The cost of living is skyrocketing in 2022, putting pressure on already stretched budgets.
But while we can’t do much to change grocery or petrol prices, there are some simple tweaks you can make around the house to ensure our power, gas and water bills stay as low as possible.
Here are 10 things you can do at home to save money on your utility bills:
1. Turn off appliances when not in use
There aren’t many appliances that need to stay on at all times, so why waste power having your microwave, TV or computer on standby mode?
According to the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW this habit “can add up to 7 per cent or $170 to your electricity bill”.
You’ll know an appliance is on standby because the light or clock function will be on.
Simply turn these appliances off at the power point to ensure no power — or money — is being wasted, and only turn them on when you need to use them.
2. Switch your lightbulbs
If you haven’t already changed your lightbulbs to LED bulbs, you’re wasting both money and electricity.
LED bulbs use less energy and last much longer, so you won’t have to fork out cash for new bulbs as often. According to Energy Rating, replacing all your halogen bulbs with LEDs will save you $253 a year.
As for outside, there are heaps of solar powered outdoor lights now on the market. So if you want some ambient lighting in your courtyard or to light up the path to your front door, a solar option will look good without adding to your power bill.
While you’re switching your lightbulbs, don’t forget to turn lights off when you aren’t in the room because that will save money too.
3. Avoid the dryer
Dryers might be convenient, but they are a waste of power on a sunny day if you have access to a clothesline.
According to the Australian Government you can save $79 a year on your power bills just by using the washing line instead of the dryer once a week.
Dryers are also known to damage clothing and bedding over time, so it’s best to limit use to when you really don’t have another option, like rainy days.
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4. Watch your hot water use
It takes a lot of energy to heat water, which means the less we use hot water the cheaper our bills will be.
One easy change to make is to use cold water in the washing machine.
You can also reduce hot water use in the shower by switching you showerhead to a more eco-friendly model and by taking shorter showers.
If it takes a while for your hot water to heat up, you can save that water for the garden by popping a bucket under the shower or small watering can under the tap.
5. Be clever with curtains
With the convenience of heaters and air-conditioning, we forget about working with the natural power of the sun to adjust the temperature inside the home.
Blockout curtains and blinds can be very effective at managing the temperature of a room if used the right way.
In cooler months, open curtains and blinds during the day to let any sunshine in the house. And when you turn on the heater, close your curtains to keep the hot air in the room.
During summer, blockout curtains and blinds can be closed during the day to stop the sun from heating up the house. This means you won’t need to rely on air-conditioning or fans as much.
6. Use the dishwasher the right way
The dishwasher can be far more energy and water efficient than handwashing when used to clean a full load.
If you are using the dishwasher, don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Not only is this completely unnecessary, but it wastes water. Plus pre-rinsing confuses the dishwasher into thinking the items are cleaner than they are, so it won’t work as hard to clean them.
7. Fix leaks
Sometimes a dripping tap seems more annoying to fix than put up with the dripping, but your cash is literally going down the drain. According to Mainline Plumbing, a tap dripping 10 times a minute will waste 90 litres of water a month. This is the equivalent of turning on a tap and leaving it for nine minutes.
8. Switch showerheads and taps
Lights aren’t the only things you can change to save money, eco-friendly taps and showerheads will also help lower your bills.
The Australian Government estimates households could save $175 a year by switching to water efficient products. This saving comes from both reduced power and water use.
9. Washing machines
The easiest way to save power and water while using your washing machine is to only run it for full loads.
If you don’t have that option, look into the different settings of your machine. Some allow for eco-friendly washes which run for shorter periods. You might also be able to change the length of time for a particular cycle, or the amount of water needed.
Pre-treating stains also helps to reduce washing machine use as it saves you washing the same item over and over again until the stain comes out.
10. Look for the Star ratings
When purchasing new appliances, compare products based on Energy and water efficiency. The handy star rating system makes it easy to see which machines are better based on how much water and power they use.
Regardless of your budget, you can make a small difference to your bills by choosing a slightly more efficient model.
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