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Cut costs at home with these energy-saving tips

Rising electricity prices might be a fact of life these days, but there are plenty of steps you can take around the house to minimise bill shock. Here are the household appliances that guzzle the most energy – and some ways to tame them.

Make the most of your heater’s controls

We spend more money powering our heaters and air conditioners than we do on any other household appliance – up to 40% of our total bill, in fact. But with a few simple tweaks, it’s possible to significantly reduce their running costs. Here’s a few tricks to keep in mind this winter:

  • If you’re installing a new system with a thermostat – or your current heater has a thermostat that can be moved – be sure to position the thermostat in a frequently used room away from sources of heat or cold (e.g. windows) so your system receives reliable information
  • Rather than switching off your heating manually when you go to bed, set a timer to do it 30 minutes before your normal bedtime. The cooling room will prompt you to go to sleep and you’ll save power in the process
  • Check your heater’s advanced controls. If your unit blows air, consider setting the fan to low speed and disabling left-to-right movement. Many units also have ‘eco’ modes that minimise running costs when activated
Turn off the TV

The humble television is surprisingly expensive to run, costing each household almost as much as the fridge each year. Depending on the energy rating of your TV, it can cost anywhere between $12 and $90 to run each year. This accounts for about 19% of the average Australian home’s energy bill, putting the box in the top four energy suckers in your home. To lower the cost, switch the TV off at the power point when you’re not watching it.

Avoid using the dryer

Clothes dryers are expensive to run, costing up to $200 each year. While your dryer might be the family’s saviour in winter, you can reduce running costs in these simple ways:

  • Partly dry your washing on the line then finish it off in the dryer
  • Use a medium setting instead of high
  • Don’t overload the dryer – the longer it’s running, the more power it uses
Economise on your oven

While the oven is a household necessity, it’s also a money cooker. For each hour you use your oven, it can cost up to 63 cents. To save on your cooking costs, you should:

  • Only pre-heat for the necessary time
  • Regularly check that your oven is well sealed
  • Cook several things while the oven is on
Consider buying a new fridge

While the upfront cost of buying a new refrigerator can sting, it often makes sense in the long run. Today’s fridges use a whopping 40% less energy than equivalent fridges that were being sold just 15 years ago, so a new model could save you hundreds of dollars annually. As a general rule, one big fridge is cheaper to operate than two small ones, so if you have an extra fridge in the garage to store surplus drinks or frozen food, consider getting rid of it and upgrading to one larger kitchen fridge. Design features are also a consideration: for example, French door fridges save energy because you can open one door at a time. But think carefully about the extra bells and whistles you might not need: water dispensers, for instance, increase energy usage by up to 20%.

Wondering how much your other appliances are costing you? Your Energy Savings helps you calculate the cost of running each of your appliances. Ultimately, though, switching things off when possible and buying energy-efficient options will help to cut those bills.

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