How to save on your bills- Electricity, Gas, Water
The government has brought in some much needed changes to the electricity prices in Australia, improving the competition between providers and introduced the Default Market Offer (DMO). The DMO should lower prices for households so that they aren’t still paying old higher electricity prices if they never compare their electricity bills.
But remember there are always better deals out there so compare the best deals on the market at the moment from the current providers below.
Alinta Energy often offers the cheapest prices in Australia particularly in QLD
EnergyMadeEasy– Find the cheapest prices in Australia using this site. Government funded website to compare power prices.
There are two major providers in Australia – AGL & Origin Energy making it difficult to get better deals on your gas prices but if your check out the following website you may still find some better deals than what you currently have.
Other ways to save on your power bills
- Don’t obstruct the sun. Keep curtains open during day in summer and close just before sunset. In summer keep curtains closed if house too warm as this will reflect sun coming through windows
- Stop draughts as outlined below
Reducing room temp on a thermostat by 1C could cut your heating bills by 10%!
Have blanket on sofa to wrap over you when gets cold
- Put heaters away from windows so they heat the room more effectively.
- Turn off heaters in rooms you’re not using.
- Use the thermostat and timer on your heaters so they only come on when you need them and automatically switch off when they reach a certain temperature.
- Block off your fireplace when you’re not using it.
- Turn off your heated towel rail in summer months and when you’re not using it.
- Shower with the windows open to avoid moisture forming – dry air is easier to heat and better for your health.
- Put an extra blanket on the bed instead of using your electric blanket.
How best to insulate your home?
35% of energy lost through ceiling
Some floors such as poorly fitting tongue & groove planking have particularly high heat loss
What can be done?
Use reflective foil which is stapled along the floor joists
They work by:
- trapping air between the floor and the foil which serves as insulation
- escaping heat is reflected back into the house
- it helps reduce the amount of moisture entering the house through the floor.
The other type of insulation material is polystyrene or polyester type products
These products fit between the floor joists and either go hard against the underside of the floor or have a small gap between the bottom of the floor and the top of the product. In some cases the product are held in place by being slightly squashed between the floor joists and in other cases clips of other fixings are required.
Underfloor insulation can also reduce dampness which can again help make it easier to heat your home.
Windows can be responsible for up to 30% of heat loss in uninsulated houses.
So what can be done?
Hang good thermally backed & lined curtains. These can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 25% They should be bigger than the window frame & close fitting with no gaps.
Consider installing new windows if they need to be replaced but this adds significant cost but can be worth it over the long term.
Draught proof windows
Draughts & air leakage can increase heating costs by 20%
- placing stuffed ‘snakes’ under doors
- blocking off open fire places when you’re not using them
- fitting shields for draughts and rain on external doors
- blocking draughty air gaps around plumbing pipes and electrical cables, windows and doors with caulking and weather-strips
- fitting thermal curtain generously over windows and install a pelmet to contain draughts
- filling gaps in ceiling insulation
- insulating under wooden floors
This can be difficult to install once a house has been built so it is often easier to make sure you have your ceiling & underfloor insulated before considering this more expensive & complicated energy saving idea.
How to Save Energy on Heating
30% of energy used
Measures to save energy
- Adjust thermostat to 55C for hot water
- Use cold water to wash clothes ($50/yr saving), rinse dishes
- Wrap hot water cylinder & pipes with insulation
- Low flow shower heads (up to $500/yr- cost $40)
- Take short showers (minute less family 4 saves $63) rather than baths
- Stop dripping taps
- Switch off your hot water if you’re away for more than two weeks.
Approx 30% of energy used for keeping you warm
So how can you cut down on heat loss
Different ways to heat your house
Heat pumps. They pump out 3 dollars worth of heat for every dollar spent on electricity.
Save on Lighting
There have been government schemes to save on lighting costs by providing energy efficient lighting. This involves subsidised or free energy efficient compact fluorescent lights.
These typically use 80% less power but same illumination & last up to 8 times longer than normal bulbs. Unfortunately they cost more than normal bulbs (usually around $10 for pack of 3 but ask your power provider if they offer subsidised bulbs)
Old standard type bulbs lose most of their energy by form of heat lost from bulb. That’s why they’re so hot after they have been on for some time!
Phillips Tornado Warm White, Ecobulb Warm White, GE Entice & Osram Minitwist Daylight recently came out top on Consumer magazine test comparing bulbs for light output & switching life.
This could save you up to $1000 on electricity over the lifetime of the bulbs! (this is based on replacing 10 bulbs at home)
FREE Power Saving ideas
Dry clothes outside or on driers rather than use tumble drier
- 5 percent of home energy is consumed by appliances being on standby
- When you’re not using appliances, unplug them or switch them off at the wall. Even standby mode wastes power.
- Turn off your computer when you’re not using it.
- Turn off chargers at the wall when batteries are fully charged e.g. cellphones and laptops.
- Turn off lights when you leave the room
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before you use it – and use the economy cycle.
- If your dishwasher can generate its own hot water then use this function as it’s more efficient than using hot water from your cylinder.
- Don’t overload your washing machine (although it’s better to wash full loads than half loads) and don’t forget to adjust your wash cycle to match the load. Try to use ECO or half load settings.
- Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the element on an electric kettle)
- Use shorter wash cycles if possible.
- Make sure your clothes are well spun before putting them in the dryer.
- Dry washing on your clothesline as often as possible. Try to only use your clothes dryer when you have to.
- If you’re using the clothes dryer, fill it – it’s more efficient to dry a full load.
- Use the low heat setting on your dryer whenever you can.
- Ventilate the clothes dryer to the outside.
- Clean your dryer’s lint filter every time you use it.
- Keep freezers as full as possible
- Leave space at the back of the fridge
- Keep lids on pots when cooking
Be careful with water as this will save you money if you have a water meter and also help the environment:
- Fix dripping taps.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
- take showers instead of baths
- Use a toilet brick to reduce the amount of water used in each flush