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How to save on your energy bill

Tips to keep your energy costs down this summer.

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Summer has arrived and that means ice blocks, trips to the beach and outdoor activities. But for many Aussie households, it can also mean gearing up a hefty energy bill. With energy prices steadily going up, it’s never been more important to get savvier about the way we use electricity around our homes. And since no two households are alike, finding the best way to keep costs low can be tricky.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to reduce your energy bill this summer, whether you’re a home owner or a renter. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep costs low during the hottest time of the year:

Building your dream home

If you’re currently building or renovating your dream home, it won’t be long until you’re shopping for appliances to turn your space into a home.

According to the Australian government, household appliances account for 30% of a home’s energy usage. Consider purchasing energy efficient appliances with high star ratings to keep your usage as low as possible. While these appliances use less energy they can be on the pricier side, so keep an eye out for available government rebates like the appliance replacement offer and discounted air conditioners.

Another option could be installing solar panels. Not only do solar panels keep energy costs low by producing electricity for your home, you’ll also be doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint, since your home will be powered by a clean energy source. Just keep in mind that this might mean having to switch to a more solar-friendly retailer that pays a generous feed-in tariff rate if you plan to sell any excess electricity back to the grid.

Bonus energy tip: If you’ve got the space, plant a few trees in front of your home to liven up your front yard. Not only will they eventually grow into a decent source of shade for your home in summer, but you’ll be doing your bit for the environment! And to stay toasty in winter, install insulation batts in your ceiling and walls to trap the heat inside your home.

Living the Aussie dream

If you’ve already got a place to call your own, then chances are you aren’t in the market for a new washing machine - but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your home an energy-efficiency upgrade. Making multiple, small changes around the house, like opting for LED lightbulbs, washing your clothes in cold water and unplugging appliances at the wall can all play a part in lowering your bill.

And if you really want to see your power bill plummet, shop around and consider switching plans as well. According to recent Mozo energy price comparison data, in New South Wales alone, the difference between the most expensive and cheapest average annual electricity plan was $567, so there’s something to be said about shopping around.

Plus a lot of the new retailers on the market have upped their game by developing apps that can help households track their energy usage, giving users an insight into the areas they could improve their energy consumption.

Bonus energy tip: Did you know that every 1 degree higher for heating and 1 degree lower for cooling could be adding 10% of running costs to your appliance? The trick to getting the perfect temperature for your home is ideally between 18°C and 21°C for winter and between 23°C and 26°C for summer.

Rocking a rental

Working to reduce your energy bill as a renter may come with a few challenges, as you’re not the owner of the property or apartment. If you are not responsible for paying the electricity bill for your apartment, then you might not be able to switch retailers. In this case, think about another plan of attack to reduce your summer bill, like having a personal policy to not use the dishwasher or washing machine unless there’s a full load.

Get smarter with your electricity usage by looking into peak and off peak times for your state. These are the periods where electricity demand is at its highest and lowest - using electricity during off peak hours could mean paying less on your bill. Get creative by jotting down peak and off peak hours to hang on your fridge, then make the effort to use bigger appliances when the demand is down.

Bonus energy tip: If you’re game this summer, test your willpower with a month long cold shower challenge. Aside from lowering your energy bill, cold showers could help reduce stress levels, improve your immune system and increase your alertness.

Ceyda Erem is a personal finance writer at financial comparison site mozo.com.au

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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