How to make your home more energy efficient
We’d all like to make our homes more energy efficient, but where to start? Sometimes the terminology, different options and the contradictory advice from various sources can lead us to put the idea — ahem — on the back burner! But although we can’t all live in a specially designed eco-home, there are many ways that we can make small changes to our daily lifestyle that will in most cases hardly be noticeable but will add up to a reduction in our energy bills as well as ultimately benefitting the environment and all our futures.
Here are some of our favourite energy efficiency tips for around the home.
Heating and cooling
According to a study conducted by the United States Energy Department, nearly 50% of US home energy consumption is allocated to heating and cooling systems, such as heating and air conditioning. Because of this, it should be the first thing we take a look at, as it is possible to make the biggest savings here.
- It may sound obvious, but are you heating space you don’t use? Think of guest rooms, that dining room you only use on Sundays, or loft space. If you are, close the doors. It will stop your hot or cool air going into these areas, and allow the rest of the house to get to the right temperature more quickly.
- Keep curtains and outside window shades closed. This works well both in summer and winter, as it reduces cold and heat coming in from outside, which reduces the amount of energy needed to maintain a consistent temperature inside. Think of adding a thermal or sun-out blind to your windows, to maximise energy saving.
- Turning your thermostat down by one degree in winter, and up one degree in summer, will hardly be noticeable, but it will make a difference in your energy consumption. Similarly, getting your heating to come on half an hour later, or simply turning it off for a few hours when you’re out at work, will make a big difference on your bills too.
- Look after your cooling and heating systems. Air conditioners that are full of dust or fluff, or central heating systems with air pockets or dodgy thermostats will not run efficiently, and the harder they have to work, the higher the bills!
We all like our time and labour-saving appliances, but could we do anything to make them more energy efficient? Did you know, for instance, that having the refrigerator placed near the cooker means it has to work harder to keep the contents cool?
- Fridges and freezers. Keeping your fridge and freezer full helps to increase energy efficiency as there is less air to cool due to the space taken by food. On the other hand, overfilling your fridge or freezer will hinder the air circulation, which will make it use more energy.
- Defrost freezers regularly. Heavy frost build-up inside your freezer will damage its efficiency. It could also mean that your temperature is set too low, or that the door seals are no longer coping, which will make a difference.
- Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. Although we wouldn’t be without them, most of us are guilty of always using the same programme, regardless of how much we put in. If you can wait to run these appliances until they are full, it will save on water and energy. Similarly, modern appliances come with energy saving programmes. Use them!
As well as following these simple tips around the home, another really important way of saving energy is to make sure you understand your bill. Find out where your energy costs are. Simply Energy has a great new tool — the online Energy Check Up. It’s simple, doesn’t take much time, and gives you a detailed report so you can take steps to reduce your energy. And best of all — it’s free! Simply go to https://www.simplyenergy.com.au/ and follow the link. While you are there, check out the Simply Energy Store too for a range of energy efficient products for use around the home.
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