10 Smart ways to save electricity this summer so your wallet doesn't break out in a sweat.
With the Australian summer in full force, soaring temperatures are being felt all over the country.
And while many Australians enjoy the summer months, trying to keep cool in hot weather can result in an unwelcome spike in our energy bills.
With the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) finding average electricity prices have increased as much as 40 per cent in the last five years, it's even more important for Australians to find savings where they can this summer.
These easy bill reducing and energy saving tips will help you keep your cool this scorching summer:
1. Find the most competitive energy supplier
Using energy each summer is inevitable but that doesn’t mean you can’t lessen your electricity bill. Compare electricity providers in your suburb to find the most competitive rate and switch. The savings you make will save you this summer, and continue on throughout the rest of the year.
You can use Moneyhound to compare energy suppliers in your area. First enter your postcode or suburb to narrow your search and enter the details of your past electricity usage (which can be found on an old electricity bill), or enter the number of people in your household. This information will estimate the potential savings you could make each year should you change to other providers on offer.
For example, Moneyhound calculates a household of four in a three bedroom house in Sydney’s west could save more than $1,100 a year by switching energy suppliers.
Related: How to switch power suppliers
2. Keep air-conditioning use to a minimum
According to NSW Government’s SavePower, air conditioning in NSW makes up 40 per cent of all electricity used in summer. However, it may be wishful thinking to go without an air conditioner in our sunburnt country.
It is possible to use air conditioning but keep power bills to a minimum. Keeping the temperature of your air conditioning between 23 to 26 degrees will be cool enough while using less energy. If you try to combat heat on a thermostat of 16 or 18 degrees you are making your air conditioner work on over drive. SavePower says raising your air conditioner temperature by one degree can drop your power use by 10 per cent.
3. Use blinds and curtains
When you're not a home the hot afternoon sun can quickly warm up the inside of your house. Use blinds or curtains during this time to block out the scorching heat and keep your home cool for when you return.
4. Keep your home well ventilated
A flow of air through your home can help keep your home cool before it gets too hot that the air conditioner is necessary. Open windows on opposite ends of your home so that cool air can travel through from one side of the home to the other.
5. Buy energy-efficient appliances
If you are looking for a new air conditioner or other whitegood, it can be cheaper in the long-term to buy an appliance with a higher energy efficiency rating. Appliances such as air conditioners, clothes washers, fridges and dishwashers will come with a star rating that compares the energy use of that model. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance.
Choosing an appliance with a higher energy efficiency rating will mean your energy bills will be smaller since you will be using less electricity.
6. Tinted windows
Tinted windows can keep your home cool by blocking out the summer sun. These can be a great addition to curtains and blinds, or an alternative to these. Tinted windows work by reflecting part of the sun’s heat. You don't need new window panes, there are specialist window tinting companies that will put a special film over the outside of your windows in order to block out the heat and also the glare.
7. Use fans
Upright fans or ceiling fans are a cheaper alternative to air conditiong. Remember that fans did a fine job before air conditioning came along. Use fans when possible instead of air conditioning as their lower energy consumption means you can cut down on your energy bills.
Related: Benefits of the Carbon Tax explained
8. Seal gaps around the home
Drafts under doors and around windows can let hot air into your home and allow your air conditioning efforts to escape. You can easily seal these gaps using foam tape or rubber adhesive tubing from your local hardware store. These improvements to your home will also keep your home warmer in winter.
9. Add some shade
Extra shade from awnings or a roof sail can help to cool down your home and or permit you to enjoy the outdoors more comfortably. Awnings on a wall or a window work by absorbing the light instead of allowing the sunshine to reach the wall or window and heat up the home. A retractable awning will allow you to move the structure so you can allow natural light to warm up the home in the winter months.
Bulk insulations or batts can also be used to keep your home cool in summer. These work by trapping air between the fibres so heat can’t be transferred as easily through the roof and into the home. A variety of materials can be used to insulate the home, each with a corresponding R-value that shows how resistant it is to heat flow. A higher R-value means better insulation, and this will help keep heat in during winter too, saving energy usage.
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