Monday, 14 September 2015
Posted by Shubhda Khanna Nag
With winter energy costs eating up a chunk of your household budget, spring brings the perfect opportunity to get your home ready for a brand new energy-efficient season.
Start off with our list of 11 savvy spring energy tips and remember to pat yourself on the back when you receive the bill for this quarter.
How long has it been since you last compared the energy plans available in your area? If it’s been a while, chances are, you can find a better deal and potentially save hundreds! Just type in your postcode into Mozo’s free energy comparison tool, and switch to a cheaper plan before summer.
Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean you don’t need to value it. Especially for those of you living in areas with cool nights, it totally makes sense to leave the windows open in the evening and let the breeze cool your home naturally. Same goes for using sunlight instead of light globes during the day.
Are you already making a mental excuse for tip number 1 thinking that your windows aren’t well equipped for this natural inflow of light and air? Don’t worry, many windows lead to heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. You can easily fix this by adding awnings, blinds, draperies or reflective films to limit the heat.
Now we’re not expecting you survive on love and fresh air all through spring and summer. The Aussie sun can shine a tad too bright for that sometimes. But between the windows and the aircon is that wonderful invention called a fan. If you live in your own home, consider installing ceiling fans and if you’re a renter you can go for a pedestal one. It’s good for air circulation and your energy bill.
There’s nothing worse for your spring/summer energy bill than an old and badly maintained air conditioner. It’s a smart idea to regularly clean or replace air filters to keep the cooling system at its most efficient. The other thing you should check is the aircon’s evaporator coil, which generally needs a cleaning every year. According to the government website, Your Energy Savings, on average across Australia, 40% of the energy we use at home is for heating and cooling. And that’s not including heating water. Now that’s reason enough to be more careful with the oh-so-convenient aircon.
When you do use the air conditioner, don’t be reckless with the temperatures. Ideally, the smaller the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the less it’s likely to cost you. According to the South Australian Government website, every 1 degree higher for heating and 1 degree lower for cooling adds 10% to the running costs of your appliance. So setting the thermostat at a temperature way lower than the normal temperature can crank up your bill considerably.
Air leaks through ducts can lead to the cooling system having to work harder than required, which ultimately leads to higher costs. That’s why it is important that you seal any leaks to make sure the insulation is not getting affected.
We understand your laundry is a personal matter, but it can have a huge impact on your home’s collective carbon footprint. And one of the easiest ways to reduce it is by washing your clothes in cold water. Hot water won’t clean your clothes much better but it will lead to more energy being used at your home. Unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically ask you to wash a particular piece of clothing in warm water, there’s really no need to do that.
With bright sunshine making its way back into Australia, it would be truly pointless to feed into the dryer’s cost. According to Origin Energy, you can save around $130 a year by drying your clothes on a line instead of a dryer.
Waiting to stock up the fridge with ice creams and beer for the warmer days? Not so fast! First of all, clean out your fridge and throw away all those old things that your fridge is cooling unnecessarily and wasting its energy. Then make sure the condenser coils are clean and there’s no dust pulling down the motor’s efficiency. The recommended temperatures for an energy efficient fridge is between 3 degree Celsius and 5 degree Celsius and for a freezer it is between -15 degree Celsius and -18 degree Celsius.
Yes, you read that right. Using heating appliances can actually heat up your home as well. Things like the oven and even incandescent lights can turn a percentage of the electricity they use into heat. Just stick to the stove or microwave on warmer days instead.
So are you ready to welcome spring? Tell us if you come up with any more cool ideas to save on energy this season.