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5 home investments you need to consider

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Households have been warned about rising energy costs and while switching off your heater might help, here are some other things you might want to consider.

Unless you've been living under a rock you will know that we're facing a huge energy crisis at the moment in Australia. Energy providers have been warning us for months now that our bills will be rising, with many even advising customers to join larger companies.

Add these rising energy costs on top of rising inflation and the average household will really be feeling the pinch this year.

For anyone particularly worried about their rising energy bills, there are a few things that can be done beyond simply not switching on the heater so much.

1. Switch to a newer air conditioning unit

You might think that using your air conditioning unit is going to be draining your funds but there are actually ways you can keep cooling or heating your home without breaking the bank.

If you're using an older system, you're likely using more electricity to heat or cool your home, which translates to higher bills. If you switch to a more modern unit, like a reverse cycle air conditioner, they run between 300-600% efficiency and they can increase or decrease the power used as required.

Modern air conditioners tend to have more efficient zoning so you can better control where they are heating or cooling the house, as well as temperature controls and the ability to control them from your phone.

2. Invest in solar panels

Installing solar panels is something that requires an upfront expense, but can reduce your energy costs. According to the Australian Energy Foundation, you could save between 30% and 60% on your electricity bills. With those savings it will generally only take you a few years to recoup the costs of the panels.

If you're worried about the upfront cost, you could always get finance to help make it more affordable. Brighte offers 0% interest finance for a range of sustainable home solutions, including solar.

Borrow up to $30,000 with 0% interest and spread the cost out anywhere between 6 months and 5 years. There's just a $2.15 account-keeping fee.

Brighte also partners with more than 2,100 accredited solar installers to make the entire solar journey simple and convenient.

3. Insulate your home

In a country like Australia where you want your home to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, having the right insulation is paramount. Unfortunately, not all homes are insulated the right way.

But good insulation will keep the warm air from escaping in winter and the heat from entering in summer - meaning you don't need to spend so much on heating and cooling your home.

In fact, Sustainability Victoria calls it "the cornerstone of an energy efficient home", adding it can reduce costs of heating and cooling by 40-50%. It recommends that it should be included in new builds and renovations, but is also an easy thing to include in a quick renovation.

There are different ways you can insulate your home, with ceiling insulation, floor insulation and wall insulation. Even if you're looking for a quick fix, you can start by ensuring the seals of your doors and windows are secure.

4. Get a meter to look at electricity usage

If you don't want to make any drastic improvements to your home, you can install an electricity monitoring device.

They display real-time information on your electricity consumption allowing you to assess how much electricity you're using to help you make informed decisions about where you can cut back.

You can set certain devices to sound an alarm when your household goes over a pre-set energy usage.

You can also choose to monitor the whole home, or selected areas like hot water or air conditioning.

5. Change your light bulbs to LEDs

You would be surprised how much difference changing the type of lightbulbs you have in your house can make. Even if you have solar panels, the electricity you use at night can still push up your electricity bill - and when do you tend to use light bulbs? At night.

LEDs use 75% less power than incandescent and halogen light bulbs and they last longer too. Although they cost a little more to buy, energy.gov.au says the payback from that cost is normally less than a year.

It adds that by replacing 10 halogen light bulbs with LEDs, an average household could save around $650 over 10 years on their electricity bill.

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