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The cool tax: Australians will waste $396 million on summer aircon habits

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Australians will be forking out millions to keep their homes cool this summer, according to new research from Finder.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,015 respondents found 64% of Australians rely on their aircon to keep cool during the hotter months.

The research shows the average household runs the aircon for 5 hours and 24 minutes a day at an average temperature of 22 degrees, costing households a total of $1.5 billion.

If households bumped up the thermostat to 24 degrees and used it for the same amount of time, they would save a combined $369 million over summer – equivalent to $58 per household.

The research also found 12% of households leave their aircon on for an average of 48 minutes a day when they aren't home.

This habit will cost Aussie homes a cumulative $26 million over the summer months, or $34 per household.

Mariam Gabaji, energy expert at Finder, said there are more efficient ways Aussies can keep cool this summer.

"Leaving your aircon on all day – especially when you aren't home – is the worst thing you can do for your power bill.

"If it's not unbearably hot, turning on a fan or opening the window for a fresh breeze will cool you down at a lower cost.

"When your aircon is on, keep all doors and windows closed to trap in the cold air – or you might as well be throwing money out the window."

Almost 1 in 4 (24%) Australians rated energy bills as one of their top money stresses in November, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker.

That's despite the ACCC's latest electricity market report revealing the cost of supplying electricity to households is the lowest it has been in 8 years.

Gabaji said one of the best ways to save on energy is by switching your energy provider.

"Finder analysis shows this could save you up to $219 each year.

"Using energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen and laundry room can also help to keep your overall energy costs down – leaving more room for you to use the aircon when you need it.

"Standby power use can cost the average household around $100 a year. By switching devices like air conditioners, game consoles and printers off at the wall instead of leaving them on in the background, you could cut down your annual energy bill," Gabaji said.

Millennials are the most likely to leave their aircon running in an empty house (16%), but members of gen Z who do so leave it running for the longest period of time (1.9 hours).

Gen Z are also the biggest culprits when it comes to aircon temperature, choosing 20.4 degrees in comparison to baby boomers' preferred 22.9 degrees.

Men (1.3 hours) leave the aircon on for twice as long as women (0.5 hours) when not at home.

GenerationHours per day (when at home)Hours per day (when not at home)Average aircon temperature (degrees Celsius)
Baby boomers4.90.222.9
Gen X5.20.722.2
Gen Y6.21.321.4
Gen Z5.11.920.4
Source: Finder November survey 2021 of 1,015 respondents

Looking to save money on your energy bill this summer? Here's 4 easy ways to shave up to $416 off your bill.

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