Spending more time at home means you will most likely use more energy, just when many of us are looking for ways to tighten the household budget. If your home uses a number of gas appliances, then you are likely to see your gas bills rise as you spend more time indoors.
Hopefully more time at home also means a bit more free time. So why not put it to good use and review your energy use? Check out our top tips on where you can start saving now.
According to the Australian Government’s Your Home guide, approximately 21% (1) of a typical household’s energy use comes from heating water. Finding ways to reduce the amount of water you use at home could immediately help you reduce your gas bill. Here are some ideas to consider:
Often, the hot water that comes out of your taps is mixed with cold to bring it to an ideal temperature for showering or doing laundry. Lowering the thermostat on your gas hot water system to a more ideal temperature reduces your gas usage, as the water needs less heating. This alone can help reduce your gas bill.
Nearly half (2) of all hot water systems in Australia use gas to heat the water. These days, you can choose from two main types of gas hot water systems: Storage and Instantaneous.
Gas storage systems keep water heated in an insulated storage tank for use whenever needed, while instantaneous systems heat water as it is used. Constant heating in a storage system uses more gas, so it could pay to switch to an instantaneous system to save money.
When buying or upgrading an appliance, taking note of the water rating label can save you money. The Australian Government (3) regulate products under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme. Each label has a star rating and is an estimate on how much water the appliance uses. Buying appliances with a higher rating can reduce the amount of water you use.
Even though hot water storage tanks are insulated, they still waste about 30% (4) of energy used through heat loss. Insulating the hot water pipes attached to the system can help to reduce this and save you money – better yet, it might be worth switching to an instantaneous system.
Dishwashers often have an economy mode that washes your dishes at a lower temperature. Try using this mode to save more money on water heating and make sure to only turn the dishwasher on when it’s full. When buying a dishwasher, be sure to check the water rating labels and choose one with a better rating.
Washing your clothes with heated water only adds to your gas bill. Switching to cold (5) can easily save you money, while still effectively cleaning your clothes. If you prefer to use heated water, always match the water level to the size of the load and try to only wash your clothes when the machine is full.
Using less hot water in the bathroom can dramatically reduce your gas bill. Simply have showers instead of baths, have shorter showers and fix any dripping taps immediately. You could also save over $300 per year (6) just by choosing a low-flow shower head. And if you are working from home, you may find yourself needing to shower less or wash your hair less frequently!
If you have a gas oven and stove, you can make changes to the way you cook to help save even more money on your gas bill. And with restaurants and cafes closed for eating-in, many of us are cooking at home more. Here are our top tips:
Recipes that call for preheating usually have electric ovens in mind, as they take longer to heat up. With a naked flame, a gas oven can heat up fast, so you can usually skip the preheating stage, saving gas in the process. When heat escapes while you’re cooking, it increases the amount of gas needed to cook your food. Keeping the oven door closed during cooking helps to keep heat contained. Likewise, heat can escape through old or damaged seals. Check the seals around your oven door using a sheet of paper. If you notice any places heat could be escaping, try replacing your seals.
Simply making sure pot lids fit snugly when boiling water can reduce the amount of gas you use. Using round bottom pans also allows the flame to more efficiently heat the food. Why not try turning the gas off just before the food is cooked and allow the residual heat to finish the cooking process?<
At iSelect, we know how overwhelming finding a suitable gas plan can be. With our free service you can compare gas plans online from our range of providers*, and see if you can find a plan which suits you.