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17 Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

17 Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

I remember my parents always going off about the cost of air conditioning and the electricity bills in summer.

As a kid, I rolled my eyes, but as a parent, it’s a different story since I’m now paying the bill.

My bills have consistently been the average of a 1 person household despite having 4 to 8 people living in our home over the past decade.

They used to be about $60 a month until 2022 then it went to $80 and now it’s about $100 a month with the increasing cost of electricity, that’s for 6 people in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.

Here are the tips that help keep my bills low.

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1. Compare Your Provider

Search for the best deal possible and check all discounts or concessions are applied to your bill.

Not all locations have a variety of options for electricity, but if you do, take the time to do a comparison and check you get the best rate.

Energy Made Easy is a government website that makes it simple to compare all providers but it is only available for the following states:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • the Australian Capital Territory

I regularly compare my bills but for the past few years, Red Energy has been the best option for me. They offer a $25 bonus when you join and have other discounts too.

2. Turn Everything off When not in use

Appliances on standby and chargers constantly plugged in consume energy, it’s small but with the number of devices most people have now, it adds up.

Switch them off properly or unplug them to stop them from using standby power but check the manufacturer’s guide first to see if it is ok to do it e.g. you might decrease the lifespan of your TV if you switch it off all the time.

Be smart about this though. Don’t turn off the fridge or anything that is not recommended to be switched off by the manufacturer although that is rare.

3. Have the Right Size Air Conditioning or Heating for Your Space

Using a small air conditioner to cool a large space or small heater to heat it is not effective.

It will use a lot more energy attempting to do so and you will probably have to replace those appliances sooner than if you got one that is the right size for the area you need to heat or cool.

The same goes for a unit way too big for your space, it will waste energy.

Find out what size the air conditioning unit should be for your space and install it accordingly when you upgrade or get air conditioning.

We have a portable air conditioning unit we rarely use and limit it to one room.

However, they are more expensive to run than other types of air conditioning but as we rent and have moved around, this was the best option for us.

The upfront cost of installing an airconditioning system can be high but if you plan to be living in your home, the initial expense can be worth it when it comes to electricity bills.

4. Use Fans Instead

Fans are cheaper to run than air conditioning, but they don’t cool the air as effectively.

Sometimes simply having a breeze from a fan will be enough instead of air conditioning.

You can hang wet sheets behind fans to create a cool breeze or spray a water bottle to mist your skin and help cool you.

Many fans are designed to work in either winter or summer, meaning they can help in winter to push the warm air down as well as help in summer to keep cool.

5. Only Heat or Cool One Space

Whatever method you use, ensure you are only heating or cooling the space you need.

Shut all the doors and windows to elsewhere and save money.

I know families who all sleep in one room over hot summers or cold winters so they only need to heat or cool that room instead of the whole home.

There’s no point in paying to heat or cool the whole house when you only use a few rooms.

6. Hang Your Clothes

Get a clothesline or something to hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

You can install it in the backyard, have one which folds down on a balcony or verandah and get a portable clothes airer to use inside to cover you for all kinds of weather.

Doing it this way, you can dry your clothes without paying for electricity.

However, hanging your clothes to dry inside is not ideal to do all the time and if the weather is bad for a long period, it won’t matter where you hang your clothes, they probably won’t dry.

We’ve had a variety of clothes lines, including simply tying rope up in the carport to dry our clothes.

Rarely have we needed to use a dryer but if it is wet or particularly humid, we do use a dryer to avoid the damp smell and mustiness that can happen if clothes don’t dry quickly.

If you must use a dryer don’t overfill it because it won’t work as effectively. Follow the instructions, only put in what it can handle, use dryer balls and clean the lint filter after every use.

7. Turn all Your Lights off

When you leave a room, switch the lights off.

Teach your kids to do the same and don’t turn lights on unless they need to be on.

Often people turn them on purely out of habit which wastes electricity.

Open the curtains and use the sunlight properly.

With this, teach your kids to sleep in the dark or use solar lights (garden ones are fine) to light their room instead of leaving lights on all night.

Leaving lights on is surprisingly common and while one lightbulb doesn’t use a lot of electricity, downlights can.

Be aware of your lighting, make adjustments to make it more energy efficient and only use it as needed.

8. Clean the Air Conditioning or Heating Unit

When I was a hairdresser, the air conditioning unit would get filthy and by the end of the week, it showed.

Each week someone needed to clean the filters to ensure the air conditioning worked properly.

When I went to work at a new salon the owner commented on her air conditioning issues and was about to call an electrician.

I got up and had a look. Sure enough, the filters were putrid.

After a good cleaning, the unit worked like new and her bills were reduced drastically.

Clean the filters, check everything is running smoothly, wipe over the outside of the units and you can significantly reduce their running cost as well as increase the effectiveness.

