10 ways to save energy in your home
The best way to see a reduction on your electricity prices is to cut back on the biggest energy users in your home.
Australia's Department of Industry says hot water, heating and cooling, refrigeration and other electrical appliances are the items that contribute the most to your energy bill.
Here are some top tips to help you reduce the amount you use in these areas.
Around a quarter of the average Australian's household spending goes towards heating water, so it's an area where significant cutbacks can be made.
There are two types of hot water systems - storage water heaters and instantaneous systems. The former heats water and stores it so it can be used when it's needed and the latter only heats water as required, without the use of a storage tank.
To save energy, a good step is to reduce the amount of water used through shorter showers and ensuring taps are turned off when not needed.
Another way to save in this area is to ensure you have the right system for your needs as an overly large tank will cost you more to run.
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you are heating your home as efficiently as possible.
Open your curtains during the day in winter to let sun in but close them at night to trap the warmth.
Rather than turning on heaters, the best way to keep warm without raising electricity prices through the roof is to put more clothes on or cuddle up under a blanket.
To reduce the amount of mechanical cooling - or using air conditioning units, fans and heat pumps to cool down - there are a few other options to consider.
Shade your windows from the heat of the summer sun. Awnings, roller blinds and eaves can go a long way to prevent the sun's rays leaking into your home by creating a barrier against the heat.
Your curtains can also stop the heat from entering your home. Keep them closed during the day when the sun hits the windows.
However, in the evening,let a refreshing breeze in to cool down your home naturally. If you have low-positioned windows you can open these to let the current in and use high windows to let hot air out.
Insulation can be used to trap warm air inside your home in winter and cool air inside during summer.
Ceiling insulation is the most important kind to install as the highest amount of heat transfer occurs through the ceiling and roof.
Draught-proof your home
Once you have organised your insulation you may think that's the end of the story. However, if you have any gaps or cracks in your home, the air you have gone to so much trouble to heat or cool can escape.
Draught-proofing, or weather sealing, your home is an easy and cost-effective way to reduce your energy use and can save as much as 25 per cent of your heating and cooling bills, according to the Department of Industry.
Keeping your food chilled is important for your health and safety so it is essential to ensure your fridge is running efficiently.
Moving your fridge so that it is not in direct sunlight or near other heat-emitting appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and heaters is one way to make sure it will not use more energy than it needs.
Setting your fridge to the optimum temperature will make certain it is not working overtime to produce the same results. It should run at between 3 - 4 degrees celsius. Your freezer should be set somewhere between -15 and -18 degrees to make certain it is running correctly.
Every degree lower equates to a five per cent increase in power usage, according to the Department of Industry.
Older lightbulb technology is less efficient than its modern counterparts, so one way to ascertain that you are using less energy is to switch to led or fluorescent lights.
According to the Department of Industry this could halve your lighting costs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20 per cent of the energy used to light an incandescent bulb and have the added advantage of lasting 4 - 10 times longer.
Led lights are around 4 - 5 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and have an expected lifetime of around 20,000 - 40,000 hours.
Home entertainment systems
Whether it be your computer, printer or blu-ray player, if you're not using it switch it off. A large screen TV turned on for six hours everyday will use more power than your family fridge over the course of a year.
Using appliances efficiently
Avoid putting appliances on standby and instead switch them off at the wall when you are not using them.
Another way to make other appliances, such as your washing machine, dishwasher and dryer, more efficient is to only switch these on when they are running a full load, so you avoid wasting power through extra cycles.
Buying energy efficient appliances
The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it will cost you in electricity prices so keep an eye out for those energy ratings if you are replacing or upgrading an item.
Posted by Liam Tunney.