There are many ways to conserve your household energy, which will also save on your energy bills. Here we explore many tips for the home and its different areas.
Making small changes throughout your home and the way you use your electricity can considerably conserve your household energy and save on your next energy bill. Here we explore tips for the home, both holistically and area by area throughout your home to help you conserve electricity and also save you money.
Lighting is responsible for around 10 per cent of the average household electricity bill. You can replace old light bulbs with more energy efficient LED light bulbs, use natural light when and where possible, turn lights off in the rooms not being used and use lamps instead of main lights when only needing a small amount of light – all of which could save hundreds of dollars a year.
Appliances contribute up to 30% of your household’s energy use. The appliances that consume the most electricity include washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators, hair dryers, microwaves, irons, dishwashers, heating and cooling, electric kettles, vacuums and televisions. Reducing consumption with the main energy users will have the biggest impact.
Set your fridge between 3°C and 5°C, and your freezer between -15°C and -18°C and keep them full, as this will use less electricity. If you have a second fridge, turn it off when it’s not in use. Get rid of your second fridge or turn it off when it is not in use.
When using appliances like washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers make sure you do a full load and put them on the shortest cycle or economy cycle.
Older appliances may use up to 3 times more electricity than newer models. If you need to buy a new appliance always look at the energy rating. Visit here for a simple and easy to read guide on the energy rating star system www.energyrating.gov.au/document/guide-energy-rating-label Remember that the rule of thumb is the more stars, the more efficient it is.
Hot Water Systems
Heating your water can contribute to around 15-27% of your energy bills. Getting the temperature right can save on energy consumption. The recommended temperature setting for thermostats on a storage hot water systems is 60°C and it should be no more than 50°C on instant hot water systems.
If you go away for more than a week turning off your storage hot water system can save energy and money. Just remember to allow enough time for it to reheat when you get home!
Switch off at the wall
Leaving appliances on standby can add up a lot at the end of the year, as appliances still consume energy when not in use. Best practice to conserve this wasted standby energy is to turn off appliances such as the TV, DVD player, computer, game console and stereo at the wall when not in use.
A power board can simplify this, as it supplies electricity to multiple appliances at the same time and makes for easy switching off of multiple appliances with the one switch.
Heating and cooling
Your air conditioner runs best economically when it is set between 24°C and 26°C in summer and in winter between 18°C and 20°C. Every degree outside of these ranges adds 10% to your cooling and heating costs.
Only use heating and cooling units that are the right size for the area needing heating and cooling. And close doors to rooms that aren’t being used. Keep the heat in or out as best you can. A lot of heating or cooling escapes through glass windows, so close your curtains, and blinds and draught proof your home by sealing up any gaps or cracks and using door stoppers and consider applying weather seals to any applicable draught areas.
Adjust the settings on your heating and cooling units, if you have adjustable louvres adjust them towards the ceiling when cooling, and towards the floor when heating (as cool air falls and hot air rises).
Turn off the air conditioner and open windows at night to let air circulate and cool the house down. Always use fans where possible, instead of air conditioners.
Use extra blankets, electric blankets, heat bags or hot water bottles to warm up in the bedroom, rather than heating these areas.
An insulated ceiling can make a big difference to your energy bills. Check that your roof has appropriate insulation for effective heating and cooling.
After an initial cost outlay, solar energy can be one of the best ways to conserve energy and save money. Installed solar panels mounted to your roof can convert the sunlight into energy and save money in the long run.
Solar hot water systems are also a very efficient way to conserve energy, and the technology is constantly evolving.
Ways to be more efficient and save in the different areas in the home
- Only run the dishwasher when full and use an economy or shortest time setting when possible.
- Thaw your food naturally in the fridge rather than using appliances to do this.
- When cooking on the stove top always use lids on pans as this contains the heat and speeds up the cooking process.
- When using an oven, avoid continuously opening the door as this releases the heat.
- Set your fridge and freezers to the ideal temperatures.
- Keep fridges and freezers in a cool, well-ventilated spot away from the oven and the sun to save electricity. Keep a five-centimetre gap around your fridge so air can circulate freely.
- Use lower water temperatures when washing or rinsing dishes.
- Always run your washing machine with a full load, to cut down on the amount of loads you wash.
- Use cold water to wash clothes.
- Instead of drying your clothes in a clothes dryer, use a clothesline or an indoor clothes racks.
- If you have to use a dryer, then make sure your clothes are spun dry or wrung out well first and use the dryer with a full load.
- If your hot water system allows it, set your hot water at a reasonable level.
- Keep your showers to under 5 minutes long.
- Install water saving showerheads.
- Minimise the use of any heat globes in bathroom lighting.
- Consider solar lights or sensor lights rather than leaving outside lights on overnight.
- Use programmable timers and sensors to light outside areas.
Always maintain your large appliances for more efficient use. For example, changing the filter in your air conditioner when needed saves electricity, as does removing lint from your clothes dryer, as this allows them to run to their best efficiency. A fridge can be used more efficiently by keeping door seals clean and repaired if broken, as your fridge may be leaking cold air which will cost you more to run.
Check the user guides and manuals for your maintenance required on appliances.