Summers are best when you can spend them chilling in the ocean breeze, drinking lemonade, and eating ice cream.
But if you’re stuck at home this summer, then cooling down may cost you at the end of the quarter.
We know—calculating kilowatts when you’re sweating is as boring and ineffective as counting calories when you’re hungry!
But whether you’re using solar energy or power from the grid, being energy smart will save you on your quarterly bills.
Follow these easy tips to stay out of the heat and within your budget:
Use Cold Water Where Possible
We’re not asking you to take a cold shower in the morning (even though they do have many health benefits).
It’s worth keeping in mind that about one-third of your electricity bill is coming from your hot water, so use it wisely.
If you’re using an electric hot water heater, make sure you adjust it for the season: set it a few degrees lower in the summer than in the winter. If your default setting is 65C, try setting the temperature to 60C.
Remember, a water tank should be kept at above 60C to prevent bacterial growth.
Also, try to use the cold cycle next time you put a load of washing on.
Set up Rules for Aircon
Cooling and heating your home will always make up the largest chunk of your electricity bill.
So it’s important to do everything you can to reduce your reliance on simply putting on the air conditioner.
Remember, many air conditioners can use up to 10kW of power every hour, which will cost you nearly $3.00/hour of usage.
Before going to work, take a moment to shut the blinds—it will prevent the heat coming in.
After a long hot day, open your windows or use a vent to let warm air out. Then turn on the aircon and set it to 26 degrees or above.
Finally, make yourself a cup of tea. Yes, you heard me right. Recent evidence has shown that drinking hot drinks may really help to cool you down, too.
Never leave your aircon running when you’re not around and close all doors and windows when you’re in the room.
Standby Mode Is Not Your Friend
An exception: the fridge. This is where your ice-cold goodies are kept.
However, do make sure that the rubber seal on the door is not loose or broken. It may let warm air into the fridge and make it work harder to keep the temperature down.
After cooking, let your leftovers cool down before you store them in a fridge or freezer. For the same reason: cooling them down inside the refrigerator will cost you money.
Keep your fridge at 4 or 5 C and freezer from -15 to -18 C. Here are some more cool fridge tips.
The rest of your appliances, however, should be switched off at the wall. Did you know that up to 10 percent of your electric bill comes from appliances on standby?
While over the years many appliances have made efforts to reduce the impact of standby mode, the average home has many more tools and gadgets than previous generations.
Here’s a list of items which might be seriously impacting your bills.
How Many People Live With You?
Have you had a friend over the holidays, or do your kids come home every so often to get their laundry done?
Any long-term visitor to your house can leave an impact on your power bill. Especially if you’re an Airbnb host.
Some guests may leave windows or doors open while the aircon’s on, help themselves to laundry without asking first, or confuse your bathroom with a spa.
Politely give your guests a clear understanding of how exactly you’re expecting them to use lighting, home appliances and, most importantly, the air conditioner.
Making a Swimming Pool Efficient
Maintaining an inground pool correctly is not easy and can end up creating 30% of a household's energy bills.
A pool pump can be the most significant user of electricity in a home. It may even be more power hungry than your washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher combined.
Not using your pool for a while? Consider buying a solar pool cover to look after it and keep those energy and cleaning costs down. When the kids are nagging you to get in the pool again, it’s easy enough to take it off!
It will prevent water from evaporating, not to mention saving money on heating costs.
Beyond that, invest in upgrading your pumps and filters, as they will be more efficient and save you in the long run.
Save Money While Cooking
Try to minimise how often you are using the oven, if possible.
The reason behind this tip is that ovens use 1000 to 5000 watts, with an average modern oven using around 2400 watts on medium to high heat.
While cooking, don’t open your oven door too often (same with the lid on your cooking pans).
Experienced chefs have a saying: it’s more likely your nose will get burnt than your food.
Closed doors and lids will keep the warm air inside and guarantee that your food is cooked evenly.
Cook food in smaller batches to cook it faster and freeze the leftovers to warm them up quickly later.
Invest in Home Appliances
Are you still holding on to your pre-1995 dishwasher or washing machine? Now it’s time to let them go.
Most of our appliances are considered to last at least 10-20 years, depending on their quality.
If they’re not broken, that doesn’t mean they aren’t costing you a fortune each quarter.
Maybe it’s time to invest in new, modern and energy efficient tools?
Do your research and check the Energy Rating tags when considering purchasing a new dishwasher, washing machine, aircon, fan or kettle.
Remember, the more stars, the more energy efficient!
Being energy efficient doesn’t mean you have to redesign your entire lifestyle. Making a few changes around the home can have a lasting impact on your finances.
Don’t forget to use the coldest water temperature when possible and check your aircon settings. Invest in new appliances over time and unplug them when not in use.
Talk to your family members about saving power, especially when you have kids or guests.
If you’re still using electricity from the grid, go solar!
Choose wisely and be switched on!
If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!
Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.
Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.