Keeping energy costs down over the hot Summer months doesn’t mean sweltering in the heat.
We are all concerned about rising energy costs and the impact this is having on our household budget. We can make a positive difference to our electricity bill by implementing a few small changes to our choices and routines around the home. Check out these tips to help you save energy and money in your home.
1. Appliances and Equipment
Choose energy efficient appliances and equipment and use them efficiently. Household appliances and equipment account for about 33% of energy consumption and about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the average household. Living on the Sunshine Coast, most homes have air conditioners. We recommend running your AC at no more than 24 degrees Celsius for thermal comfort in summer. Anything higher could increase your cooling costs by as much as 47%.
Something else to consider – on really hot days, consider use program timers to start your AC before the temperature gets too hot. It may sound counterproductive, but by switching your air conditioning unit on during the hottest part of the day means it needs to work much harder and takes longer to cool down the home.
2. LED Lighting
Whilst more expensive to buy initially, energy saving light bulbs will save you money in the long run. Quality LED bulbs consume very low amounts of power, delivering up to 60-70% improvement in energy efficiency per household. They also last 5 to 10 times longer than halogen light bulbs and consume a quarter of the energy to produce the same light output.
– LED bulbs last between 15,000 to 50,000 hrs.
– Halogen bulbs last between 1,000 to 4,000 hrs.
– Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) last approximately 6,000 hrs.
3. Washing Machine – water temperature
90% of the energy used by your Washing Machine will go to heating the water. Using cold or warm water will dramatically reduce your energy costs over time. You may have heard that hot water is the most effective cleaning temperature to remove stains and germs, and although we are not professional cleaners, the consensus online is that cold water is more than up to the challenge of washing everyday laundry. Indeed, it was noted that cold water is actually good for certain clothes – protein stains (blood, sweat) can set in when washed in hot water, and hot water may shrink or wrinkle synthetic fabrics.
4. Reducing the heat in your home
We are lucky to enjoy on average more than 200 days in Queensland annually, so by utilising curtains or blinds you can reduce the amount of unwanted sunlight heat (estimated up to 30%) entering your house through south and west-facing windows. This simple action can save you up to 7% on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. The other two main appliances in our homes that generate heat in the home are dryers and ovens. Consider alternatives to using dryers or leaving ovens on for unnecessary lengths of time.
5. Install Energy Efficient Hot Water Systems and Water and Pool pumps and use them wisely
Connect Off-Peak Tariff’s for pool pumps and electric hot water systems can save you loads in energy and money. **Ask us for more info about Star Rating and kW hour efficiency. You’ll be surprised at the difference this can make to your electricity bill.
6. If it is not in use – Turn it off!
Turn off fans, air-conditioners, lights and TVs in rooms when they are not in use. Don’t leave ovens or dryers on for unnecessary lengths of time – extending energy use when not needed. Take a note of pre-heat times and check dryers periodically when in use – clothes may already be dry.
7. Ask yourself – Do I really need to use the Dryer today?
Dry your clothes naturally on the washing line (we do live in Queensland) instead of in the dryer.
8. A Clean Air-Conditioner works better
Air conditioning maintenance is not a glamorous job, and often forgotten by homeowners. In fact, research reveals that 41% of homeowners have never cleaned their AC filters! This is important because not regularly cleaning your AC filter can contribute to a significant increase in electricity bills.
A poorly maintained air conditioner needs to work much harder to keep the home cool during the hotter months, particularly after running a reverse cycle air conditioner throughout winter. We don’t like to think about it, but over time, a significant volume of dust accumulates on the filter, reduce air flow, and diminishing the performance of the air conditioner. Have your Air-Conditioner cleaned periodically so that it is working to its full potential.
9. Standby Power
Look around your house and you’ll find many appliances: TVs, Computers, Multifunction Printers, microwaves, phone chargers, washing machines, and Blu-Ray players just to name a few. They all consume energy even when you think you’ve turned them off when they are on standby. Take a few minutes now to count the number of appliances in your home and office that are on standby 24/7. Maybe get the kids to help you work it out so that they are engaged and aware too. Although Equipment Energy Efficiency for power consumption is being built into new products, improving overall energy use, we can make a difference in our own power consumption by turning some of these appliances off at the wall.
10. Fridges and Freezers are Energy Hungry Appliances
When you are purchasing new appliances, be sure to choose your fridge and freezer wisely. Make sure it has a good energy consumption rating (see product stickers), and that it is not too big for your needs. When you get it home, choose the location of your fridge and freezer wisely – don’t place your fridge near the oven or in sunlight. Finally, check your seals now and again – they do decay and can eventually need to be replaced.
Ralph Ottmann Electrical is fully qualified to help you with all your electrical needs – home and work. If you would like Ralph to visit your property, to undertake an Energy Audit to see how you can save money, please contact us.
If you have found this list helpful, please share it with your friends and family. With likely increases to energy tariffs never far away, we can all benefit from cheaper electricity bills and at the same time do our bit for our environment.