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How To Cut The Cost Of Keeping Warm In Winter
In winter, the comfort of keeping warm at home can sometimes be offset by the worry of increased power costs.
Energy costs are a concern for most Australians, with a survey conducted in February 2018 by YouGov Galaxy suggesting that 90% of voters thinking it’s important that governments help reduce energy bills1.
As we’re paying more than ever for our energy, it’s little surprise. In June 2018, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission reported that household consumers’ electricity bills have risen 35% in the last 10 years2.
Gas costs have gone up too. Between 2006 and 2015, retail customers saw price increases in all states; from 23% in Victoria to 74% in Tasmania3.
So how do you stay warm and reduce your energy spend? Let’s explore ways to lessen your energy costs.
Look at your home’s heating and insulation
Household heating and cooling accounts for 40% of energy use in the average Australian household4. Add to that a nice hot shower or bath and we’re up to 61% of energy use just to keep comfortable and clean.
Finding the most efficient heating system to meet your household needs is an important step towards reducing your energy expenditure.
Electric heaters may be relatively cheap to buy, but are costly to run. Gas heaters and some reverse cycle air conditioners use less energy and are more environmentally friendly.
If you have a centralised system, be sure to heat only the rooms you use.
You can also cut energy costs by making your home more heat efficient; from simple measures such as using draft excluders to installing effective insulation in the walls and roof space.
Prevent energy waste
The South Australian government estimates that the average household can save around $215 per year by switching off their appliances5 (computers, televisions, washing machines and so on) rather than leaving them on standby.
Speaking of switching off, your household lighting alone generates between 8 and 15% of your energy costs6. So remember to turn off lights when you’re not using them.
If you haven’t replaced all of your old halogen light bulbs with LED bulbs, now’s the time to do so. They’re much cheaper to run and last longer.
When buying new appliances, look for ones with a higher energy efficiency rating. This can save you money in the long term.
You may also want to consider all of the appliances you already have.
A second fridge or freezer may be useful, but it’s worth asking whether you really need it or if it’s just draining money.
Adapt your lifestyle
The most immediate way to reduce energy costs is to use less.
Shorter showers, lower temperature machine washes and reducing the heating temperature can help right away. If you live with other people, eating at the same time or using appliances at the same time means that you can share energy use better.
Most energy companies charge more for energy use at particular times. Check with your energy supplier to find out when their unit costs are highest. For example, electricity is almost always cheaper to use at night7, so if you have a washing machine and dishwasher, it’s best to schedule their use when prices are lower. Want to learn more about when these times might be, feel free to call iSelect on 13 19 20 and compare rates.
We’re pretty fortunate in Australia to be blessed with plenty of sunshine, and capturing the sun’s energy can be one of the most satisfying ways to save money.
The initial investment on a solar energy system may be quite high, but in the long run there are savings to be made. Thermal solar collectors can be used to heat water, and photovoltaic panels can be installed to convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Of course, both systems usually need backups in the form of battery storage, or additional gas or electrical heaters for darker days. That said, solar power systems can still save you a lot of money.
Australia is a global leader in renewable energy, with wind energy being widespread too. In fact renewables provide 16% of the nation’s energy8.
If the prospect of a switch to green energy looks a little daunting, there’s government advice available through the Renewable Energy Agency9.
Perhaps the quickest way for Australians to save money on energy is to take advantage of the energy market and shop around.
In the past you might have been stuck with one supplier, but now most consumers have a wide choice of companies offering a range of different energy plans.
The options available can vary by location, time of the day the energy’s used and energy type.
Some companies offer discounts when you buy both your gas and electricity from them, or choose a particular payment method.
But it pays to also check the length of the contracts and early exit fees that differ between companies.
Looking for a better deal on your energy?
Shopping around can be confusing but at iSelect, we’ve made it simple. Tens of thousands of Australians have already used us to switch to a better energy deal. Why not see how much you could save today? Call us today on 13 19 20.
We don’t compare all plans in the market. Not all plans are available at all times.