How can you stay cool this summer without blowing the budget?
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, I have a silent heart attack. Or at least, I used to until I started implementing these tips! Our bills now sit at $60 to $80 a month.
1.) Compare your provider
Make sure you are getting the best deal possible and 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.
2.)Turn everything off when not in use
Appliances on standby and chargers constantly plugged in consume energy! Switch them off properly or unplug them to stop them using standby power.
3.) Have the right size air conditioning or heating for your space
Using a small air conditioner to cool a large space or heater to heat is not effective. It will use a lot more energy attempting to do so. 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 accordingly when you upgrade or get air conditioning. If you already have one, read on for other tips with air conditioning.
4.) Use fans instead
Fans are cheaper to run than air conditioning, though they don’t cool the air as effectively. 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.
Also, 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 helping 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.
6.) Hang your clothes
Get a clothesline or something to hang clothes to dry. You can install in the backyard, have one which folds down on a balcony or verandah and get a portable clothes airer to use inside if you want. This way you can still dry clothes when it is raining. If you must use a dryer, make sure you don’t overfill it. This was a tip I hadn’t even thought of until Cate shared it (plus a few more tips) over at The Purple Door here.
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 curtains and use the sunlight!
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.
8.) Clean the air conditioning or heating unit
When I was a hairdresser, the air conditioning unit would get filthy. Each week someone needed to clean the filters to ensure it 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 clean, the unit worked like new and her bills 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.
9.) Decrease dryer time
If you choose to use a dryer, you can decrease the time clothes take to dry by ensure you clean out the lint filter and include either dryer balls, a ball of scrunched up foil or a dry hand towel in the load.
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. Check their seals as well because broken seals cause cold air to seep out and cost more to run. Defrost your freezer regularly if needed to ensure it is running well and keep them well stocked. Look for energy efficient appliances when it comes time to replace them as well.
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. You can get sealing tape with can easily be installed and removed from Bunnings to place around door and window frames to seal them, even in rentals. Buy magnets or use card to block off vents when not in use to prevent hot or cold air escaping and keep the room temperature even.
Do a quick walk around your home, place your hand near windows and doors, look for vents and anywhere air might escape so you can fix it. Homes need ventilation but any homes have unnecessary gaps due to age, the foundations settling etc.
12.) Switch to energy efficient
Whenever you need to replace anything in your home from a lightbulb through to an appliance, look for the energy efficient option. You’d be surprised how much an efficient appliance can reduce your electricity bill by!
13.) Go out instead of being at home!
I work from the library at times and 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.
14.) Use electricity smarter
If you are cooking in the oven, cook more than one item at a time. If you are heating a room, hang clothes to dry in there with you. 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. Think about meals you can have which don’t require cooking or do not require you heating up the whole oven for one dish.
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 TV’s now, if we average it to be 45cents an hour, you are looking at $6.75 a week. Not a lot, although it does work out to be $351 per year plus the hours wasted.
What could you do in 15 hours a week that would either make or save you money instead? Check out his 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. Check out our 19 ways to keep cool on a budget.
17.) Use off-peak energy
If you have a smart meter which has the capacity to charge based on peak, off-peak and should times you can reduce the cost of using certain appliances. 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.