Making a few small changes can make a big difference to your monthly power bill.
SAVE ON HOT WATER
- Set the thermostat on your hot water cylinder to 60°C – higher temperatures waste a lot of energy.
- Switch off your hot water cylinder if you're away for more than two weeks.
- Have short showers rather than baths.
- Wrap your hot water cylinder – even A-grade models benefit from cylinder wrapping.
- Insulate (lag) your hot water pipes.
- Install flow restrictors on shower heads and taps, or select water efficient models (look for those with higher WELS star ratings). This is particularly important if you change hot water systems from a low pressure to a mains pressure system (this is normal if you replace your hot water cylinder).
- Select efficient water heating systems such as hot water heat pumps or solar water heaters.
- If designing a new hot water system, aim for short pipe runs by locating your hot water source close to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. When designing a new home, group these rooms together.
SAVE ON RUNNING APPLIANCES
Some appliances waste power when you're not even using them.
- Turn appliances off at the wall when not in use
- Use a timer for your heated towel rail
- Check the instruction manual - it may include maintenance or operation tips to save energy
- Fridges and freezers use more power in a year than any other home appliance - about 10% of an average household's electricity bill
- Put the fridge or freezer in a cool spot out of direct sunlight and away from cookers, heaters and dishwashers
- Ensure there is at least a 75mm air gap around all sides of the fridge so air can escape at the top and enter at the bottom - badly vented fridges use a lot more energy
- Set the fridge thermostat to between 3°C and 5°C, and the freezer between -15°C and -18°C (every degree lower requires more energy)
- Keep some free space inside the fridge for cool air to circulate - an overloaded fridge or freezer will have to work harder
- Turn off the butter conditioner
- Ensure door seals are in good condition so warm air can't leak in
- Defrost if ice is more than 5mm thick
- Get rid of your second fridge - running a second fridge costs between $100 and $300 a year
WASHING MACHINES/clothes dryers
- Wash full loads rather than several smaller loads
- Use the machine's economy cycle
- Use cold water whenever possible - most of the energy used in washing clothes is for heating the water
- Drying clothes on a washing line outside or a drying rack costs nothing. Sunshine also kills bacteria.
- Microwaves are more energy efficient than ovens or cooktops
- Use pots/pans that are flat-bottomed and retain heat well
- Use the right-sized element for your pot/pan and cook with the lid on (this will reduce condensation as well as save energy)
- Allow frozen food to defrost before cooking
- Avoid rinsing dishes under the hot tap - instead, scrape plates well before loading them into the dishwasher
- Run the dishwasher only when fully loaded
- Select the cycle with the lowest temperature and the minimum time to get the job done - use the eco cycle if possible
For a full list of power-saving tips, see the Smarter Homes site.