How to reduce my electricity bill?

Fast read

Without investing in a solar system, there are a number of ways to save money on electricity. Moving to LED lighting, which uses less energy than outdated options like incandescent or CFL bulbs, is one way to go green. As hot water and electric dryers can raise your electricity bill, another option is to wash your clothing in cold water and hang them up to dry.

Awnings and solar film on windows can lower heat loads on your home, and improving insulation in your roof and walls can help you control heating and cooling expenditures. Additionally, adopting energy-efficient appliances, adjusting your thermostat to a comfortable level, and caulking draughts can all help you save money on electricity.

There are many ways to save on electricity without purchasing a solar system

Naturally, a solar system currently with a Government rebate is one of the best ways to save money on electricity. Still, there are many other ways to save on your electricity bill.

Check your lighting technology

If you go into a house now, compared to a house ten years ago, you’ll notice that lighting has developed significantly in the past decade. And nowadays, we have what’s called LED lighting. The energy consumption of LED lighting is much less than it used to be compared with the older style incandescent or even the halogen or CFL technology.

LED bulbs last 10 to 20 times longer than their incandescent counterparts, and they do not trade any lighting quality for such a benefit.

If you go back 20 to 30 years, if you had an old incandescent light, it would get very hot and use around 100 watts of electricity. However, now, the same size bulb in the form of an LED light would only use possibly 10 to 12 Watts. 

The next generation after incandescent lighting technology was CFL light bulbs. They utilise approximately 75% less electricity than incandescent but still use approximately 20% more energy than modern LED bulbs.

So I suggest you go through your house and check your lighting, especially your bulbs. And over time, make the switch to LED bulbs. This simple change will give your household a substantial saving on your electricity bill.  

Use cold water to wash your clothes where possible

Another way to reduce your electricity bill without adopting solar is through a simple behavioural change in the form of smart washing.

Hot water can drain your electricity bill, so only use warm water when necessary. Many clothes become perfectly clean in cold water and modern washing powders. 

Also, try to use your handy clothesline if you can because electric dryers increase your electricity bill and dry out your hard-earned cash unless it’s raining.

Now let’s look at your house in itself to see how without solar panels, there are still changes to your home that can save you money.

Saving on electricity bills without solar can be achieved by washing in cold water
Washing in cold water can save on your electricity bills

Insulation of your roof and walls makes a difference

One of the basics that every house should have is insulation in the roof. If you do not have insulation in the roof, heating money goes straight out the door whenever you heat your home.

Some of the biggest household bills are heating and cooling, both of which insulation can help you to manage.  

We all like to be comfortable in our homes, and insulation helps us keep a natural temperature in our houses, keeping the cool air in the home during the Summer and the warm air contained during Winter. 

You can also reduce the heat load onto your house in other ways.

Any large window facing north or west will cause a lot of heat load on the house, which means more air conditioning, fans, etc., will be needed. This translates to higher electricity use. If you want to install insulation, refer to our Guide regarding whether or not your home needs insulation.

Awnings and solar film on windows can reduce heat loads on your  house

You can beat this if you go and get an awning installed over these exposed windows. Pair an awning with a solar film on the glass and good insulation. You can make your summery home nice and cool on the inside whilst saving heaps of money on your electricity bill – over time – without installing solar panels. 

While I have solar panels, I’ve installed awnings on my property. Getting awnings installed on the north or west sides is also a good idea. Also, one can install solar films that can go onto the window.

And those solar films are a form of solar tinting. They’re not too expensive, and with about a loss of 30% of light, you will at the same time get up to 80 or 90% of the heat load that is not coming through the window radiating into your house. So that’s another way that you can again get downward pressure on your air conditioning needs and electricity bill. If you want to see a good video on how to make a house cooler, look here.

White roofs are better than black roofs

One of the things that I really wonder about is if you go into Western Sydney or if you go anywhere in Australia with new estates, a lot of the roofs are dark grey or black. This means the house is more likely to get hotter and hotter, and I don’t get it because, again, you’re putting an extra heat load on your home at the time that the environment’s already heating up.

So in my case, I’ve painted my roof white. Again, that helps lower the house’s heat load by reducing the internal temperature by between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. That reduction then helps with lowering the need for air conditioning.

Compare prices and plans of energy retailers to save on your electricity bills.

Comparing electricity providers is one of the best ways to reduce your electricity bill. Energy companies usually give the best plan to new customers. So it’s worthwhile to shop around. Often loyalty accounts for little when looking for the best deal.

If you’re in a particular region that offers time-of-use metering, electricity costs vary between the different segments of the day. Usually, the peak time between 2 pm and 8 pm has the highest charges. The medium-priced shoulder period occurs between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The lowest cost off-peak is from 10 pm to 7 am. So washing the clothes or dishwasher is best to undertake in the off-peak or shoulder period. Suppose you want to save money. Heating water is best to program during the off-peak period.

Every year, look at your electricity plan and ring around, go to comparison websites and check if you’re getting a competitive energy retail plan. 

Save on your electricity bill by researching energy plans
Look for a new energy plan every year

Install your energy monitors and work out where your electricity is used

Getting the energy in your house monitored is a good idea. Tracking your electricity with energy monitors, which are little plugs that can be plugged in between power points and your appliances, can monitor which ones are the energy guzzlers in your house.

And again, you can change the behaviour of teenagers by yourself, your partner, etc., because when you know where the energy is going, you can work out what you need to reduce to save money. 

Upgrade your appliances to more efficient units to save on electricity bills

Buy the right appliances. Remember that little fans or bar heaters use three to four times more power than reverse-cycle air conditioners for precisely the same quantity of heating.

The age and efficiency of appliances such as air conditioners can be very important because an air conditioner that is 15 to 20 years old would likely consume double the electricity compared to a new air conditioner on the market. So rather than initially buying a solar system, you should look at your house’s air conditioning and consider upgrading that to a quieter and more energy-efficient unit.

These initiatives work together and can reduce your electricity bill significantly without installing solar. 

Why not go around your house with eyes wide open and undertake an energy audit? Check – are there more efficient lights that you can install? Are there gaps under the doors that you can close so your heating and cooling bill goes down? Is your hot water system the most efficient? What about your air conditioning? Is that one that is maybe 15-20 years old? Get in the habit of turning off standby power. Go and find your energy black spots, eliminate the culprits and find a way to make your home more energy efficient.

Happy energy hunting

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