It’s getting colder and with that comes all higher electricity bills as we turn on the heaters and stay inside longer. But the bill shock doesn’t have to be inevitable, in fact there are a number of clever things you can be doing to conserve power that you may not have realised.
Here’s 13 of the best:
1. Cold wash
It might not sound like an effective way to wash your clothes but the fact of the matter is that it is much more efficient to cold wash. Up to 90 per cent of the electricity used to wash clothes on a hot wash is devoted to heating the water.
2. Check your fridge and freezer temperature
Make sure your fridge and freezer aren’t working overtime. They should be on these temperatures:
Fridge: between 2ºC and 6ºC
Freezer: between -11ºC and -23ºC
3. Use the microwave instead
Cook with a microwave as often as you can during warm weather. They’re inexpensive and use up to 30 per cent less energy than a traditional oven. Plus, they don’t generate heat in the kitchen, so in turn you won’t have to turn on the fan or crank the air con.
4. Candles in bathroom
Use a candle in the bathroom to reduce your need for lighting both at nighttime and during the day. It also makes a pleasant smell to hide odours.
5. Powerpoint timers
You can now buy remote controlled power outlets which encourage you to turn on/off hard to reach power outlets, as well as an eco switch that will automatically turn appliances on or off in 1/2, 1, 3, or 6 hour interval options. And don’t forget the air conditioner’s timer!
6. Change the setting on your fan
If you use your ceiling fan right you can save a lot of money. All you need to do is grab a ladder or chair (be careful!) and switch your fan from the summer setting to winter. The fan will now keep the room much warmer than it does in summer, without making you cold.
7. Turn the lights off
Some people believe you should leave the lights on because it takes more energy to turn them back on than you’ll save by turning them off, but this is false.
Consumer Energy Center found fluorescent lights do take a small surge of power when turned on, but this is significantly smaller than the amount saved by turning them off. It used to be that starting them shortened their life, but again this is not significant. It’s always better to turn off modern lights if leaving the room for more than a minute.
8. Only have a bath as a special treat
Showering uses less energy than taking a bath, so always opt for the shower, and stick a little 4-minute timer in there to conserve energy.
9. Seal up leaks/cracks
When you add up all the small leaks in your home, it has the effect of leaving a window open all year long. To save money on your power bill, you can use inexpensive expanding foam or caulk available at your local hardware store to seal cracks around windows and doors, on the floor (particularly on older wooden floors) and where pipes go into the house. These cracks may look small but are letting out your air conditioning and letting hot air in.
10. Little heaters
Use a smaller heater instead of your reverse cycle air conditioner. Little portable ones can be taken around the home and will save you so much in the long run.
11. Turn off the extra fridge
It’s not summer any more, so turn off that beer fridge! You only really need it in the warmer months so move over some stuff in your kitchen fridge, and put your beers in there.
12. Thick curtains
Use thick curtains to help keep heat in. If you don’t want to change the look of your room, line your existing curtains with fleece.
13. Let sunlight in during the day
Once the sun is up, you want to capture as much of that free heat as possible. Open up your blinds or curtains, and section of rooms of your house that you’ll be in.