Seasonal tips to help you save money on your home energy bills
Save energy in any weather
Like many things in life, your energy bills can have their ups and downs. And changing seasons can often mean changing bills.
Whether you’re basking in the Queensland sunshine or cosying up in chilly Victoria, we’ve got some simple home energy saving tips to help you take control of your energy use, and your electricity and gas bills – whatever the weather.
Summer: 7 simple energy saving tips to help reduce electricity bills
Hot days mean icy poles, beach days and barbies. But balmy summer days also mean that aircon, fans, fridges and freezers need to work harder.
These simple energy saving tips will help you stay cool when your summer energy bill arrives.
- Clean your air conditioner. Carefully cleaning your air conditioner’s dust filters could mean improved energy efficiency and lower running costs.
- Avoid aircon after dark. On cooler summer nights, use the timer to turn the unit off when you’re asleep. And for those hot nights, try to only cool the rooms that are occupied – some ducted cooling systems allow you choose which rooms you cool.
- Go low and slow with your AC. Resist the temptation to turn your aircon on full blast. Cranking the AC won’t cool the room down any faster – it will simply waste electricity. Instead, set your air conditioner to around 25 to 27°C with a moderate fan speed.
- Bring out the barbie. On warmer days, use an outdoor grill to cook up a storm while keeping the heat out of your home.
- Solar power your laundry. Make the most of bright, sunny days by drying your clothes outside instead of using the clothes dryer. Not only will you dramatically reduce your energy consumption, but your laundry will get a free dose of stain-removing, bacteria-killing sunshine.
- Control the sunlight in your home. Summer sun streaming through the windows sounds romantic, but if you want to show your energy bills some love, try blocking sunlight heat by closing blinds and curtains to help keep your home cool, naturally.
- Make a savings splash with your pool. A pool is high on the summer-fun list, but can be responsible for higher energy costs. Use a small, high-efficiency pool pump and reduce the filtration time to 6 hours a day to keep your pool clean and save on energy.
Winter: 7 simple energy saving tips to help reduce electricity bills
Colder, darker days mean cosy nights in and crisp winter walks. But cooler weather can also keep you inside and increase your use of lights, heating, TV, computers, and clothes dryers. All of which can impact your bills.
These quick tips will help you keep electricity and gas costs down and ensure your energy bills don’t ‘heat up’ during the cooler months.
- Make every degree count. Set your aircon to 18-21°C in winter. Every degree outside this range can add up to 10% to your heating costs. Turn your heating off at night, use the timer setting and when the heater’s on, shut doors to areas you're not using.
- Harness the winter sun. On sunny winter days, make sure you’re throwing open those curtains and switching off artificial lights. Close blinds and curtains as soon as the sun sets to trap the heat in and switch to LED lights to help save.
- Sleep easier with energy savings. Cold nights keeping you awake? Ditch the electric blanket and use a hot water bottle and/or winter doona for a cheaper but cosy night’s sleep.
- Wash smart and save. Wash full loads of laundry in cold water – according to Energy Rating, the average top loader costs $140 more per year to wash exclusively in warm water compared to cold. And don’t forget, tumble dryers are big energy suckers, so make use of the winter sun and wind when you can.
- Shorten your hot showers. When temperatures drop, it’s tempting to take a long hot shower to warm up. But staying in the shower for longer could be costly – hot water accounts for around 25% of the average winter energy bill.
- Draught-proof your home. According to Sustainability Victoria, up to 25% of your home’s winter heat loss is caused by drafts. Use draft strips or excluders around doors and windows and cover evaporative cooling outlets – clear contact is cost-effective and works a treat (remove before using again).
- Avoid your oven. Ovens are notorious energy guzzlers. Most slow and pressure cookers are more energy efficient so use these appliances to make warming winter dishes. And if you do use your oven, batch cook to save on running costs.
Comparing your seasonal energy bills
Whatever the season, make sure you’re comparing your current energy bill with the same time last year to get a true picture of your seasonal energy use.
And remember, if you’ve received a bill that’s higher than you expected, it may not be because of the weather. Our troubleshooting checklist highlights the other main factors that could affect your bill and can help you understand why your bill may have changed.
Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources), Energy.gov.au
Victorian Energy Saver, Top 10 ways to save on energy bills
Commonwealth of Australia (E3 Program), www.energyrating.gov.au
Canstar Blue, What is your air con temperature setting costing you?
Sustainability Victoria, Draught proofing a home