There has been a significant spike in electric bills since the pandemic hit. The evident explanation is that we are spending more time at home. And if your utility charges more per unit the more you use, it’s twice whammy.
According to a recent survey from Consumer Pulse Report, only in Australia, do homeowners spend an average of $335 per quarter on energy and $234 per quarter on gas.
While bills were somehow bearable in previous years, it’s still a hefty amount, with more than a third of homeowners feeling they are not getting a good deal. At the moment, every penny counts, so it’s worth making a few adjustments to your energy consumption, such as a solar buyback plan, even if they will only save you a few dollars a year.
Reasons Your Electric Bill Goes Up
Even if you aren’t aiming for a zero-energy home (just yet), recognizing these reasons, and acting, will help you save in the long run.
Not Switching Off Home Appliances
Not the same as simply turning off the lights -switching off equipment and unplugging appliances can help you save a significant sum by disabling standby power.
According to Berkeley Lab researchers, standby power makes up to 10% of your total home energy use. That’s easily shocking because it’s the power you aren’t even using.
Outdated Equipment & Appliances
Equipment and appliances using energy because they are plugged in but not in use is one thing. Once worn out, they draw significantly more power than new items that use up-to-date technology.
If you have an energy-hungry water heating system, you can always change it for a reliable steam boiler rental. If you do want to keep it, replace it with a temporary mobile boiler that, at least, ensures energy efficiency.
The best strategy is to look for Energy Star appliances or steam boiler rental agencies that provide other recognized energy labels.
It’s essential to charge your mobile devices, but you shouldn’t keep any of them plugged in all day long or night. Usually, 2-3 hours is all the time required to charge them fully. Overcharging them, however, leads to an unnecessarily high electric bill.
Here’s how to slash bills both now and in the future:
Get Your Heating And Cooling Right
Lowering power bills and reducing your energy usage go hand in hand. Being more conscious of how you heat and cool your home – the biggest energy use in your home – is key.
More than 40% of energy use in households is due to cooling and heating, but this could easily reach 90% of energy use in poorly designed, inefficient homes. Hot water seems to be the second biggest driver, responsible for about 30% of usage.
Using fans might lower your energy usage on summer days. Still, it could be more diligent in temperature selection or choosing fan mode when using an air conditioner, especially an older AC.
Modern reserve ACs are a very efficient and affordable way to heat your home during winter. You might even be able to cut your winter electricity bill by some 40% by upgrading.
Closing curtains or blinds to reduce direct sunlight on hot days, particularly for west-facing homes, and utilizing window blinds often seen on older houses, is another simple approach that could make a considerable difference.
Draught-Proof And Insulate Your Home
Draught proofing and effective insulation are other key basics as they help keep households warm in winter and cool in summer.
The highest priority is making sure the building is decently insulated, which is typically an option limited to homeowners rather than renters. However, ensuring your home has good ceiling insulation to prevent rising temperatures under the roof from radiating into the household – particularly in houses with dark roofing – is particularly key.
Draught proofing is also critical to retain warm air in winter and cooler air during summer. Again, this might sound counterintuitive during the summer months, but there’s a real difference between having proper ventilation and a home leaking (cooler air from fans or AC).
Upgrade Or Ditch The Older Appliances
It’s no wonder that old appliances are less efficient and will have a larger impact on your electricity usage. However, this factor should be considered when weighing up whether it’s time to rethink your approach to appliances by upgrading and using them differently or ditching the older ones.
That said, new appliances are also not created equal, and it’s indicated to take a longer-term view and assess the energy efficiency of new household appliances when the time to upgrade arrives – by looking at the energy consumption score and star rating.
Assess your annual running expenses to see what you could save over the life of the appliance – you might save up to $100 or $200 on direct cost (on cheaper, less efficient models), but they will use a lot more energy than more expensive models.
Install Central Heating Controls
If you don’t already use a room programmer or a thermostat – installing them – using them properly could save a typical household $100. This will also reduce your home’s CO2 emissions by 320kg annually.
- Heating controls should allow you:
- Set hot water and heating to turn on and off to suit you
- Heat only liveable part of your home
- Set different temperatures for different areas of your home
- Keep your home at a temperature that’s comfortable without wasting too much energy and heat.
Reducing energy use in your home isn’t easy, but impossible either. However, you can save money, increase energy security, and reduce the pollution emitted from non-renewable sources of energy by upgrading, replacing certain appliances in your home, or shifting to a more environmentally friendly attitude.