26 April 2016
Earlier this year we outlined in our blog how to understand your power bill as well as change provider to help you pay less for your electricity. Today we’re bringing you a raft of practical energy and money saving tips so simple to implement, you’ll wonder why you never thought of them yourself!
To make things fun, pull out your most recent electricity bill and find your average daily consumption. Then look at the table above to see whether you’re using more or less electricity compared with similar households in Victoria. Here’s an interesting online calculator from SwitchOn that provides an even more accurate comparison.
For our family of five we’ve learned that our daily electricity consumption is 25% higher than average households, according to the SwitchOn calculator. Gulp!
Armed with the knowledge that we use more power than most, we returned to our trusted energy expert, Lois Schmidt, sustainability advisor at SuniTAFE, to draw upon her knowledge of practical day-to-day energy saving advice.
- Turn down your heating’s thermostat by 1-2 degrees
In winter, heating can account for over 30% of your bill, so anything you can do to reduce this will soften the blow when the mid-year bill arrives.
Did you know that every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your winter heating bill?
“Why do we heat our homes to 28 degrees in winter and cool them to 20 degrees in summer?” asks Lois. Set your thermostat to 18-20 degrees in winter and 26 degrees and above in summer to save money.”
See also 8 low-cost ways to keep your home warm this winter on the Wood & Co blog.
- Charge mobile devices at off-peak times while you’re sleeping
While everybody knows that appliances and white goods with a higher star-rating use less energy, there are other things you can do to save money that won’t cost you a cent.
“We tend to charge our mobile phones, iPads and laptops every day don’t we? We often do it as soon as we get home from work. Have you ever stopped to think that if you charge these devices while you’re sleeping at night (after 11pm) you’ll pay off-peak rates instead of peak. Multiply this by 365 days a year and the savings add up” says Lois.
- Unplug mobile phone chargers from wall when not in use
“Pull that charger out of the wall when you’re not using it – it’s still using standby power even when there isn’t a device attached!” adds Lois.
- If it’s on standby, switch it off at the wall
The average Victorian household has over 60 plug in appliances, according to Sustainability Victoria, and that number is predicted to rise.
TVs, VCRs, DVD players, set top boxes, games consoles, computers and monitors, home theatre systems, printers and scanners all go into stand-by mode when not in use but continue to use electricity while the stand-by light remains on. You can go even further and turn off your wifi modem at night and even the digital clock on your oven and microwave if you’re committed to further reducing your power bill!
- If you won’t unplug your second fridge, keep it full
Do you have a second fridge in the garage? If so, it’s probably an old, energy-inefficient clunker but did you know that a full fridge uses less electricity than a half-empty or empty fridge? So if you can’t live without your second fridge, at least try to keep it full!
- Wash clothes in cold water at off-peak times
Did we mention you can save up to $115 a year by washing your clothes in cold water?
You’ll save even more if you’re prepared to do your washing at off-peak times (before 7am or after 11pm weekdays or anytime on the weekend).
Bonus tip: Switch to LED globes from halogen lighting
Lighting contributes to a significant part of your power bill. If you’re still using halogen globes then you might as well write a blank cheque to your power company! Read our Save hundreds of dollars by changing to energy efficient lighting blog post and reduce your lighting costs by 80% when you switch to LED globes. You’ll pay a bit upfront to switch to the costlier LED globes but you’ll win in the long run with lower bills. If money’s tight, begin by just changing over the globes in the room you spend the most time in.
Want to save even more money? Here are 10 ways to save energy from switchon.gov.au.
Households can save up to $600-$800 on electricity by switching from the worst to the best offer according to research from St Vincent de Paul.
With power bills set to skyrocket the moment we switch our heaters on for autumn and winter, now’s the perfect time to get on to Government-approved comparison sites to find the best deal.
Victorian residents should jump on to SwitchOn and if you live in New South Wales go to EnergyMadeEasy.