David Nitschke, Principal of First National Real Estate Pope Nitschke says Australians reeling from their first energy bills, post carbon tax introduction, should be doing much more in the home to save on gas and electricity.
“With the cold months still upon us, living costs are already at their peak and, with the additional carbon tax impost, it is even more crucial that people remain vigilant in their efforts to save on energy,” Mr Nitschke said.
“People are still nervous about job security and the challenging economic times, so they should welcome any helpful advice on how they can boost their energy efficiency at home and so ease their financial burden.
“Home is meant to be where the heart is, so make sure that doesn’t change to home is where the hurt is.”
The top tips for saving energy, and money, room by room in the home, include:
• Insulating the home properly will dramatically reduce energy bills as heating and cooling account for a large part of household budgets.
• During cooler months, set the thermostat between 18 degrees Celsius and 20 degrees Celsius. For every one degree Celsius higher, energy usage charges increase by about 10 per cent.
• Open and close curtains during the day and night, respectively, to keep heat out and in.
• Ensure all gaps around doors are sealed with foam weather stripping or door ‘snakes’ to reduce cold air entering, or warm air escaping.
• Turn off heaters in living areas before heading to bed, as well-insulated rooms will stay warm for hours.
• Clean all disposable air filters to keep equipment working at optimum efficiency.
• Replace old globes with energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps or LED globes, which cost less to run and last much longer.
• Set refrigerator thermostat to the most efficient setting, usually between 3 degrees Celsius and 5 degrees Celsius, or freezers at between -13 degrees Celsius and -15 degrees Celsius. Check the internal temperature being displayed is correct by placing a thermometer inside for ten minutes.
• Defrost chest-style freezers at least once or twice a year and upright models two to three times a year. Ensure frost build-up does not exceed about five millimetres as built up ice makes a freezer work harder than necessary.
• Keep oven doors closed. Every time the door is opened, heat is lost. An added benefit is steam will be reduced and better cooking results achieved. Microwave ovens use much less energy than traditional ovens so consider them as an option.
• Keep lids on pots and pans when cooking to speed up the process and use less energy.
• Make sure dishwashers are full before operating. Alternatively, use settings such as small load, short wash cycle, rinse-only cycles, etc.
• Turn off computers, printers, and other home office equipment when not in use, especially overnight and on weekends.
• Choose settings which automatically switch the computer monitor to sleep or ‘power down’ mode if it has been out of use for several minutes.
• Hot water systems are among the top energy expenses for most households so short showers should be the norm, rather than baths.
• A solar hot water system will drastically reduce electricity or gas bills for years.
• Water-saving showerheads and taps can halve water use while making little or no difference to the shower experience.
• Washing machines should only be run when full.
• Many modern fabrics and laundry detergents usually give excellent results in cold water. Pre-soak heavily-soiled clothes for best results.
• Whenever possible, dry clothes on a line. When using a dryer, make sure the load is full and try not to over dry – slightly damp clothes reduce the need for ironing. Clean the dryer filter after each use for maximum results.
“We should all realise that the dollar cost of energy is only part of the problem, we really need to reduce the amount of energy we use altogether,” Mr Nitschke said