Here’s 4 ways to save money on energy in Autumn
For most of the country, summer is long gone. With torrential rainfall across most of the eastern seaboard, and temperatures beginning to fall, your requirements for energy around the home are likely to reflect this new season.
The big story for most of 2022 has been the rising cost of living. In everything from home loans to energy bills, saving money and adapting to life’s challenges is still super important.
So here are a few tips to manage the change from summer to autumn.
Deal with the bill from summer
Get this one out of the way first. This wasn’t Australia’s hottest summer on record, and the later months of February were remarkably mild across the eastern seaboard.
That being said, with pool pumps and air conditioning likely to be running more often than not, the summer electricity hit could be coming soon, if it hasn’t already.
One thing to keep in mind when a big energy bill comes in is to check if it's based on a real meter read, or an estimated usage.
If your electricity retailer has just made an estimate and it's wrong, you can try correcting it by sending a time-stamped photo of the real meter and emailing it to them.
Be prepared for hot or cold
It can be difficult to prepare for autumn temperatures in Australia because it's so variable. If you’re in Melbourne, you’re probably used to dealing with all 4 seasons in a single day.
Between random late-summer scorchers, or rainy downpours, the rest of the country can see a big variation - which means you’ll either be trying to keep your house cool, or keep the heat in.
Since the last months of heavy flooding has put an early end to summer, if you still want advice on how to beat the heat can be found on our summer energy tips page.
Basic energy saving in cooler weather
While it's not fully winter yet, now might be the time to get into good energy habits for the cold months ahead.
- If you’ve got central heating, try setting your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C.
If you live somewhere a little warmer, try a temperature between 25°C and 27°C. Each degree of increase in your home’s heating or cooling could increase your energy use anywhere from 5% to 10%.
- Turn off your appliances at the wall! Its generic advice but all of that standby power could account for about 3% of your power bill.
All of these tips are incremental improvements, but with some discipline and effort they can really pay off in the long run.
- Avoid using the dryer if you can: try to use clothes racks in heated rooms, or outdoors while the good weather lasts.
This one is a little bit optimistic in the era of la Niña, but dryers are serious energy sinks, so it could be worth giving a shot!
Home upgrades to save energy
One characteristic of Australian houses is that many older buildings and homes are badly prepared for cold weather. Call it a part of Australia’s naturally optimistic outlook - but there could be some major savings on energy and heating with a little work.
And we’re not talking about high-alcohol beer. Draught-proofing is a cheap way to keep your home warm while saving up to 25% on your heating bills. Draughts can occur where gaps let cold air in or warm air escape.
Look for gaps around:
- skirting boards
- Insulation brings dramatic savings in heating costs.
- Up to 50% of heating can leak out through gaps in and around ceilings, walls and floors.
- There are many types of insulation available.
- Suitability depends on your location and roof type - Research about insulation.
- Windows can release up to 40% of heating energy in your home.
- You can improve window efficiency with curtains and blinds.
- Use heavy fabrics or curtains with thermal lining or layers.
- According to the Australian Government, improving the glazing on your windows can be the most effective way to save energy around the home.
The market for energy deals shifts and changes often as different providers try to compete and undercut each other for the lowest energy prices.
Beyond making some simple changes to the home, another useful way of saving on your energy bill could be to change providers.