What behavioural changes can I make to lower my electricity bills?
It can be all too easy to get into certain habits when it comes to electricity consumption, but some simple changes could be all you need to start bringing down your bills.
No matter what alterations you make to your behaviour, make sure all members of your household are doing the same or your efforts will be in vain.
Whether you're in a shared house or live with your family, everyone working together will have a bigger impact on your electricity prices than going it alone.
1. Switch to energy saving bulbs
When was the last time you checked how efficient the light bulbs are in your home? Simply switching over to more energy efficient models will take you a matter of minutes, yet will have a big impact on your bills over time.
They're no less effective than traditional models, yet could be just what your household needs to move to a more environmentally conscious future.
2. Turn off lights in empty rooms
Leaving lights on where they're not needed is an easy habit to get into, but over time it can lead to a massive impact on your electricity prices.
Dimmer switches can be a good idea if you want to make your property looked lived in while you're out, as it'll ensure you're not using quite so much power.
3. Invest in blankets
When the winter comes around, how many times have you or another member of your household reached for the thermostat? Getting hold of some blankets can be just as effective at keeping you warm - and for a fraction of the cost!
It also avoids the argument of how hot or cold the room might be. Everyone can have their own blanket and use it whenever they want, without your household bills taking a hit in the process.
4. Only boil as much water as you need
The next time you head to the kettle to make a hot drink, think carefully about how much water you're using. The more water that is in the kettle, the longer it will take to boil and the more energy it'll use in the process.
However, make sure you fill the kettle at least to the minimum line, otherwise you risk causing damage to the heating element.
5. Keep windows closed
No matter whether you're trying to heat or cool your property, open windows can leave you paying more for your gas and electricity than you might like.
Your air conditioning won't be quite as effective and the heat you're trying to keep inside the property will be able to escape, meaning your efforts - and money - will be wasted.
6. Enjoy shorter showers
Although it can be tempting to spend minute after minute under the shower, the fact is your boiler will be working overtime to heat the water. Cutting down your time will pay off in the long run.
Keeping a time limit on your showers is a great idea, so why not install a timer to ensure everyone is doing their bit?
7. Only wash when your appliances are full
No matter whether it's your dishwasher or washing machine, your appliances will work best when they are full. Avoid the temptation to run a cycle when they're half full and your pocket will thank you for it.
Most appliances will use the same amount of water and energy no matter how much is packed inside them, so it's worth waiting just that little bit longer.
8. Avoid standby mode
Leaving electrical equipment in standby mode may seem like a real time saver, but in reality it's not going to do anything other than increase your bills.
TVs, games consoles and DVD players can all use more energy than you think when they haven't been turned off properly, so it's worth reaching for the off switch.
9. Be savvy when using your hob
When you're using the hob in your kitchen, make sure you pick the right ring to correspond with the pan you've got, unless you want to spend longer than is needed cooking your dinner.
If it's too small then the hob will need to work extra hard, or too big and you'll be wasting energy unnecessarily, so match the size of your pan accordingly.
10. Don't use the tumble dryer
Australia is blessed with plenty of fine weather, so why not make the most of it? Tumble dryers will run up your bills considerably, so putting clothes out in the open air is much more preferable.
Time your wash cycle to make the most of the good weather - many come with a delay function so you can get it out on the line first thing in the morning and maximise the drying time.
Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett