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How can I lower my energy bill as a renter?

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Prices for energy may be going up, but your energy bill doesn’t have to. While making small changes at home can help lower your energy costs, they can sometimes feel difficult if you’re renting. But there are things you can do to change the home you live in while still staying on side with your landlord.

Seven ways to lower bills at your rented home

1-Heat and cool your home the smart way

Did you know heating and cooling can make up to 40% of your total energy use? Here are some things you can do and still feel comfortable:

•Only heat and cool the rooms you are using and close all other doors.
•Try an electric throw for the lounge or home office, or even an old-school hot water bottle.
•For effective (though slightly strange looking) DIY window glazing try easy to remove bubble wrap: search ‘bubble wrap double glazing’ for how-to videos online, just keep it away from candles and open flames.

•Every degree up or down when it comes to heating or cooling can increase energy use by 5-10%, so if you can:
i. In winter set the temperature at 18-20 deg
ii. In summer set the temperature at 24-26 deg
•Got a split system air conditioner? You might also have an efficient electrical heater. Look for the ‘sun’ ☀️ icon on your remote or check the manual for instructions. Most manuals can now be found online too.
•Have ceiling fans? Always use these before the air conditioner. In winter check if it has a reverse function and use it with your heater as the fan will help circulate the hot air more evenly.
•If you can, put up thick curtains with pelmets or ask your landlord to. Want to DIY pelmets? try a thick towel or sheet.
•Have floorboards or tiles? Pick up some second-hand rugs at your local op shop or online marketplace – the thicker the better!

With your landlord’s permission and or help there are other things you can do like having insulation installed in your roof, or DIY sealing of gaps around windows and doors. Why not start the conversation now, and work together on what could be done.

2- Stop the air leaks

Our homes can be ‘leaky’. Try grandma hacks like door snakes, rolled up towels or double door snakes (for easy door movement). These can be found at hardware stores or online.

3- Switch off at the wall

Did you know that a mobile phone can continue to use power to ‘charge’ even when fully charged?  Up to 10% of your electricity use can come from appliances on ‘standby.’ Save some energy and switch off at the wall if you don’t need it

4- Lighting

If you haven’t already, switch to LEDs (check for government offers) and only have the lights on that you need. Every bit counts!

5- New or replacement appliances

When replacing appliances like a fridge or washing machine, aim for the highest number of energy stars that suit your budget and sizing needs.
Check your state government website for any rebates you (or your landlord) may be eligible for.

6- Limit hot water use

In the average home around 20% of energy use goes to heating water. Try to limit showers to 2– 4min and switch to doing laundry in cold water.

7- Know your rights

Did you know in Victoria, landlords must ensure there is fixed heating in the living room? And if a heater needs to be installed, it must meet applicable energy efficiency standards.
Check online or with the tenant’s union in your state to stay up to date on your rights. After all a healthy happy home is good for everyone!

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