Schedule this to be done regularly to keep on top of it and keep your bills low.

9. Decrease Dryer Time

If you choose to use a dryer, you can decrease the time clothes take to dry by cleaning out the lint filter and include dryer balls, a ball of scrunched-up foil or a dry hand towel in the load.

Alternatively, some people use the dryer to get the clothes partially dry then hang them to finish drying overnight.

Don’t overdry your clothes as it costs more in electricity and wears them out faster.

10. Check All Appliances

Along with cleaning lint out of the dryer and cleaning the air conditioner, check all your appliances.

If your fridge and freezer are dusty on the coils, they won’t work as efficiently (this applies to older models, new fridges are typically fully encased).

Check their seals as well because broken seals cause cold air to seep out and cost more to run.

Keep your fridge and freezer well-stocked, even if just with bottles of water.

Otherwise, when you open the door more cool air escapes and it takes more energy to cool the air inside once you close it.

Look for energy-efficient appliances when it comes time to replace them as well.

Read reviews, and compare prices and energy efficiency to get the right appliance for your needs.

11. Seal all the Gaps Around Your Home

A lot of hot or cool air can escape through gaps around or under doors, windows, vents and similar gaps.

You can get a sealing tape that can easily be installed and removed from a hardware store to place around door and window frames to seal them, even in rentals.

Do a quick walk around your home, place your hand near windows and doors and anywhere air might escape so you can fix it.

Homes need ventilation but many homes have unnecessary gaps due to age, the foundations settling etc.

12. Switch to Energy Efficient

When you need to replace anything in your home, whether it’s a lightbulb or an appliance, look for the energy-efficient option.

You’d be surprised how much an efficient appliance can reduce your electricity bill.

The upfront cost might be a little more initially but with the increasing cost of electricity, it is usually worth it to get the most energy-efficient appliance you can.

13. Go out Instead of Being at Home

I work from the library at times because I am too easily distracted at home but when I was a homeless single mother, the library was ideal for me to work, my kids to do things and to charge my phone, laptop etc.

When my kids were younger we spent most of our days at parks, playgrounds, libraries and similar instead of using the electricity at home, we had fun out and about.

Now they are older, they’re involved in sports, we love to hike, swim at the beach and still don’t spend much time at home.

Look around and see how many lights, TVs and other devices are on while you are home that could be off if you were out. It adds up.

Getting more active outside is good for your health and your electricity bills.

14. Use Electricity Smarter

If you are cooking in the oven, cook more than one item at a time where possible.

You can cook in bulk this way which can help save money on your groceries and electricity.

When you are heating a room, hang clothes to dry in there with you but not over the heater.

Think about how you use your electricity and how you can combine uses.

In summer cook with a BBQ or crockpot outside to keep the home cooler or look at solar methods.

Think about meals you can have which don’t require cooking or do not require you to heat up the whole oven for one dish on hot days.

There are many ways we waste electricity without realising it such as using the oven to cook in summer then the air con has to work harder when other options would be better.

15. Stop Watching so Much TV

Sitting in front of the TV or computer isn’t usually the best use of your time.

The average Aussie spends 15 hours a week watching TV.

According to CanStar the average cost of running a TV can be from a few cents to 60cents an hour, depending on the type you have.

Since most people have pretty nice TVs now, if we average it to be 45cents an hour, you are looking at $6.75 a week.

If you have more than one TV, as many homes do times that by how many TVs you use.

Not a lot, although it works out to be $351 per year plus the hours wasted or $702 if you have 2 TVs or over $1,000 for 3 TVs!

What could you do in 15 hours a week that would either make or save you money instead?

Check out this post for some ideas plus other tips to save time.

16. Find Ways to Keep Cool

Air conditioning is not the only option to keep cool, it tends to be the quickest way to do it and easiest.

Check out our 19 ways to keep cool on a budget for ideas to keep cool for less.

A few simple ones are dressing appropriately for the weather, using fans, going for a swim etc.

17. Use Off-Peak Energy

If you have a smart meter it can charge based on peak, off-peak and help you reduce the cost of using certain appliances if you time it right.

For example, off-peak electricity is cheapest so run the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and other appliances overnight instead of in the middle of the day.

How do you reduce your electricity?

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Portella

Tuesday 27th of February 2024

Sealing your windows is definitely a good idea. However, if you're thinking about upgrading your windows, especially if they're getting a bit old, you might want to consider steel thermally broken windows as an alternative. These aren't just any windows. They're designed to significantly improve insulation in your home, which is great for keeping your energy bills down. What makes them stand out is the way they're made to stop heat from escaping, making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. And, on top of that, steel is a strong, long-lasting material that's also good for the environment because it can be recycled.

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