Check out these simple ways to reduce energy use around the home
Simply choose a room below to get started. Or contact us for more advice.
- Fridges can account for 7% of your household's total energy use. Check your appliances are set at the recommended temperature, which is around 3 - 4°C for a fridge and -18°C for a freezer.
- Up to 30% of the fridge's cool air escapes when the door is opened. Figure out what you need before you open the door to reduce this impact.
- Allow for about 50 cm of space at the top and sides to let the appliance properly ventilate.
- A freezer operates most efficiently when it's at least three quarters full. Use containers or bags of ice to fill empty space.
- Regularly clean and check seals. You might need to replace seals if you can close the door on a piece of paper and remove it without any friction.
- A freezer uses more electricity when there’s a build-up of ice. Defrost the appliance regularly. If ice builds up again, check the seal on the door. It may need replacement.
- Avoid putting hot food in the fridge. It will heat up the fridge’s internal temperature.
- Keep the condenser coils at the bottom or back of your fridge clear of dust.
- Where possible, use the economy settings on your dishwasher with the lowest temperature and the shortest time.
- To keep the house cool during summer, avoid running your dishwasher during the hottest parts of the day.
- Where possible, if you are on a time based electricity tariff, run appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, at off-peak times.
- Microwaves are more efficient to run than electric ovens. Microwaves are rated between 700–1200 W, while ovens start from 3 kW (depending on size and efficiency).
- Stir or turn food regularly to reduce cooking time.
- Kettles can be rated upwards of 2200 W. Don’t waste energy by filling it full of cold water when you only need one cup.
- Let frozen food defrost in the fridge overnight to avoid using the microwave.
- To cut down on heat loss, use flat bottom pans for electric cooktops and rounded pans for gas.
- Use a tight-fitting lid when boiling water.
- Try to cook on your BBQ or in your microwave during summer to keep your home cool.
- Limit opening the oven door during baking to prevent heat loss.
- Don't preheat the oven for longer than you need.
- You may need to replace the door seal if you can easily remove a sheet of paper when the oven door is closed.
- Slow-cooked dishes don’t need a preheated oven. You can also turn the oven off 15 minutes before you need to take the dish out.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation and keep in heat during winter.
- Your pool’s filter should only need to run for 8–12 hours in summer and 6–8 hours in winter. If possible, set it to run at off-peak time, or, if you have a solar PV system, set it to run when your system is generating most electricity.
- Regularly clean the skimmer box and filters to ease pressure on the pool pump.
- Regularly test your pool’s chemical balance. This will keep the water clean without relying on the filter.
- Drain and refill your pool only when you need to. If possible, use rainwater to top up your pool.
- Close interior doors so you're only heating or cooling the spaces you need. Close vents in rooms you're not using and add deflectors to vents to direct air to the centre of the room.
- Hang heavy curtains to keep heat inside during the winter and outside during summer.
- Close windows and curtains before the house heats up on summer days and before it cools on winter nights.
- Program a timer where possible. Your thermostat may have this function.
- Set your heating to 18–20°C. Every degree higher could add up to 10% on your heating bill.
- Bar heaters and radiators are not ideal for large spaces. Ideally use these when sitting at a desk or on the couch.
- Layer up. Putting on a jumper is cheaper than turning on the heater.
- Use fans where possible. They use much less energy than an air conditioner.
- Drape a wet sheet over an open doorway during hot days. It's nature's evaporative cooler!
- Set the thermostat on your cooling between 24–27°C. Every degree lower could add 10% to your cooling bill.
- Once the temperature cools outside, open windows, curtains and blinds to let the cool air in.
- Change the pads on your evaporative cooler before each summer, and clean the filters on your system air inlets regularly to remove dust and fluff and maintain their effectiveness.
- Home electronics and computers account for around 15% of household energy use.
- Turn off devices rather than rely on 'standby' mode. Appliances on standby use around 10% of electricity in the average home. Games consoles can cost around $91 per year on standby.
