Love smaller-than-expected gas and electricity bills?

We’ve created these energy saving tips to show you how to save energy around the house. Simply choose a room to get started.

Bathroom Laundry Living Room Kitchen Outdoors

Kitchen

Kitchen
  • Choose to half-fill the kitchen sink and scrub your dirty dishes by hand instead of running them under hot water.
Fridge and Freezer
  • Fridges can account for 7% of your household's total energy use^.
  • Avoid setting the temperature of your fridge or freezer too low.  Set the fridge and freezer thermostat to the recommended temperature. 40C for the fridge and -180C for the freezer.
  • Figure out what you need from the fridge before you open the door, every time it is opened you let out about 30% of the cool air.
  • If possible, locate the fridge out of direct sunlight, with ideally a 50 cm space top and sides to let it ventilate so it doesn't need to work as hard to keep cool.
  • A freezer operates most efficiently when it's at least three quarters full, so keep yours full but not overcrowded. Use water containers or bags of ice to fill empty space.
  • A freezer uses more electricity when there’s ice build-up, so defrost it regularly to help save energy. If ice builds up again quickly, check your door seals.
  • Don’t put hot food into the fridge, as it will heat up the internal temperature and make the fridge work harder.
  • Keep the condenser coils at the bottom or back of your fridge clear of dust so air can circulate freely. It can otherwise make the motor work harder and use more power.
  • Regularly clean and check the seals on your fridge door to make sure they're tight. If you can close the door on a piece of paper and remove it without any friction, you might need to replace the seals.
  • Keeping a second freezer running could cost over $600 a year, regardless of if it is being used or not.
  • Always look at the Energy Rating label when you purchase a new fridge or freezer. The more stars, the less electricity it’ll use.

^Source:Baseline Energy Estimates, 2008

Dishwasher
  • Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher with the lowest temperature and the shortest time when you can.
  • Avoid running your dishwasher during the hottest parts of the day so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to reduce the added heat and humidity.
  • Always look at the Energy Rating label when you purchase a new dishwasher. The more stars, the less electricity and water it’ll use.
  • Where possible, run appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer not at off peak energy tariff times.
Microwave
  • Microwaves are more efficiently to run than electric ovens They are rated from 700 – around 1200 Watts, so choose the right size and wattage for your needs.  Ovens range from around 3 kiloWatts upwards, depending on size and efficiency.
  • Stir or turn food regularly to reduce cooking time.
  • Always look at the Energy Rating label when you purchase a new microwave. The more stars, the more you could save on your electricity usage.
Cooking
  • Limit how many times you open your oven door to stop heat from escaping.
  • Like with fridge seals, if you can remove a sheet of paper easily when your oven door is closed, you may need to replace the seals.
  • Let frozen food defrost in the fridge overnight to avoid using the microwave.
  • Make sure frozen food is completely thawed out to save cooking time and energy.
  • Use a lid when you’re boiling water in a pot to save energy and cook food faster.
  • Don't preheat the oven for longer than you need.
  • Slow-cooked dishes don’t need a preheated oven, plus you can turn the oven off 15 minutes before you take them out.
  • To get the most out of your oven or cook top, use it to capacity by cooking everything at the same time if you can.
  • Use flat bottom pans with tight-fitting lids that match the size of your electric cook top to cut down on heat loss, and use rounded pans for cooking with gas.
  • Try to cook on your BBQ or in your microwave during summer to keep your kitchen cool.
  • Kettles vary in wattage from around 2200 W upwards.  Don’t waste energy by filling it full of cold water when you only want one cup!

Outdoors

Pool
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation and to keep in the heat.
  • Running your pool’s filter for 8 to 12 hours in summer and 6 to 8 hours in winter is normally more than enough.
  • Clean the pool’s skimmer box and filters often to ease pressure on your pool pump.
  • Drain and refill your pool only when you have to.
  • Use storm and rainwater to top up your pool.
  • Test your pool’s chemical balance regularly. Getting it right should help you keep the water clean without using the filter too much.

Living Room

Heating and Cooling
  • Close doors so you're only heating or cooling the spaces you're in, instead of the whole house.
  • Layer up. Putting on a jumper is cheaper than turning on the heater!
  • Don't leave your heater/cooler running overnight or while you're out. If you're really worried about those cold mornings, buy an efficient portable heater with a timer.
  • Hang heavy lined curtains to keep heat in during the winter and out on hot summer days.
  • To reduce your use of heating and cooling devices, close your windows and curtains before the house heats up on summer days, and at night in winter.
Heating
  • Use thermostats and timers where possible.
  • Set your heating to 19 – 220C.  Every degree higher could add up to 10% on your heating bill.
  • Shut heating vents in the rooms you're not using.
  • It's also worth putting deflectors on vents near windows, so the heat goes into the centre of the room and not out the window. 
  • If possible, use only to heat small areas for short periods.
  • Bar heaters and radiators are not good for heating space. Use these when sitting at a desk studying or on the couch reading.

^Source: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/energy/heating-and-cooling

Cooling
  • Use overhead or portable fans instead of air conditioners where possible.  They are effective and use less energy.
  • Drape a wet sheet over an open doorway.  It's nature's air conditioner.
  • Set the thermostat on your cooling between 23 – 260 C. Every degree lower could add 10% to the cooling energy usage charges on your bill.
  • Cool your home naturally. Once the temperature has cooled outside, open windows, and curtains and blinds, to let the cool air in.
  • Change the pads on your evaporative cooler before each summer.

