You don’t need to completely overhaul your lifestyle to make your home greener and save money on your power bills. There are plenty of small and simple changes you can make that will reduce your power consumption and save you serious money.
1. Turn off lights, devices and appliances at the wall when not in use
You should always turn off any lights, appliances or heating or cooling systems when you leave the house, go to bed, or even if you’re not in the room.
Besides just turning them off, some appliances should be turned off at the wall when not in use. Even in standby mode, appliances can still draw a small amount of power. It may not be much, but over time it can build up and cost you money. Turning these appliances off at the wall will ensure they aren’t using unnecessary power.
Energy saving gadgets, like smart power boards, can recognise when devices are on standby mode, cutting the flow of electricity to that device without cutting off other appliances that are still in use. Using these gadgets on appliances that draw continuous current, like TVs, stereos and laptops, will help to save power without you having to constantly turn them on and off at the wall.
You should also make use of any energy saving features, like automatic sleep modes, on your computers, printers or other appliances, as well as using economy settings on appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers.
2. Be energy smart with your windows
According to YourHome, up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through the windows. Being energy smart with your windows can significantly reduce your reliance on heating and cooling systems, lowering your power bills in the process.
Use curtains and blinds to block out the sun during summer. Make sure your windows are properly sealed to prevent draughts. Home window tinting can also help to filter out UV rays and reduce the amount of heat getting into your home.
3. Switch to LED light bulbs
On average, LED light bulbs can save up to 80% on lighting costs. They can also last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. In most cases, changing over to LED bulbs is as simple as swapping out the old globe for the new. While LED bulbs do cost more than traditional light globes, since they last so much longer and use significantly less power, they will pay for themselves in the long run.
4. Save energy washing and drying laundry
Your washing machine and clothes dryer use a lot of power. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the energy consumption of these two appliances. Using a cold water setting for your washing machine can save you over $100 per year. You should also try to use the shortest possible wash setting and always wait until the machine is full before turning it on, as this will minimise how much you use it.
Clothes dryers use a lot of power and in many cases, they aren’t even necessary. Instead of wasting power using the dryer, hang your clothes out to dry.
5. Take control of heating and cooling
Air conditioners and heaters use a lot of power. In fact, heating can account for over 30% of your power bill in winter. Be smart about how you use your heating and cooling systems.
In winter, set your heating to between 18 and 20 degrees. Every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your heating bill.
In summer, set your air conditioner to around 24 degrees.
Always try to heat or cool the smallest area possible. Some ducted systems allow you to heat or cool specific areas of the house. If you have a system like this, make sure you’re only heating or cooling the rooms that are in use. Remember to keep doors and windows closed to minimise the amount of work your heating/cooling system has to do.
Try to make use of heating and cooling alternatives like fans in summer and extra blankets and heat packs in winter.
6. Get a home energy assessment
Visit Energy Made Easy to find the average energy usage for homes in your area. You can then compare this to your power bill to see if you’re using more energy than the average. You can also have an electrician provide an in-home energy assessment to identify areas around the home where you could be saving energy and reducing your power bills.
These are just the easy, inexpensive ways that you can save energy around your home. If you’re willing to invest a little money, there are plenty of other options including making use of solar power, upgrading your home insulation, installing double glazing and updating old heating and cooling systems.
Remember, reducing your energy consumption will not only save you money; it will also reduce your carbon footprint.