Winter across Australia isn’t cold compared to some parts of the world, but we like to feel comfortable in our own homes. Saving money can sometimes seem like an uphill battle during these times although we have the benefit of tiered energy tariffs, unlike some countries. This I have found can really help keep electricity bills down if used at the correct times of day.
One thing that most people find with energy saving is that it can be frustrating and time consuming. I want to make this process simpler for you so that it becomes an easier and quicker exercise overall. Managing personal consumption isn't too difficult, but when a family is involved going around the entire house every night checking lights and switches is a mundane process. Save time and money with these simple, common sense energy reduction tips, because time is money at the end of the day.
The Living Room
The living room will most likely be the common meeting place for all family members and therefore tends to hold the most extension cables and connected devices. A great way to save money at night is to switch off all devices, which would otherwise sit on standby for hours on end. An easy was to do this is by simply plugging your devices into one power board that turns all devices off with a single click.
Light is still required throughout the evening, so save chunks of cash by having just one (if possible) sidelight or spot light with an LED bulb to light up the room rather than using the main lights.
Finally if you are going to sit down and watch a movie make sure all other lights around the house are off. This is a clear waste of money when you know you wont be using that light for at least the next one to two hours.
If you need to defrost food, remove it 24 hours before use and allow it to thaw in the fridge to reduce cooking time. If you need to quickly defrost, a microwave uses less energy than an oven, but if you need to use the oven avoid opening the door repeatedly.
Covering your pots and pans when cooking on the hob reduces energy consumption by up to 70% and even cooks your meal faster. However, if you need to boil water the fastest and most cost effective way is via an electric kettle.
The dishwasher is a great time saver and with new machines, some only use as little as 12 litres of water per wash. Buy a timer for a couple of dollars that plugs into the wall, fill the dishwasher so its full and schedule the wash to commence at a time when your energy tariff drops in price (usually in the early hours of the morning).
Now that winter is on its way the fridge and freezer can have a break. Set your fridge temperature to between 4 - 5 degrees and freezer to 15 – 18 degrees Celsius. To help efficiency keep the machines out of the sun and allow for at least 5cm of space around the appliance so that air can circulate freely.
There are now numerous fabric cleaners, which work well at lower temperatures saving you money from otherwise having to heat water for washes. Always try to wash clothes in a full wash to receive the highest value for money and if you can, buy a timer for the washing machine too. Programming cleaning cycles when electricity is cheapest can save a sizeable amount of money each month.
When drying your clothes always use a clotheshorse, wind is free. However, if you need to dry something quickly, ensure it’s thoroughly rung to reduce drying times and electricity bills.
If you like the lights on when you come home using sensors is the most efficient way of having things your way. Use sensors to trigger outside lights upon your arrival.
Solar technology is becoming very efficient with garden and wall lights providing great sources of free energy for your outside spaces.
In colder months reduce your heating bills by closing doors in unused rooms to reduce the amount of heat that escapes.
Closing curtains and window shades will also reduce the amount of energy required to heat a room to a consistent temperature inside.
If your bedroom is naturally cold don’t waste money heating it, simply buy another duvet and use a hot water bottle every night to keep yourself warm whilst you sleep. Even an electric blanket is a more cost effective method of keeping warm rather than heating the entire room.