^Source: http://www.energyrating.gov.au/

Elecronics Devices
  • It is now estimated that home electronics and computers now account for around 15% of household energy use.
  • Create a 'charging station' powerboard for devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets and digital cameras, so you can turn off individual chargers (if your powerboard has individual switches) or the whole strip when nothing is being charged.
  • Turn off standby on your devices, as these use around 10% of electricity in the average home. And up to 75% of standby power is used when devices are not even in use!
Computers
  • Put your computer to sleep when you won’t be using it for short periods of time. You can change its settings so this happens automatically.
  • Screensavers don’t save energy. Turn off your screen if you won't be using it for a longer period, and turn it off at the wall
  • Choose a high efficiency LCD or LED monitor, as they use less than half the electricity is conventional monitors. Remember, the more energy stars, the more efficient the monitor.
  • When you won’t be using your computer for longer periods, shut it down and turn it off at the wall.
Lighting
  • Use natural light wherever possible (e.g. open curtains in the morning instead of turning on the light).
  • Halogen downlights are energy inefficient to use. Limit their use or replace them with LED globes. If you can’t replace them with downlights, invest in a few table lamps fitted with LED A bulbs to light your space.
  • Use efficient lights like LED A globes or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL).
  • Turn off lights when you’re not in the room (fluorescents and low energy lights).
  • Ensure that outdoor lights are switched off during the day.
  • Remember light-colored surfaces reflect light and will help illuminate the room.
  • Use appropriate light levels – don’t over light a room.

^Source: http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/lighting

Televisions and other entertainment devices
  • Entertainment devices use electricity even when in standby mode. Where possible, turn off at the power point when not in use.  Or plug your devices into a standby power control board, which will automatically switch them off for you.
  • Games consoles can cost around $450/year just on standby,
  • TVs are now the fourth largest energy user in our homes. The cheapest and biggest TVs aren’t necessarily the best – they will cost you more over the life of the TV, and may not produce the best quality picture.

Laundry

Laundry
  • When buying a new washing machine, dish washer or hot water service, make sure you size your purchase to meet your needs (i.e. bigger isn’t necessarily better if you have a small household) and compare the energy rating of the various units so that you choose a product which doesn’t cause large ongoing energy bills.
Clothes Dryer
  • Limit your use of the dryer. Use a clothesline or clothes horse whenever you can.
  • Venting your dryer to an outside point where it can release the moist air should help improve its efficiency. Or if that’s not possible, open up windows or doors so there’s better ventilation when your dryer is on.
  • Set your dryer to 'warm' instead of 'hot'. It may take longer for your clothes to dry but you should use less energy. Clean the lint filter before every use.
  • Don’t put dripping-wet clothes in your dryer. Wring them out or give them a good spin in the washing machine beforehand.
  • If you must use the dryer, doing consecutive loads will help you maximise the built-up heat.
  • Put together clothes that require roughly the same amount of drying time so you don't waste energy over-drying them.
  • In summer, use your washing machine in the early morning or late evening and stop from adding to the heat and humidity in your home.
  • Always look at the Energy Rating label when you purchase a new clothes dryer. The more stars, the less electricity it’ll use.
Washing Machine
  • If your clothes can be washed in cold water, always wash them in cold water. It’ll help save on your hot water costs.
  • Match the machine’s wash cycle and water level to the type and size of each load.
  • Choose the shortest possible one wherever it’s possible.
  • Save time and energy and use your machine less by doing full loads of washing.
  • Use the spin cycle and hang your washing outside to dry instead of using a clothes dryer.
  • In summer, use your washing machine in the early morning or late evening and stop from adding to the heat and humidity in your home.
  • Always look at the Energy Rating label when you purchase a new washing machine. The more stars, the less electricity it’ll use.

Bathroom

Bathroom
  • Replace your showerhead with a low flow unit.
  • If your landlord won’t give permission and won’t allow you to exchange the existing showerhead, go for a flow restrictor instead. You can install them yourself, and they do the same thing as a water saving showerhead.
  • Reduce the time you spend in the shower.
Hot water and taps
  • Take a shower as it uses around one fifth the amount of hot water as taking a bath.
Water heating
  • Up to 38% of your home’s yearly energy usage can go on producing and storing the hot water it needs for things like cooking, bathing, and cleaning clothes and dishes^.
  • Having showers instead of baths and keeping your shower time under 4 minutes can go a long way in keeping your hot water usage down.
  • Insulating your water heater’s pipes can keep its water hotter for longer.
  • A low-flow showerhead can cut down your shower’s energy and hot water usage.
  • Save energy by washing as many loads as you can using cold water.
  • Avoid overfilling your laundry tub with more water than you actually need.
  • You can tell if your water heater has any leaks by looking for pools of water around its base. Also, listen for any water that’s running when your taps are turned off. This may suggest your home has a cracked or broken water pipe.
  • A dripping tap can leak hundreds of litres a year, costing you plenty. Make sure taps are turned off tightly and repair any that are leaking.
  • While there are energy efficient water heaters available, a solar hot water service can use the power of the sun instead of adding to the total of your gas or electricity bills.

^Source:Baseline Energy Estimates, 2008

Energy saving tips

 

Summer Saving Tips: Cooling

Fans can reduce the temperature of a room by around 3 degrees, and are much cheaper to run than an air conditioner. You can use them with with your air conditioner, to move air around the room and lower air conditioner use.