Household power bills are set to rise by hundreds of dollars per year in time for winter, according to reports. And while the federal government insists that household compensation more than covers the additional costs imposed by a price on carbon, why wait for that?
There are a simple ways to reduce power prices now and you can do it without sacrificing your standard of living or having to upgrade to pricey, energy-efficient appliances.
Research commissioned by consumer group Choice and the CSIRO reveals five simple ways to offset rising costs. They are:
- Do the washing in cold water to save $40 per year
- Use the clothesline rather than the dryer to save $127 annually
- Retire old fridges and bar fridges to save $185 each year
- Switch off more appliances to save $91 per year and
- Install a water-saving shower head to save $272 a year
The total savings is $715, which is almost twice the rise in power costs for households in New South Wales (of up to $381 per year) alone.
Matt Levey from Choice said: "Do these things and you are going to more than make up for the cost increases".
Other ways to save
For the cooler months, the Australian Government Energy Rating website recommends setting your air-conditioning system to between 23 and 26°C. By going above that setting you may be bumping up your bill by 10 percent for every degree.
Other ways to help heat your home include; properly insulating and making sure your window coverings close snugly so there are no gaps and have a thermal layer to keep warmth in. Sealing gaps around doors will help to keep the cold air from getting in too. Keeping a free space around the outside unit of your split system will also help it to run more efficiently.
Any appliance with a flashing light will be costing you money to run. If it's switched to stand-by mode, it may still be costing you more than you think. Origin Energy says the average Australian household spends around $180 each year on standby power, which is wasting over $1 billion each year overall. The best way to reduce this amount is to always switch appliances off at the wall.
Hot water systems are designed to last about 12 years but many will last two decades, which is great value unless they are losing water and, therefore, cash. To check for signs of inefficiency look for leaking water, which may mean an internal fracture. Lost water is automatically replaced and reheated, which is a further drain on the power bill. It's the same for a leaking tap; if it drips once per second it wastes more than 14,000 litres per year or 38 litres of hot water per day that you're paying to heat, according to Origin.
For the many Australians who rely on their clothes dryer in winter did you know that an average load costs about $1 in energy? There are ways to reduce that expense; clean the lint filter after each use, never overload and look for energy efficient models, because in the 6-kilogram range you can save up to 50 percent on running costs.
Finally, Origin recommends tracking your own electricity consumption. By reading your own metre at the same time over several days you'll be able to determine your average consumption and predict the cost of your bills. So if you're nearing your budget at the end of the quarter you'll be able to cut energy and save.