Like most places in the world during winter, the temperature in sunny Queensland cools down during winter whilst electricity bills often go up. Australia’s own Sunshine State experiences mild winters but that doesn’t mean less use of heaters or appliances. Here are some energy-smart choices that can ease the burden on your wallet (and your heater) this wintertime.
5 ways you can reduce your electricity bill this winter
#1 Use appliances wisely
We’re all guilty of using our appliances to our heart’s content to achieve a perfectly comfortable home, especially in the winter. But being conscious of excess appliance use and actively cutting down plug-in times can do wonders in keeping your electric bills low. Here are some ways you can use appliances wisely:
– Set heaters at a constant temperature, like the ideal 18°C to 20°C. Every increase in degrees can add up to 10% of energy use.
– Standby power can account for more than 10% of your household electricity use. Unplug appliances or switch off at the wall when not in use.
– Using the heater for hot water accounts for 21% of your energy bill so keep those showers short. This saves not only electricity costs but water as well.
– Lighting accounts for 8 to 15% of your household bill. Switch off lights when not in use.
#2 Maximize the heat
One of winter’s little luxuries, electric heaters are the most commonly used features of the home during this season. There are a lot of heaters available in the market, from small ones targeted at heating specific areas like bathrooms or floors to large geothermal or convection heaters that can keep your whole house warm. Choose the right size heater to suit your room and keep it in good operating order to save up on electricity and energy. Having a timer on heaters is also a good way of cutting down electricity costs. Installation of an air conditioning system could be a great investment for your comfort and wallet, compared with other forms of heating a home, split system air conditioning systems give you the choice of which rooms you want to heat, which means a whole lot less wasted energy heating up empty rooms!
With the constant use of your heater, makes sure the heat it generates doesn’t go to waste. Double glazing your windows significantly helps keep the heat in and pare down your heater bills. Double glazed windows involve two parallel and separate sheets of glass with an air gap (insulator) in between. This prevents the transfer of heat between the inside and outside. It’s a smart way to trap heat inside during cold months and keep the heat outside during hot months.
If your home has a fireplace that is in use during winter, make sure you’re up to date with your smoke alarm servicing to keep your loved ones and your home safe this winter.
Hot water is an absolute prerequisite for the colder months of the year. Consider it a lifeline, can you image having a cold shower when the atmospheric temperature below 10 degrees? A really important way to reduce your energy usage is to have an efficient, up to date hot water system. If you are living in an older home, often times the hot water systems are old and not only waste a lot of energy, they are also ineffective at heating up the water to an optimum temperature.
If you have a system that you’ve noticed has decreased in its ability to produce hot enough water, you may want to get your hot water system repaired by a licensed tradesman. Depending on whether your hot water system is gas or electric, you will either need to get in touch with your electrician or your qualified gas fitting plumber to safely get it looked at and hopefully fixed. Hot water systems can be pricey to buy new, but you will thank yourself in years to come when your hot water is actually hot and your energy bill is kept at bay.
#3 Choose your lights wisely
One of the best choices you can make to save energy in your home is to change your light bulbs. This doesn’t only mean regularly switching out dull bulbs for new ones. Using LED or CFL light bulbs can save $71–$91 each year per household. These bulbs use significantly less energy and even lasts 5-10 times longer than other light bulbs.
Another way you can save is to opt for natural light. Australia is blessed with constant sun exposure that homes can maximize all year round. Consider big windows or even skylights to let natural light in your homes instead of turning on several lamps or lights at once.
#4 Install energy-efficient systems
Speaking of abundant sunlight, one of the best ways to utilize this natural resource is to harness it through solar panel systems. With light rain and often clear skies, Queensland creates the perfect conditions for solar generation. Winter is also a low season for installations so you won’t have to wait in line for installers and electricians to install your rooftop photovoltaic system. Additionally, solar panel systems are not as costly as they were before. With a variety of choices in system types and more efficient technology available, getting a solar panel system for your home is easier and more affordable than ever. Along with substantial savings in electricity, you can also take full advantage of rebates and incentives.
#5 Consult a licensed electrician
In addition to the non electrical measures you can take to keep yourself warm this winter such as regular exercise, good slippers, a warm jacket and plenty of hot drinks, implementing the above strategies will keep you comfortable as well as at ease knowing your power bill won’t be growing exponentially. Consult a licensed electrician to find out the best way to apply these to your home – from maintaining your major appliances in tiptop shape to installing energy-saving features to your home. With their skills and expertise, licensed electricians can definitely help you increase your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your electrical bill, and reduce your carbon footprint this winter.
So Queensland, hop into your Ugg boots, get yourself a cuppa and make a plan to implement these strategies with licensed tradesmen to keep yourself safe and warm this winter.