Easy ways to reduce your energy bills at home

1 August 2022 5 mins
save on energy bill

From the watts in your light bulbs to the temperature of your fridge, you can end up saving significantly on your energy bills by simply flipping the switch on household energy sources

Anna-Louise McDougall

Not to mention, by simply and easily lowering your household usage with these easy steps, you can do your part to reduce pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Everybody wins!

Let’s start with what your energy bill really means with a breakdown of your energy bill's most common terms and features.

Decoding your energy bill

Peak Consumption Charge: Also referred to as Any Time Usage, or Residential Tariff, this is your all-day electricity usage charge.

Off-peak Charge: This refers to the part of the day when most homes are not using much electricity (e.g. middle of the day or very late at night). Many hot water systems may be on an off-peak or controlled load tariff.

Controlled Load or Economy Tariff: Your electricity plan might also have a lower price for using electricity at off-peak times. Electric appliances connected to an economy, off-peak, or controlled load tariff are charged a lower fee for using energy outside of peak times.

Daily Supply Charge or Service to Property Charge: The supply charge covers the cost of getting electricity to your house (through the poles and wires) and is not based on how much energy you use.

Discounts: This will depend on what type of plan you are on, but you might be eligible for pay-on-time discounts, a percentage discount off your total bill, or discounts for paying by direct debit.

Graph: You might also find your energy provider uses a graph or image breakdown to help you compare your electricity usage to other similar homes in your area or your history of energy usage.

How to save energy in every room

Now that you’re across your energy speak, you’ll be able to be a little savvier as to when and how you’ll use your appliances. And this starts at the add-to-cart: when shopping for appliances, be sure to base your decision on both the energy and water rating of the appliances. Cheaper is not always cheaper in the long run.

The living room

Especially with many of us still perched at the home desk, when you are too cold or too hot, it’s universally harder to do anything… let alone concentrate, sleep or just wind down. But before you go ham on the AC in the middle of summer, take it from the QLD Government, who mentions that for every 1 degree of extra cooling or heating it could increase your electricity usage by around 5% to10%(!!).

Our friends at AGL recommend choosing a temperature between 18–20°C in winter and 25–27°C in summer. They also refer to the ‘leakiness’ of your home - and no, this has nothing to do with water. Up to 25% of household heat loss is caused by air draughts from improper seals. Take the time to check the seals on all doors and windows for any breezy gaps which can easily be stopped with door seals, door snakes, and draught stripping.

The laundry

The savings start by making sure your electric hot water is on a controlled load (off-peak) tariff. Always fully load the washing machine when possible, set it on an economy wash to save on energy use, and don’t forget to use cold water combined with a suitable cold water detergent.

We usually have the ideal climate and the perfect weather to support the no dryer rule if and where possible. Try to time your washing with sunny days, or use an or an indoor rack in an airy and sunny spot.

The kitchen

Climate Choice ACT suggests only running the dishwasher when it is full, and choosing the lowest temperature or shortest running time.

Your refrigerator uses the most energy because it cycles on and off all day, every day. I mean, where would we be without a fresh little midnight snack? That’s why the fridge has a light, right…

You can also save on your bill by setting the temperature of your fridge to between 3- 5 degrees and the freezer to -15 degrees. Every extra degree colder uses 5% more energy. So, try to limit the time the fridge door is open, this will keep the food inside cold and keep you from burning any extra energy. Make a note to clean the seals on the fridge and freezer and seek a replacement if they are not sealing shut.

Everywhere else

Lighting

The good people at Bunnings say, that although LEDs light bulbs are more expensive to purchase, this is outweighed by the fact they are up to 85 percent more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs. They can produce more light, use fewer watts, and can last for up to 20 years. In comparison, a standard incandescent bulb has a lifespan of around one year.

Don’t forget about your own energy. Open curtains and blinds to use natural lighting during the day which will do wonders for your sleeping patterns.

TV and Computer devices

There are many small, simple changes you can make to your computer settings that can also boost your energy savings. This includes changing your screensaver to a blank screen, letting your power-saving mode to come on after 20 minutes of inactivity, using ‘hibernate’ instead of ‘sleep’ mode and turning off any programs, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them.

Hot tip: We cannot repeat this enough - anything on standby is still using power! Turn non-essential appliances off at the power point – up to 10% of your electricity could be used by gadgets and appliances that are on standby! Turn everything off at the wall, as your appliances use power even when not in use That includes phone chargers, tablet chargers, and gaming consoles, as these also use standby power.

The only standby we recommend doing is waiting to see what Honey does next.

Like the idea of bundling all your bills, plus smart home sensors to help you save from avoidable accidents? AGL Australia now offers energy, internet, mobile and Honey Insurance, all in one place. That’s what we call home sweet home.

Don’t forget to read the fine print

Insurance issued by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152 AFSL 233 082 and distributed by Honey Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 52 643 672 628 AFSL 528244 and AGL Sales Pty Ltd ABN 88 090 538 337 AR 1289534. AGL Sales Pty Ltd is an authorised representative of Honey Insurance Pty Ltd. Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. This is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs, and may not be right for you. Always read the PDS, any applicable SPDS, and TMD available at agl.com.au/aglinsurance before making any decision.

Anna is Honey’s resident copywriter and product marketer, responsible for making insurance make sense. When she’s not grammar policing, she’s being her own devil’s advocate; could it read better, could it help more people, how much Honey is enough?

Anna-Louise McDougall

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