Many Australians begrudgingly accept that using big-ticket items, like an air conditioner, will drain our pockets at bill time. But did you know there are many other factors which contribute to a higher number on our electricity invoice?
So what if you could make simple changes and save? We discuss what’s adding to your energy consumption and what you can do to avoid the quarterly money pit.
Leaving gadgets on charge for too long
Do you leave your smart devices charging overnight while you sleep? Perhaps you leave your shaver or electric toothbrush in the charge station while at work. The simple action of powering your devices for long periods of time is adding unnecessary costs to your bill. Most smart devices needn’t take more than two hours to fully charge, and to continue working efficiently they shouldn’t be left plugged in once they hit 100%. Small changes to your charging routine might take a bit of co-ordination and effort, but can save avoidable expenses.
Overfeeding the big items
It shouldn’t be a surprise that your biggest energy consumers are fridges, dishwashers, and washing machines, with the quarterly costs of these three items alone making up a third of your energy bill.
According to Energy Made Easy, this is a breakdown of the average cost:
- Dishwasher (top loader): $9.60 – $42.60
- Washing Machine Top Loader (cold cycle): $3.30 – $9.90
- Washing Machine Top Loader (warm cycle): $21.30 – $90
- Fridge (200 Litre): $25 – $50
Cost Cutting Solution: For your dishwasher, wait until your dishwasher is completely full before putting it through a cycle, and if possible, avoid heated drying. Instead, use air drying tactics or simply dry them yourself. If that sounds like too much work, selecting a low heat drying option can reduce consumption.
Heating type appliances is a common theme when it comes to increased energy use. You’ll notice there a significant pricing difference between a warm and cold wash. Opting for more cold washes could save the average household up to $80 per quarter.
Finally, there is the humble fridge. While it’s necessary to keep it running continuously, reducing the effort it takes for a fridge to maintain a regular temperature can be easily achieved. You can do this by:
- Avoid overstocking your fridge
- Keep it clean
- Fix any leaks or problems
- Any freezer/fridge combination should be defrosted regularly
- Update an outdated or old fridge
- If you own a second fridge, turn it off when not in use.
Letting vampire appliances bleed you dry
Vampires are everywhere in the home and they’ll continue to drain your pockets even when they aren’t in use. Most modern technology, such as your computer or TV, still draw energy even in standby mode; a status which allows the device to power on quicker than what it can from a no power mode.
Anything that sits with a plug in the wall and the switch on has the ability to suck extra power; from digital clocks to coffee machines, to microwaves, and even old VCR players.
Energy Made Easy has given a breakdown of what standby items are costing you each year on average:
- Telephone: $7.88
- TV: $26.28
- DVD: $21.02
- Computer Monitor: $13.14
Total: $68.32 per year.
Solution: Switch off all appliances at the wall, and if possible, unplug them. Then you’ll know they’re really off! Alternatively, invest in an eco switch system; a device which allows you to turn certain appliances off all at once eliminating stand-by mode.
You’ve got a faulty appliance
If you’ve received an unusually high bill, chances are it could either be a mistake by the energy company or a faulty meter. But if all those possibilities have been exhausted, the problem could lie with one of your appliances. Faulty white good, such as broken or leaking fridge, can not only make an energy bill soar, but it can also be life-threatening. If you suspect one of your appliances is faulty, do not use it until it has been fixed or replaced.
Using appliances past their best before date
Outdated appliances are a big contributor to exorbitant prices; the older the appliance, the more power it takes to run, with a fridge older than 10 years using four times the energy over a newer, more efficient model. The solution is simple – upgrade your whitegoods once they’ve reached their use-by.
Lowering your energy consumption can be quite simple, but if you believe you are being overcharged or your tariff is too high, it pays to shop around for a better price. Many people, especially those in rental properties, choose to stick with the provider of the previous tenant for pure convenience reasons – this can sometimes not be ideal. By comparing both energy and gas prices for your area, and ensuring you have a reasonable price, you’ll hopefully reduce any shock when bill time rolls around.