Home energy saving tips for lockdown
With Australia in lockdown, we’re now spending an enormous amount of time at home. As a result, most households will be using extra energy – up to 50% more than usual. So how can you power a home office (or two), cook every day and keep the comfort level of your home just right without seeing a surge in energy bills? We’ll break out our best home energy saving tips for lockdown.
Take control of your home energy costs.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend money on energy-saving products to cut your energy costs. There are lots of ways you can change your behaviour to lower your energy use. These thrifty energy-saving actions cost nothing to implement and you won’t need to leave the house! Plus, with more time on our hands, it’s a little easier to put these savvy habits into practice.
Know where energy is used in your home
A good starting point is understanding where energy in your home is being used. This helps you focus on things that make a difference. Of course every household is different, but the chart below is a good indication of where energy is used in a typical Aussie home.
Source: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/home-energy-use. All under Creative Commons
Home energy saving tips for lockdownSo let’s break out the tactics you can use to be more energy efficient at home, in the areas where you’re likely to be using more power. We’ll also outline strategies for solar owners to get the most from their rooftop energy and minimise electricity bills. Energy-efficient home office
Saving energy around the home
Energy-efficient home office
Whether you’re working from home or you have kids studying all-day, there are plenty of ways to minimise your energy use.
Switch on your computers energy-saving mode, which lowers power consumption during any moments that you stop using it. A laptop draws up to 70% less power than a desktop computer, so is a better choice. You’ll also cut power costs by unplugging any peripherals like printers, scanners or extra monitors that aren’t being used.
Don’t forget to take advantage of natural light by opening blinds or curtains. Ideally, place your desk where natural light is the strongest. If needed, a desk lamp is more efficient than lighting the whole room. Remember that windows offer natural ventilation and cooling.
Saving energy around the home
Go easy on heating and cooling
Household energy costs spike in winter and summer because of the energy required to warm and cool our homes. Stay comfortable with these home energy saving tips for lockdown.
Window coverings and doors can help insulate a home, keeping the temperature in a room constant. A tremendous amount of heat can be lost or gained through windows or escape through open doors into other spaces in the home. Use curtains and window furnishings to keep the sun out in summer. In winter, open blinds and let in the suns warmth. It’s far more efficient to control the temperature in a couple of rooms, than to heat or cool a whole house.
Fans are the most efficient and cheap way to cool a room. In winter when spinning in reverse, ceiling fans can push warm air back toward the floor. Cut air conditioning costs by 20% or more by dropping the temperature a couple of degrees in winter and running it to around 24 in summer. You’ll still be comfortable while keeping your bills from overheating. Don’t forget to give the air conditioning filters a quick clean by vacuuming, so it’s working efficiently.
Get efficient with appliances
Reduce your use of energy-intensive appliances.
Using the sun to dry your clothes, rather than putting them in the dryer means you’re avoiding energy costs. It’s gentler on your clothes and means less ironing (not that there’s much need for ironing when you’re WFH!).
Where you need to use an appliance, go for a”full on” strategy. In the laundry, make sure the washing machine is full before running a cycle. In the kitchen, select the economy cycle on the dishwasher and only run it with a full load. If you need dishes in between loads, why not handwash?
Shift your use.
For those on time of use tariffs (TOU), when you need to run appliances in the laundry and kitchen, it makes sense to do this at the cheapest times. Set a timer or switch them on before bed. Solar owners will want to shift energy use to the middle of the day when cheap solar power is available. This way, they can reduce the need to buy power from the grid.
Switch off appliances when not in use.
Standby on electrical devices, especially older technology, can draw considerable power. So turn off items like televisions, stereos and game consoles at the wall. Make it easier by using a powerboard. This way a single flick can switch a series of devices off at once.
Fill your fridge.
A fridge works more efficiently when full. Add pantry items to take up space if you need to. Set the fridge temperate to around 4 degrees and the freezer to minus 15 degrees. Plan to thaw items in the fridge and avoid using power to defrost food in the microwave.
Choose the right appliance for the job.
Cool down hot water costs
Hot water accounts for a big slice of energy in most homes.
Check that your hot water units thermostat is set to 60 degrees. Otherwise, you’re paying to use more energy than you need to heat your water. You’ll find more hot water tips here.
Brighter lighting ideas
Try to use natural light during the day and turn off any extra lights that are not needed. While we’re tackling lighting, if you still have any incandescent or halogen lights running, it’s worth updating these to LEDs. LEDs use up to 80% less energy, so it’s worthwhile digging into your spare lamp box to update any old-school globes still lurking around your home.
Get a better electricity deal
The difference between an average market deal and the most competitive plans could save you 10% or more annually. So, it pays to make sure you’re on a competitive electricity plan. Find out if there’s a better deal for you with WATTever’s comprehensive comparison. You can easily compare all the publicly-listed electricity offers available to you, using your homes energy use. If you find there’s cheaper deal for you, then it’s worth your while to switch. For more information check out our essential guide to comparing electricity here.
Savvy solar strategies
Most solar owners get better value by ‘self-consuming’ the energy generated from their PV setup than by earning a feed-in tariff. Over time, feed-in tariffs are set to fall, so you’ll want to use more of your solar to avoid buying electricity from the grid.
If you have a 5kW system, then on sunny days you could expect it to generate a peak output around 4kW in the middle of the day. As a result, you could power several appliances at once from solar. In contrast on a cloudy day, when a system may generate as little as 500W, you’ll want to spread out the use of appliances through the day.
It pays to get ‘shifty’ with Appliances.Shift the time you run appliances to coincide with your PV panels peak generation time. Setting washing machines and dryers during daylight hours to run from solar will reduce your energy costs. Dishwashers are an ideal solar-powered candidate too.
Enjoy guilt-free A/C.
Your PV system generates maximum power during the middle of the day, so it makes sense to use it to stay comfortable. Use your air conditioner to cool the house in summer or warm in winter during the day. This way, you can reduce the need to run it in the early evening when you’ll need to buy power from the grid.
Are you looking to do more?
Don’t forget that there are lots of things that can be safely ‘ordered in’, like home delivery of energy-efficient light globes. You could even add solar, discussing the quotes online or over the phone, before having the install team do their work outside your home. So with all this time at hand, why not try some home energy saving tips or get started on a little project to help manage energy bills now and into the future.
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