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Our addiction to home comforts is growing: 3 in 4 Aussies rely on appliances more than ever before

By Hannah Twiggs | 4 Mar 2019
4 min read

Our addiction to comfort is growing, with new research revealing that 76 per cent of Aussies use more energy in their homes compared to five years ago, with a further third (33 per cent) owning more white goods and appliances than they did half a decade ago.

The findings come from a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1087 Australian adults, commissioned by leading financial comparison service comparethemarket.com.au1, to discover Aussies’ electricity usage and appliance ownership habits compared to five years ago.

Staying cool during the warmer months is essential for many, with 65 per cent of respondents admitting they use air-conditioners and cooling fans more than they did five years ago – making it the number one appliance for most households. Our addiction to screens is also on the rise, with computer and television use believing to have increased for 39 per cent and 29 per cent of respondents respectively.

Not only are Aussies using more energy, as a nation we’re becoming more dependent on our appliances; a fifth (21 per cent) of consumers confess to using a microwave to heat up their food more than they did five years ago and 20 per cent admit they use dishwashers more than ever before to do the hard work. An equal fifth (20 per cent) of respondents said they also use kitchen equipment such as blenders, coffee machines and electric kettles more now than they did five years ago.

When asked whether respondents think they own more white goods and household appliances now compared to five years ago, surprisingly only 11 per cent of people said they now own fewer. A third (33 per cent) admitted to having more household appliances now than they did previously – pointing to our penchant for purchasing the newest and latest household tech.

Geographical location and weather climates greatly influence how Aussies in different states use energy.  Many states increased their usage of air-conditioners compared to five years ago, including half of Queenslanders from the “sunshine state” (50 per cent), two fifths of NSW residents (43 per cent), over a third of Victorians (39 per cent) and just under a third of ACT residents (31 per cent). By a similar token, those living in cooler states switched their heaters on more often than those living in warmer parts of the country. The results showed that 31 per cent of ACT residents, 26 per cent of Victorians and 23 per cent of Tasmanians increased their heater usage, compared with just seven (7) per cent of Queenslanders during the same time frame.

Cooling a home during the warmer months each year can cost up to $10 for fans, $20-50 for split system air-conditioners and $125-255 for ducted air-conditioners2, while heating the household up can cost between $200-310 for split system reverse air-conditioners, $340-395 for a gas heater and $1295-1705 for ducted heating3. Annual running costs for white goods also range anywhere between $101-171 for a fridge, $74-203 for a washing machine and $37-75 for a dishwasher4.

Spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au Rod Attrill says: “We all want to live comfortably and enjoy the benefits of modern technology. However, we need to be aware of the negative impact our desire for convenience and efficiency can have on our finances. With electricity rates soaring, Aussies need to be smart about conserving energy during all times of the year.

“Making small changes such as opening a window instead of turning on an air-conditioner, line-drying clothes in favour of putting them in the dryer or hand-washing dishes rather using a dishwasher can have a huge impact on our energy bills. Aussies should also use comparison sites such as comparethemarket.com.au to make sure that their energy provider and plan still suits their needs while getting the best value for money.”

Appliances respondents use more now than they did 5 years ago % of respondents 
Air-conditioners43%
Computers39%
Televisions29%
Cooling fans23%
Microwaves21%
Heaters20%
Kitchen appliances (blenders, coffee machines, electric kettle)20%
Dishwasher20%
Clothes dryer15%
Lighting15%
Vacuum cleaner14%
Electric blankets8%
Air purifiers or humidifiers6%
Beauty appliances (e.g. hair dryer, hair straightener)5%
Floor heating3%
I have not increased my usage of any electrical items in the last 5 years24%

 

For interviews and more information, please contact:
Macrina Lim | +61 2 9279 3330 | +61 430 547 751 | mlim@theideassuite.com.au   

[1] Survey conducted by Pureprofile in December 2018
[2] Positive Charge, ‘Heating and cooling for households’ – Sustainability Victoria Heating/Cooling Running Costs: https://www.positivecharge.com.au/household/heating-cooling-households/
[3] ibid
[4] AGL Energy, ‘The real cost of running your home’s appliances’: https://content.agl.com.au/your-home/real-cost-running-appliances/

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Written by Hannah Twiggs

Hannah (or Twiggs as she's known by most of her colleagues) is a non-stop talker, avid snack eater, dog lover and passionate writer. When she's not chatting to journalists or writing up new story angles, Hannah enjoys a good Netflix binge, going away camping with friends and big brunches - preferably with extra bacon.

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