend on the suitability of your area, if you live in a warmer or cooler part of Australia and where the solar panels can be placed for maximum return. Check with your local council for what approvals you will need.
Solar PV systems have the panels and the inverter. Batteries can store the surplus energy to use in the evenings as required. The number of panels that you will need depends on your households daily energy usage. A household that uses 20kWh per day, equates to a 5kWh system. There are two types of warranties to consider with solar panels. One to cover the panels themselves and the other to cover the performance.
Solar panels are a long term investment and while it may take a few years to recoup the initial cost it’s worth the long term savings on energy bills. It’s estimated that a 5kWh system can save, on average, $500 a quarter, if all the solar power is used as it is generated.
Insulate your home
Many new homes that have been designed and constructed effectively will have the appropriate insulation. The type of insulation and its density will depend on the location of the new home and the most common types of weather patterns that occur there. Insulation can be one of the most effective ways to ensure that a house stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Yourhome.gov.au reports that a well insulated home can provide year round comfort and cut heating and cooling bills by half. Insulation can reduce carbon emissions as households rely less on heaters and air conditioners. Adding insulation to an existing home can be costly – adding up the type of insulation, hiring a professional service and the install. This initial cost for insulation is a long term investment into the comfort and energy saving measures for your household. Insulation must be installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia, which includes R-Value requirements. Hiring a professional installer is recommended to comply with regulations and safety.
Adrian Faull is the founder of Fix Electrical Contractors. He is proud to lead a team of qualified electricians and support team that are experts in the field, who will work with you to ensure you’re getting the best electrical solution for your needs.