The 10 biggest energy sucks in your home

Friday, 10 April 2015

Posted by Mozo

Ever opened an envelope from your power company only to be left gobsmacked by the total amount of your electricity bill? We’ve all been there.

The good news is that saving electricity isn’t hard. It’s just a matter of identifying the energy sucks in your home, and finding more energy efficient alternatives. If you walk around your house wondering “why is my electricity bill so high?”, here are the top ten likely culprits:

1. Incandescent light bulbs

Swap your old bulbs for more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, or even LEDs. While fluoros were once criticised for emitting harsh light, they are now available in a range of colours or shades such as soft white, warm white as well as wattage to suit your lighting tastes.

And, of course, turn the lights off when you leave a room. LEDs might use less energy than traditional bulbs, but no light bulb is as energy efficient as one that is switched off.

2. Floorplan

Sometimes the surprises on your electricity bill aren’t just caused by what you put in your house, but by your house itself.

Consider some energy-saving renovations to improve insulation and give your house more natural light (skylights are a great way to achieve this). Of course there are some upfront costs to making physical changes to your home but over the long run they are much more economical.

A quick fix for saving electricity could be as simple as making sure you set out each room to make the most of the space and aspect of your home. Put a chair by the window if you like to read during the day so that you can use the natural sunlight rather than using a light for instance.

3. Old home appliances

You can save significantly on your electricity use by updating some of the ‘big ticket’ items in your house (e.g the fridge and washing machine) to more energy efficient models. Check out the Australian Government’s energy rating website to compare the energy ratings of different brands.

4. Air conditioning/heating

We don’t go outside expecting it to always be a comfortable 25 degrees, so why do we think it’s okay to keep our homes at a consistent temperature all year round? Dressing seasonally (cotton in summer, warm woolies in winter) when inside is a smart way to beat cooling and heating costs.

And when it’s hot opt for the fan over the aircon, as research by Origin Energy shows fans use 85% less energy than an air conditioner.

5. The pool

While cooling off in the pool can be an alternative to blasting the air con in summer, maintaining a personal pool is hardly an energy efficient exercise.

But if you have a pool and you want to save on your electricity bill one of the best options is to heat your pool with solar power and use a pool pump timer to help reduce energy consumption. And for all of those leaves that need to be cleaned out, rather than opting for the automatic pool cleaners, pull up your sleeves and give the arms a workout with an old-fashioned but environmentally friendly pool leaf scoop.

6. Powerpoints

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, but if you want to save money on electricity make sure you remember to turn off electronic devices at the powerpoint when you finish using them.

If you have so many powerpoints that trying to turn them all off before bed will keep you up until 6am the next day, don’t fret. Consolidate your cords using a power strip and just turn off the power strip each night.

7. Stand-by

It takes a lot of energy to power that little red dot your TV and laptop show when they’re on ‘stand by’, so make sure you shut them down completely when you’re not using them to save on electricity costs. You can even use energy efficient power boards to schedule some grouped appliances (such as TVs, DVD player and xBox) to start up and shut down only when the master appliance is switched on.

8. The oven

According to Energy Australia, microwaves use less energy than traditional electric ovens. So, if you’re whipping up something that could be cooked in either, always go for the microwave.

9. The lint collector (really!)

The lint collector in your clothes dryer might look unassuming but, when it’s full, it obstructs airflow to your clothes, forcing you to run the dryer for longer. Clean it out every week or so and you could be surprised by the reduction in your electricity bill next time it lands in your letterbox or inbox.

10. Doing household chores at the wrong time

By doing your chores when the sun goes down, appliances that generate heat (the oven, the dishwasher etc.) can help to warm your house at night, reducing the amount of energy you need to spend on heating costs.

Another great incentive to start doing your chores after dark is off-peak electricity rates, which are offered by most electricity providers (depending on your meter type) for energy use after a certain time. So even if you technically aren’t using less energy, you’ll be paying less money.

Want to compare energy plans in your area to find the cheapest for you? Try our energy comparison tool to see how much you could save by switching.

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