What's using electricity in your home?
Staying on top of your electricity bills can seem like a balancing act. With electricity prices on the rise, it's often difficult to reconcile comfort with concerns about cost. Your monthly bill can come as a shock, particularly as the weather cools down, but do you know exactly why the figure is soaring so high?
Households have a huge number of appliances and technology in the home, drawing energy and racking up substantial charges - in fact, you might not even realise how high the running costs are at face value. Here are some of the biggest consumers of energy in your home.
Hot water is something none of us want to go without, but the process to keep water warm throughout the day uses a substantial amount of energy. According to the South Australian government, heating water uses around 25 per cent of your household's total energy consumption, most of which will come from using hot water in the bathroom, as well as the laundry and kitchen.
The best way to cut down on these charges is to replace and upgrade - and shower heads and taps are a good place to start. Inefficient shower heads can waste an incredible amount of water without you even realising. Fitting a new shower head needn't take much time or effort - or even a plumber, but the results can be extremely beneficial.
Think about it this way: You are essentially paying for two services - the charge for water, and the electricity or gas used to heat it. An inefficient shower head can use more than 20 litres of water every minute, according to the Department of Industry and Science. Replacing the old shower head can therefore put a significant dent in the costs you pay to electricity suppliers.
Cooking appliances may seem inconspicuous, but a lot of the energy they consume is wasted. In fact, up to 90 per cent of energy used by ovens is wasted, according to the South Australian government. Given that the Department of Industry and Science finds that cooking appliances account for around 15 per cent of your household's energy use, it's a significant amount to be throwing down the drain.
Choosing an energy efficient model at the outset can help you keep costs down. Look for machines that have a fan-forced setting, as this a more energy efficient method of cooking, while triple-glazed doors will help stop heat escaping.
In the same way, pick an appliance that suits your needs. Remember: The larger the oven, the more electricity it will use. Smaller appliances can often be used in the same way as an oven, with much lower costs. Microwaves, for example, can use around 75 per cent less energy than ovens and cook tops according to the South Australian government.
Washing machine and dryer
While it's a necessity during the week, running your clothes dryer and washing machine can incur large sums over the space of a year. In fact, operating a low energy star, large-capacity washing machine on a warm setting can cost an eye-watering $200 or more when connected to an electric hot water system, according to the Victorian state government. Combined with the running cost of a dryer, doing the laundry can soon rack up a sizeable electricity bill.
However, much of this water and energy can go to waste if the machines are regularly filled with partial loads - and, in the case of a dryer, overfilling. Try running your clothes through a cold cycle and ensure they're not dripping wet before putting them in the dryer.
While improving your habits can go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient, if your monthly utility bill is causing you grief, it could be time to get in touch with an electricity comparison service like Make It Cheaper. The energy experts take into account your habits and charges to find you a better deal - and all for free.