Requires a change in behaviour or habits
Quick tips that don't take much work, money or time to implement
A medium or large investment of time or money that should pay off in the long term
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From our research, the best way to save on energy is by switching your energy provider. Here are 4 energy-saving ideas you could take, ranked by how much you can save ($415 in total):
Seal doors and window gaps with gap fillers or draught excluders.
Seal gaps around skirting boards, ceilings and air vents.
Add insulation to walls and your roof.
Appliances in Australia use the Energy Rating system – more stars mean higher efficiency. A more efficient device usually costs more upfront, but pays off over time. Here are the 5 most expensive appliances in your home that are worth investing in and costs to run per year:
Air-conditioner – $110.88 per year
Television – $94.64 per year
Refrigerator – $92.40 per year
Clothes dryer – $87.92 per year
Dishwasher – $64.40 per year
Close the curtains or draw the blinds on hot, sunny days.
Install lined curtains to block airflow as well as heat.
Install eaves to shade summer sun, while allowing winter sun in.
Add vines or another leafy plant to shade the sunniest side.
Close vents and doors to empty rooms when cooling or heating.
Pre-cool your house with cool air from outside the night before a hot day.
Shut the AC off when leaving the house for more than an hour.
Clean your AC's filters every few months for lower energy consumption.
Shade your AC's external compressor unit to increase efficiency.
Ensure you have the right size AC unit for your house.
Turn off lights when leaving the room.
Replace your bulbs. Fluorescent light bulbs are 4 to 6 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. LED lights use 75% less energy and can last 8 times longer.
Switch off your hot water system if leaving the house for more than a week.
Set the water heat to between 60 and 65℃.
Switch off your hot water system if leaving the house for more than a week.
Unplug power-hungry devices when not in use – specifically those that drain tons of power even in sleep mode. This includes game consoles, televisions, set-top entertainment boxes and computers.
Microwaves can cook food up to 3 times faster than a standard oven, and use 70% less electricity. Consider this if it won't ruin the food.
Boil only as much water as you need in the kettle instead of heating up extra you won't use.
Pressure cookers use half the energy of a standard oven, and might work for you.
Thaw food before cooking it to reduce wasted energy.
Use a lid when you can if you're cooking food – this raises the internal temperature and cooks food faster.
Preheat only when necessary, and keep it as short as possible. Preheating for long periods of time is a total waste of energy.
Keep your oven door closed as much as possible. Each time you open it, it drops the temperature by up to 20 degrees.
Don't pre-rinse your dishes – just scrape off any solid food and let the dishwasher handle the rest.
Only run your dishwasher with a full load. It uses the same amount of water and power no matter how full it is, so the bigger the load, the better.
Skip the drying cycle – this consumes a huge amount of power to dry your dishes. Instead, open the door after washing and let the dishes air dry instead.
Use the eco setting (if your dishwasher has one) to save on power.
Make sure your refrigerator is in as cool a place as possible. This makes it easier for it to do its job.
Ensure there's good ventilation at the back of the refrigerator. This makes it more efficient.
Replace fridge seals if they're losing their grip. A poor seal leaks air and forces the fridge to work much harder.
Showers over baths. A 5-minute shower uses about 45 litres of water, while a bath takes between 50 and 150 litres to fill.
Fix dripping taps. A hot water tap dripping at 1 drip per second could waste up to $25 per year.
Upgrade your shower head to a AAA-rated water efficient model. This saves on both water and energy bills (from hot water).
Insulate exposed copper pipes with rubber tubing (known as lagging) to reduce heat loss from storage water heaters.
Install a solar-boosted hot water unit and cut your hot water costs by about 90% on sunny days.
Wash your clothes in cold water. Up to 90% of energy used by washing machines goes towards heating water, making cold washes far more economical. They also work just as well unless your clothes are heavily soiled.
Front-loader washing machines are mostly superior to top-loaders. They are more gentle on clothes and spin more water out when drying. They use up to 70% less water and energy, too.
Cover your pool or spa when it's not in use. This helps it maintain its temperature and prevents debris falling into the pool.
Use a timer to turn your filter pump on and off. This saves you on general maintenance and filter costs.
Invest in a solar heater for your pool/spa. These take water from your pool, use the sun to heat it, and circulate it back into the pool. A digital controller helps maintain a consistent temperature.
Install motion sensors on your outdoor lighting and security equipment. This ensures it will only turn on when in use.
Replace your bulbs. As with indoor lights, replacing everything with fluorescent or LED bulbs can cut their energy consumption by 75% or more.
As long as you don't live in Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Western Australia or outside of south-east Queensland, you will have a choice of energy retailers. Even if you can't pick between providers, you'll have a choice of contracts with different types of rates.
You can use Finder's online energy comparison tool to help you find the providers and plans best suited for you, wherever you live. Remember to be careful when choosing a contract — if it doesn't match your lifestyle and needs, you could end up paying more than you would otherwise.
Finally, you can shorten your billing cycle to pay monthly. This won't drive down costs, but it can help you avoid large tri-monthly shock bills and help you budget more effectively.
Rebates and Concessions Australia
Many households are entitled to reduced energy costs through government rebate and concession programs. See if you are eligible.
So, how can you save? Here are 3 steps to starting your energy saving journey.
Understand what's driving up the price of electricity, and how your house and lifestyle affect your own bill. This guide can help with your research.
Investigate your household's energy use to understand the biggest contributors to your electricity bill. Search around your house to find energy "hotspots" – devices that are consuming large amounts of power.
Make sure to shop between different electricity and gas providers in your area for the best deal. Sign a contract with a variable rate that suits your lifestyle and power-usage patterns. Consider installing smart meters on some appliances or purchasing more energy-efficient devices than you have now.
Once you have a basic picture of your energy consumption, including when and how you use the most energy, you can go deeper into managing it:
Power's most expensive when everyone else is using it, usually from 7am-10pm daily. Here are 2 ways to profit off consuming power when no one else is:
Aside from making sure you're on a better value plan, there are a few things you can do to ensure you save on energy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are on a "time of use plan" – as in, your provider charges you more during peak periods and less during off-peak periods – plan your energy use around this.
For example, do your washing early in the morning or late at night (off-peak) if possible, or at the very least, avoid doing it during the evening.
As an example, here are the off-peak hours for customers in the Ausgrid region (winter):
|Peak period||5pm to 9pm||Most expensive|
|Shoulder period||7am to 5pm||In between|
|Off-peak period||9pm to 7am||Least expensive|
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