How to save on energy if you're renting

Lowering your electricity prices is not just important for those who own their own homes. If you live in rented accommodation, there is no reason why you also can't benefit from a lower energy bill.

Here are some tips to help you knock down your electricity and gas prices without sacrificing you and your family's comfort.

Heating and cooling

Maintaining a home's temperature equates to around 40 per cent of the average Australian family's power bills, according to the Department of Industry.

So, it makes sense to see if there are any changes you can make in this area.

Adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees in both summer and winter can make a huge difference.

In winter, aim for a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees and in summer between 25 and 27 degrees. Every degree you reduce in the winter and increase in summer will raise your energy use by 5 - 10 per cent.

Hot water

Your electricity suppliers or gas suppliers may notice a difference in your usage if you drop the temperature on your hot water thermostat.

Hot water is responsible for around a quarter of your power bill, so it makes sense to make changes in this area.

Change your cylinder's temperature to around 60 degrees if you have a storage hot water cylinder or 50 degrees if you run an instantaneous system.

If you are heading out for a few days, you can turn this off to save power.

Use appliances efficiently

Many savings can be made in the home without installing new infrastructure such as rainwater tanks or solar panels, which you would need your landlord's permission for.

For example, instead of washing your clothes in hot water, use cold water instead. This will clean your clothes equally well but at a fraction of the cost. The Department of Industry claim this could save around $124 a year on your energy costs.

If you pair this with a change in your drying habits you could see much bigger savings. Using the power of the sun to dry your washing could reduce your annual power bill by $69.

Another change you could make around your home is to stick to one fridge. Getting rid of that unnecessary second fridge could see you save a further $155 over the course of a year.

You may need your landlord's permission, but switching over to a more water-efficient showerhead could save around $250 a year on your energy and water bills.

All up, these changes could make you around $760 richer over the course of a year, according to the Department of Industry estimates.

Posted by Tim Wolfenden.