Saving power can save you money, and contributes towards a more sustainable environment. Here are some top tips to help cut down your power usage.
Makes up around 30-35% of an average power bill
Insulating your home will significantly reduce your heating needs. Where possible insulate ceiling, walls and underfloor. Close or block up fireplaces which aren’t used.
Eliminate drafts around windows and doors. On winter days close windows by midday and let the sun heat the house during the afternoon.
Use heavy drapes that cover the sides and bottom of the windows to keep heat in. Draw the drapes as soon as it gets dark to keep the heat in.
Choose a heater that suits the room and your needs.
Portable electric heaters are 100% efficient, but heat pumps can be more than 300% efficient. Consider heating only the room you are in rather than the whole house.
Choose a heater with a thermostat which cycles on and off, and a timer. This helps maintain an even, constant temperature.
Makes up around 30% of an average power bill
Check your hot water temperature and turn down to 55 C at the tap (an economy temperature). Hot water for washing dishes is a good guide - if you add cold water to do the dishes you might want to turn the thermostat down.
Fix any dripping taps - a hot tap dripping at the rate of one drip per second wastes around 28 litres or 36c of hot water per day.
If your hot water cylinder feels hot to touch, cover it with a cylinder wrap to minimise heat loss. You can also insulate the cylinder outlet pipe (pipe lagging) by at least a metre and any exposed hot water pipes.
Showers use less water than a bath, especially when using an energy efficient showerhead.
Check your overflow vent pipe regularly to pick up problems with the Ajax valve.
Use a large bowl for small amounts of dishwashing rather than filling the whole sink.
Use cold water to fill your electric jug (unless the hot tap is already running hot).
Use the plug – hand and dishwashing under a running tap uses more water.
Use the cold wash cycle in your washing machine. The optimum wash temperature for removing soil and dissolving detergent is 20 C which is reached by adding only a small amount of hot water.
Makes up around 12% of an average power bill
Look for the Energy Rating label when purchasing new appliances - the more stars the more energy efficient it is. Take note of the annual energy consumption in units and compare the same sizes when considering different brands.
Keep a constant temperature of around 4 C for the fridge and -18 C for the freezer. If lettuce leaves freeze in the fridge and ice-cream becomes too icy, it’s running too cold.
Defrost freezers regularly and make sure there is adequate ventilation around the top, back and sides of the fridge.
Check door seals are secure and clean them regularly to maintain them and avoid leaving the door open unnecessarily.
If you think your fridge or freezer is not operating properly, you can borrow a checkmeter from us to see what energy the unit is using.
Try to defrost food in the fridge rather than the microwave. This will help to cool the fridge also. Cool and cover hot foods and liquids before storing in the fridge or freezer.
Avoid running multiple refrigerators and freezers where possible.
Makes up around 10-15% of an average power bill
Microwaves, pressure cookers, crock pots, simmer-on and electric frypans all use less power than the oven.
Use the minimum amount of water in pots and keep the lids on as much as possible. Bring pots to the boil and then turn down and simmer until cooked to conserve energy. Try and use steamers, which enable two things to be cooked on one element.
Match the size of the pan to the size of the element and use flat bottom pans for maximum impact with the elements.
When using the oven try and cook more than one thing at a time, e.g. while a casserole is cooking cook a cake or dessert at the same time.
Check oven seals regularly and don’t use the oven door open as a heater (this could draw 4 kilowatts that will cost around $1.28 per hour)
Turn the oven off well before food is served – food will continue to cook in a switched-off oven.
Makes up around 8% of an average power bill
Turn lights off when not in the room, and consider lighting zones with individual switches within a room, so all lights aren’t on.
Install energy efficient lightbulbs, compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. They may cost more to buy, but last longer and use less energy.
Clean your light bulbs and fittings regularly to avoid dust build up, which lowers the lighting output.
Where possible use an undercover clothesline on wet days, so the clothes can be mostly dried outside and finished off in the drier for a minimum time.
Avoid over-drying clothes (consider a drier with a sensor when purchasing.
Duct your drier outside and clean out the filter after every use.