Standby power is a reasonably new concept, with newer appliances being the major culprits. Most appliances or technologies we plug into wall sockets use power if the switch is turned on at the wall, sitting ready for action in ‘standby’ mode.
Standby mode may be adding to your electricity costs, but it’s reasonably easy to avoid by switching things off at the wall rather than using the power toggle on the appliance itself.
Some common appliances that consume standby power include:
If you have a smart meter that’s configured for a time-of-use tariff, you can potentially benefit from maximising your electricity usage at off-peak or shoulder rates. This type of tariff is ideal for people who work from home or can schedule high-energy appliances to be used throughout the day, rather than during peak times in the evening.
If you use both electricity and gas, you might want to check out our guide on reducing your gas bills.
Older appliances are typically less energy-efficient than their modern counterparts. Replacing old household appliances that are frequently used (such as fridges, freezers and washing machines) with more energy-efficient appliances can significantly impact your home energy use.
Similarly, newer large appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, can be far more energy-efficient than older models, especially where they have eco-functions that can also help reduce water use. When it comes to lighting, LED bulbs have a longer lifespan and are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, modern appliances or technologies with large screens or powerful software, like TVs and modern gaming consoles, may use more energy than older models.
Appliances with higher energy star ratings are usually more energy-efficient and may save you money on your electricity bill. Learn more about how energy ratings affect your bill with our guide to technology energy consumption.
An affordable way to improve your heater or aircon’s efficiency is to install insulation if you don’t already have it. Insulation can regulate your home’s temperature by preventing the indoor and outdoor temperatures from flowing in or out of your home.
According to the Mackay Regional Council, the heat loss and gain in houses with no insulation can be:
Smaller homes are usually more energy-efficient because they have less surface area for heat to escape and enter (assuming that your home is fully sealed). Freestanding homes generally use more energy for heating and cooling than those with shared walls or roofs as well.
When trying to heat or cool down areas of your home, close off any unused rooms to use less electricity and improve your energy efficiency.
Solar power can reduce the amount of electricity you need from the grid, lowering your electricity bill. Using solar power requires a smart meter, meaning you’ll also be able to track your electricity usage.
Knowing what times your home uses the most electricity may help you control your usage and potentially save you money. For example, you could change your electricity habits so your high-usage times are during the middle of the day when you’re using your solar power.
You can also compare retailers for a suitable solar feed-in tariff, so you can be paid for exporting your excess solar power to the grid. With a solar battery to store power from your solar photovoltaic (PV) system, you can also use your stored electricity during the night, which may help you save on energy costs.
While long, hot showers, clothes dryers and heat-drying your dishes are convenient to use, they can rack up your electricity bill. Consider your energy habits and how you may be using energy needlessly. Try some of these tips:
1 Mackay Regional Council. Insulate, shade and weatherproof your house. Accessed 25 November 2020.
2 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Appliances, lighting and equipment. Accessed 29 October 2020.
3 Sustainability Victoria (2020). Cooling running costs. Accessed 25 November 2020.
4 Sustainability Victoria (2020). Calculate heating running costs. Accessed 25 November 2020.
5 Sustainability Victoria (2020). Hot water running costs. Accessed 25 November 2020.
6 Sustainability Victoria (2021). Reduce fridge and freezer costs at home. Accessed 5 May 2021.
7 ACT Government (2018). Energy saving guide. Accessed 25 November 2020.