With the increasing cost of living, many Aussies are finding it difficult to afford their energy bills and this winter is expected to cause a lot of financial pain for households already feeling the pinch of inflation and rising interest rates. This winter is expected to be the most expensive yet for households and people need to take action before it is too late.
There are some simple yet effective things householders can do to prepare for the upcoming winter season to reduce their energy bills. Trusted by over one million Aussies, Chromagen provides Australians with the country’s bestselling, money-saving energy utilities including energy-efficient electric hot water systems and is a registered installer of electric hot water systems with a number of government energy-saving schemes.
How can Aussie households save on their energy bills?
There are some easy ways to reduce your energy bills. The first thing households must do is undertake an audit of key appliances including hot water systems which chew up to 70% of energy bills. Here are tips on how to prepare for, and slash your bills, this season.
Be aware of thermostat settings
During the winter months, heating your house can result in astronomical power bills if you’re not prepared. Stock up on comfortable winter clothing to wear around the house.
In the cooler months, keep yourselves warm while inside by rugging up in something cosy and warm and set the thermostat to between 18 and 22 degrees celsius. For every degree that you turn the heating up, that is adding an additional ten percent to your running costs.
Choose the cold wash
Purchase washing powder for cold washes. Choosing to wash your laundry with cold water can make an enormous difference. Besides the cost savings, washing in cold water actually helps your clothes last longer and colours don’t fade as fast.
Save the warm wash until you really need it. Hot water is a real energy zapper so you will want to be more wary the next time you throw a load in. If you are worried that cold washes do not sanitise clothes, simply purchase a laundry sanitiser from the supermarket.
Closing your door and curtains
Check the quality of your window dressings. If they need to be improved, make the changes now. Blocking draughts that come in under your door, and keeping your doors and curtains closed is an effective way of keeping warm air in during the colder months.
The harder your appliances have to work to keep a large open space warm/cold, the more they are going to cost you. It makes no sense to spend money on keeping the house at a comfortable temperature while at the same time allowing air leakage. When it comes to pets, do not keep a door open for the cat to come home. Get a cat flap and close the door!
Importance of Insulation
Proper insulation is the key to reducing your energy bills as it helps keep your home at a comfortable temperature meaning that your heater or cooler is only closing the gap. Upgrading your ceiling insulation means that you’re reducing heat transfer, and you could reduce your bills by up to 45%, or between $200 and $500 for normal households.
Have you changed all your light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs? Besides the savings on your power bills, these lighting options have been proven to last up to 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. So even if you are spending a bit more upfront when you buy them, they are well worth the investment because they’ll save you a whole heap in the long run.
Utilise free government hot water system replacement schemes
Look into the incentives being offered by the government. They are significant. Thanks to some hot water system replacement schemes, many households will save around $13,000 over a period of ten years. Most will save nearly $3,000 upfront. The freebies and giveaways to encourage households to be more energy efficient are extraordinary.
Currently the $250 Power Saving Bonus is open in Victoria. So, if you are living in Victoria and are the account holder, you are likely to be eligible for this one-time payment of $250.
The NSW and Victorian govts are running schemes where they help you replace your electric hot water system for almost no cost to you. The New South Wales Energy Savings Scheme has been a game changer for people and made it possible for them to book in with Chromagen to get our premium electric hot water systems installed for next to nothing.
The installation of a new energy-saving electric hot water system will save you around $3,000 and can amount to well over $10,000 over the following years. Hot water chews up 30% of your power bill so, my strong advice is to act before govts change the schemes and reduce the benefits. Get a new energy-saving electric hot water system ASAP for only $33.
Look into purchasing an energy monitoring system. An energy monitoring system can lower utility bills and optimise operations. They provide real-time and historic power usage so that you can be informed about when and how you are using power in your home through usage patterns. These monitors can also identify which appliances are the energy guzzlers which can help you make tactical decisions about how often you use them.
Energy free days
Earth hour happens every year on 25 March for an hour, with the aim of reducing energy consumption, but why does it only have to be on that one day of the year?
Do your homework and plan ahead. Instead of everyone holed up in their separate rooms engrossed in their own activities, with lights turned on, music in the background and an electric blanket going in each room, why not have a TV night together in one room, turn all the lights off, get blankets, popcorn and have some good old fashioned fun.
Crazily enough, now that we’re out of lockdown, and everyone is shuttling back and forth doing things, some people have mentioned that they kind of miss some of the really good family time they had when we were forced to live more simply… and cheaply.
Get solar panels
Besides doing your bit for the environment, installing rooftop solar panels can save you thousands in bills over time. There are many products available on the market and governments also provide interest-free loans for the purchase of clean energy solutions. Again, make the most of government incentives as they will not last forever.
Do your research when it comes to power providers
It always pays to do your research, so take the time to compare the pricing from energy companies and choose the best one for your household. Prices vary significantly depending on the provider and the type of plan you choose. Don’t forget to negotiate with your own provider as they would prefer to retain your business rather than lose it.
Aim to do this before winter sets in so you are prepared in advance. Clark states that rather than seeing your utility bills as an inevitable expense, see them as something you can cut down on if you are committed to taking action and being smart about it.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s summer or winter, by making smart, informed choices, you can be assured to be in better control of your power bills. And with winter approaching, do your research and make any changes needed ASAP to avoid winter bill shock.
Daniel Clark is Head of Commercial for Chromagen. Chromagen is an approved solar retailer and an international leader in thermal solar energy systems. Chromagen is a pioneer in energy-efficient hot water systems and as an international award-winning company, has been entrusted with the installation of household heating appliances in over 40 countries.