- Create a 'charging station' powerboard so you can turn off individual devices or the whole strip when nothing is being charged. A standby powerboard will automatically switch off for you.
- Screensavers don’t save energy. If you won’t be using your computer for a long period, shut it down completely and turn it off at the wall.
- TVs are the fourth largest energy user in homes, so be sure to consider the Energy Rating before purchasing a new TV. Cheap brands aren’t necessarily the best as they are likely to cost more to run over the life of the TV.
- Open curtains and opt for natural light wherever possible. Don't over-light a room, and turn off lights when you leave.
- Use efficient globes like LED A globes or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL).
- Halogen downlights are energy inefficient. Limit their use or replace them with LED downlights. Also consider using table or floor lamps fitted with LED A bulbs to light your space.
- Ensure that outdoor lights are switched off during the day.
- Decorate rooms with bright colours as these will reflect light and illuminate the room.
- Limit your use of the dryer. If you must use the dryer, consecutive loads will maximise built-up heat. Group loads by clothing items that require the same amount of drying time.
- Clean the lint filter before every use.
- Venting your dryer to an outside point will release moist air and should improve energy efficiency. If that’s not possible, open up laundry windows or doors when the dryer is on.
- Set your dryer to 'warm' instead of 'hot'. It may take longer for your clothes to dry but it should use less energy.
- Don’t put dripping-wet clothes in your dryer. Wring them out or give them a thorough spin in the washing machine beforehand.
- In summer, use your washing machine in the early morning or late evening to reduce heat and humidity in your home. Better still, hang your clothes outside so that they can dry naturally.
- When buying a new washing machine, choose a size that meets your needs. Bigger isn’t necessarily better if you're a small household. Also refer to the water and energy ratings - the more stars the lower the resource use.
- Try to do full loads of washing using cold water settings where possible.
- Match the machine’s wash cycle and water level to the type and size of each load. Choose the lowest settings where possible.
- In summer, use your washing machine in the early morning or late evening to reduce heat and humidity in your home, and during off-peak electricity tariff times (unless you have a solar PV system).
- Check for leaks by looking for pools of water around the base of hot water systems. Also listen for any water that’s running when your taps are turned off. Sounds of running water may indicate a cracked or broken pipe.
- 25 - 30% of your home’s yearly energy usage can go to producing and storing hot water. It may be worth investigating a solar hot water service that uses the heat from the sun instead of gas or electricity.
- Insulating your hot water system's pipes keeps water hotter for longer.
- Replace your showerhead with a low flow unit. If you can't get permission from your landlord, go for a flow restrictor instead. These are easy to install yourself.
- Reducing the time you spend in the shower to 4 minutes saves on hot water.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. Showers use around one fifth the amount of hot water as a bath.
- A dripping tap can leak hundreds of litres a year. Make sure taps are turned off tightly and repair any that are leaking.
Our summer energy saving tip
Fans can reduce the temperature of a room by around 3 degrees, and are much cheaper than an air conditioner. You can even combine your fan with your air conditioner to circulate cold air around your room.
Only cool the areas you are in; if possible, don't waste electricity by cooling all the rooms in your home. Close vents in rooms not being used, such as bedrooms, and open them before bedtime to allow the room to cool.
Install heavy drapes inside, and/or external blinds. Planting a deciduous tree or vine to shade your north and west windows will help keep the hot sun out in summer (and allow in the warm winter sun).
Buying a new appliance? Look for its Energy Rating.
Whether it's a new washer, dryer, fridge or freezer, always look at the Energy Rating label before you buy. The more stars, the less energy it’ll use – which will save you money in the long term.
Live in South Australia?
South Australian customers can check out the AGL Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) to find selected free and discounted energy saving products. Or ring AGL Trade Services SA on 1300 430 917 to see if you qualify for a free energy audit and discounted products.
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