Electricity consumption in Australia tends to be highest in the winter, as people crank up the heat to combat dropping temperatures. Of course, using more power also results in a higher electricity bill. As winter hits once again, Australians are bracing for bill shock.
When it comes to your winter electricity bill, there are more factors at play than the heating system alone. Let’s look at 10 different ways you can save on electricity this winter—and don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to put on a jumper (though to be honest, that helps too).
10 Ways to Save on Electricity This Winter
1. Compare electricity plans
You’ve probably heard by now that shopping around is a great way to save money on electricity, but have you actually done it? Comparing energy plans only takes a few minutes and it could save you a heap of money. When comparing, it helps to have your most recent electricity bill on hand. Take a look at your overall usage and usage charges, or how much you’re being charged per kilowatt hour (kWh). Then compare this rate to what’s on offer from other retailers to see if you’re getting a competitive price.
2. Check eligibility for rebates and concessions
Government concessions are available in each state and territory to help people save money on electricity. These concessions are generally available to low-income earners or concession card holders, and may be paid in cash, as a voucher, or as a credit on your power bill. Check the website for your state or territory’s government for more information on what is available and who can apply.
3. Consider adding solar power
If you haven’t already got solar, it may be time to do so, particularly if your household uses electricity during the day. With solar panels, energy from the sun is converted to electricity, which you then use in real time. Kilowatt hours that aren’t used can be fed back into the grid, and you may receive a feed-in tariff for these. Feed-in tariffs usually appear as a credit on your bill. It may be winter, but the sun can still save you cash on your electricity.
4. Choose energy-efficient heating methods
There are several methods for heating a house with electricity, but they can come with very different running costs. For example, ducted heating tends to use slightly less energy than under-floor electric heating. Portable electric space heaters tend to burn through power, while reverse-cycle air conditioners are usually the most energy-efficient electric heaters.
However, the effectiveness of your heating technology is only as good as the efficiency of your house and how you use it. A drafty house with a reverse-cycle air conditioner may cost much more to run than a space heater used to heat a small, closed-off room.
5. Heat only the rooms you are in
Close off any rooms that you aren’t using, such as a spare bathroom or laundry room, and close in the room that is being heated. When possible, shut the doors to the rooms being heated; your heater won’t have to work as hard, so it uses less power and saves you money.
6. Seal up your house
When warm air slips out through drafty floors, doors, and window frames, so does your cash. You’re essentially paying for electricity that you’re tossing outside! If you’ve got wooden floors, consider adding underfloor insulation. Seal up any leaks in door frames or window frames so air can’t escape.
7. Take advantage of natural heating
During the day, open your window shades to let in the warmth of the sun. This will help warm your house naturally. When the sunlight disappears, close up the shades again to trap the residual heat inside.
8. Service your heater
Many people service their cars regularly, but don’t realise that they should do the same with their heaters and air conditioners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how often you should service your heater and change its air filter, as that will help it run more efficiently all season.
9. Keep a constant temperature
It’s tempting to push your heat up as high as it can go when you’re feeling cold, but that instant comfort will cost you. Each extra degree heat ups your energy usage by 5 to 10%. Experts recommend keeping your thermostat between 18° to 20°C in winter.
10. Set a timer
Coming home to a cold house is unpleasant, especially in the middle of winter. However, the cost of heating an empty house can have a big impact on your electricity bill. Install a timer so you can set your heater to come on shortly before you’re due home.