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How can I reduce my energy use on a budget?

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Energy prices may be going up, but the size of your bill doesn’t always have to.
Here are some cost-friendly ways you can take action around your home, to lower your energy use while staying comfortable. 

Seven ways to lower your energy bills

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.
  • Put up thick curtains with pelmets to stop the air travelling. Want to DIY pelmets? Try a thick towel or rolled-up sheet to cover the top. Also try looking online or at op shops for second-hand curtains, they may not be the ideal colour, but they will help!
  • Have floorboards or tiles? Pick up some second-hand rugs at your local op shop or online marketplace. These can be cheaper and thicker than some new rugs and reusing is better for the environment.
  • Always use ceiling fans before an air conditioner in summer. 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

2- Stop the draughts

Our homes can be ‘leaky’. Try grandma hacks like door snakes or rolled-up towels to block air gaps.

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 usage comes from appliances on ‘standby’ when the device is off but the power being drawn is not. Save on energy and switch it off if not in use.

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 you need to replace an appliance like a washing machine, aim for the highest energy stars that suits your budget and size needs. Make sure to check out your state government website for any rebates you may be eligible for.

If you need or are interested in a loan, avoid ‘payday lenders or buy now pay later schemes if you can. Instead see if you are eligible for any state government rebates, or a No Interest Loan. For a provider in your state, go to Good Shephard  https://goodshep.org.au/services/nils/ or phone 13 64 57 for more information.

6- Limit hot water use

An average house can use up to 20% of their energy bill on heating hot water. Limit showers if you can to 2-4min and wash clothes in cold water. 

7- Don’t be embarrassed if you need help

If you are worried about paying your energy bill, don’t sit in the dark. Give your energy retailer a call, they are obligated to help you and have support programs in place, even if you think it’s only temporary.

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