No one likes power bill shock: that terrible surprise you get when confronted with a massive power bill. Fortunately there’s plenty of quick and simple things you can do around the home to significantly reduce your power consumption. Not only will this save you money, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint and help your home go green.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Heating and AC systems are among the heaviest users of power around the house. But there’s plenty you can do to reduce the amount of energy these systems use.
Firstly, whether heating or cooling, try to keep the system within a couple degrees of 20°C. For heating and cooling systems, increases/decreases of 1°C can increase power bills by 5%.
It’s also important to ensure your heating/cooling system has to do as little work as possible to warm or cool your home. There’s plenty you can do to help from using door snakes to block out draughts to updating insulation to investing in double glazed windows.
It’s also important to regularly service your heating and air conditioning systems. This will ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible.
Audio Visual Systems
Your audio visual appliances like TVs, speaker systems and home theatre systems, also use a lot of power, so it’s important to be aware of how you’re using them. Having a big screen TV or stereo system playing in the background can use more power than necessary. Instead, use a laptop or tablet and a Bluetooth speaker to stream TV shows or music in the background and save the bigger AV appliances for movie nights.
Even when set to standby mode, your AV appliances can still be using a significant amount of power. Intelligent power point adaptors sense when an appliance goes into standby mode and will block power from the wall socket. This way, you’re not wasting power on unused devices.
Other options include simply turning AV appliances off at the wall when they’re not being used and limiting screen time for the kids (which is good for your power bills and your kids).
Your fridge is one of the few appliances that has to be plugged in and running 24/7. So you want to make sure that it’s not using more power than necessary.
There are a few things you can do minimise your refrigeration costs:
- Check the seals: If your fridge doesn’t seal it will have to do more work to stay cool. You can replace the seals if necessary.
- Ensure proper ventilation: Ventilation space behind the fridge is needed to help it run efficiently. You should also periodically dust the back of the fridge.
- Optimise the temperature: Fridges should be set between 3 and 5°C and freezers at about -18°C.
- Don’t overfill/underfill: Too much in the fridge impedes air flow and not enough means there is a greater volume of space to cool.
FInally, have a look at the Energy Rating Label on your fridge. If you have an old fridge with a low rating, you could consider updating your fridge to a more energy efficient model.
There’s a few real quick and easy options for reducing lighting costs.
- Replace old incandescent bulbs with LED lights. LEDs use much less power and will last much longer.
- Don’t light entire rooms: Instead of using multiple ceiling lights to light a large room, use lamps to light just the necessary areas of the room.
- Use lights as necessary: This one is a no brainer. Turn off lights when you leave the room and only light rooms that are being used.
- Use sensor lights: Instead of leaving security lights on outside all night, invest in outdoor sensor lights.
Water heating is one of the biggest contributors to power consumption. And while hot water is a necessity, there are some obvious things you can do to minimise hot water consumption and save money. Before doing anything else, check the temperature on your hot water thermostat. The optimum temperature is 60°C.
You could also consider using a thermostat timer that lowers your hot water temperature at times of the day when you’re less likely to be using hot water.
Other tips include taking shorter showers, using cold water for laundry and limiting washing up to big loads, rather than filling the sink or using the dishwasher on small loads.
If you’re not sure about your power consumption, you can find out what the average usage for your area is at Energy Made Easy. A licensed electrician can also provide a home energy audit to help you identify areas where you can cut back on your power usage and save some money.