How you can save electricity costs and have more money for the things you love

There are few things more frustrating than getting your monthly bill, only to find out that it’s way over your budget.
Woman sitting under blanket drinking tea

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You might have left the air-con on a little longer than usual, or had the heater on the highest setting. Perhaps you simply forgot to turn off the lights when you and your family went away. Whatever the case, an unexpected bill can be a huge blow to the bank account.

What’s worse than an unexpected bill is when it causes you to cut back on the things you love or need to plan for - that special dinner, treating your family to a trip, or saving up for a house deposit. The good news is there are a number of ways you can help save electricity costs and have money left over for the things that matter.

Examine your electricity use

A great way to save electricity at home is to examine all the ways you use your electricity. According to research conducted in 2008, the average Aussie spends a huge 40% of their energy bill on heating and cooling alone. On average, the remaining bill goes to appliances, refrigeration and cooking (33%), hot water (21%) and lighting (6%).

Average household bill infographic

Cut back on cooling and heating

Do you reach for the air-con as soon as it gets hot? The heater as soon as winter rolls around? You might be one of the many Australians who find that heating and cooling make up the biggest portion of their electricity bill. Thankfully, you can reduce your heating bills without having to compromise on your lifestyle.

According to research, every degree over 20 can add 10% to your heating bill, so a good tip is to turn your heater down two or three degrees lower than usual. Using draft stoppers under doors and sealing windows and door cracks is a good way to keep the heat in and the cold air out.

heating bill thermometer infographic

If you sleep with an electric blanket on, try a hot water bottle instead or heat your bed for just a few minutes before you jump in. Make sure you also invest in warm clothes for around the house. Thermal shirts or socks keep you cosy and comfortable while helping you save electricity and money.

Similar electricity saving tips for heating can be applied to cooling. Wear fewer layers when it’s hot, or invest in some summer-friendly clothes in breathable fabrics like linen or cotton.

The lower the temperature you set your air conditioning to, the harder your appliances work and the more electricity you use. Setting the thermostat a couple of degrees higher than you’d usually have it is a good way to shave dollars off your electricity bill.

Shop smart

Do you check the efficiency ratings when you’re buying a new appliance like an air conditioner or a fridge? If not, you could be missing out on some seriously big savings. One of the best ways to save money on electricity is to look for the most energy-efficient appliance that meets your needs and your budget. The higher the efficiency rating, the more money you stand to save in the long term.

Wash clothes on cold

Washing clothes orange infographic

Did you know you can save up to $115 per year by washing your clothes in cold water? Using the cold water setting and selecting the shortest washing cycle is an easy way to help save electricity and reduce pesky bills.

Take advantage of the Aussie sun

Another great way to save electricity is to take advantage of the Australian sun. Remember, using natural light costs you nothing and is good for the environment. Use the clothesline instead of a dryer, open the blinds instead of reaching for the light switch or consider investing in a skylight.

When you do need your lights, replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient globes. Halogens use between 4 to 20 times as much power as LED globes. They can help you save electricity and last longer on average, helping you save money.

Fine tune your fridge

orange fridge temperate infographic

One of the appliances in your home that consumes the most electricity is the fridge. It’s always on, so it’s always using power. One of simplest ways to save electricity is to invest in a fridge with excellent efficiency ratings.

If you can’t afford a new fridge, make sure you check over your existing one to ensure it’s running as effectively as possible. Fridges can develop gaps in the seals allowing cold air to leak, meaning it will use more electricity to run. When it comes to the temperature, around 4-5 degrees is the optimal setting to ensure energy-efficiency. Reviewing your fridge settings is an easy but effective way to help you save electricity and money on your electricity bills.

Shorten your cooking time

Appliances, refrigeration and cooking make up 33% of an average Australian electricity bill. Heating up frozen food can use a lot of unnecessary energy. One solution is to thaw frozen food in the fridge if you have an electric cooktop. This helps reduce cooking time and can save electricity.

The same goes for keeping the lids on pots to lessen the amount of time your food sits on the stove. Microwaves are also more energy efficient than electric ovens, so it’s worth using a microwave to heat up food where you can and save electricity.

Finally, when you’re done cooking, make sure to use the economy settings on your dishwasher in order to get a good clean while saving electricity.

Shop around for providers

When was the last time you looked at how much other providers charge? If your answer is more than a year ago - or never - you could be missing out on big savings. Changing providers can be a simple and highly effective way to help you save electricity and money.

iSelect can help you compare from our range of energy providers* in your area so you get the most bang for your buck.

See how much you could save with iSelect.