If you’re sweating and trembling upon opening that electricity bill, then you my friend are probably suffering from pre-bill shock. That’s the anxiety you get before you actually open the bill. Throughout the month or three months or more it can be hard to predict exactly how much electricity you’ve used. In times like these you regret using that air con for 10 minutes, or scold your housemates for having eight fish tanks, all cooled and filtered with their lights on 24/7.
We all love using electricity – but it’s safe to say we all hate paying for it! If your palms are sweaty, knees weak and have arms that are heavy when you see that electricity bill, you might want to consult these nine easy hacks that could reduce your electricity bill.
Nine Easy Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill
So you’ve opened up your electricity bill, and lo and behold it’s a lot higher than you thought it would be. Welcome to bill shock. You say to yourself “I’m going to nail it next time; I’m going to stick it to the energy company”. Dust yourself up off the floor, and have a read of these tips, because they could save you from bill shock next time.
- Review your electricity provider options: Most states in Australia have a deregulated energy market, which means the choice of electricity providers they have has never been better. This can result in a lower electricity bill as companies compete for your attention, and switching providers – depending on your contract – can also be very simple. If you feel like you’re not satisfied with your energy provider, then it pays to have a look around and see what provider could work for you.
- Use cold water where possible: Okay, you may not want a cold shower – although you could probably make them shorter – but there’s no reason why you can’t do your laundry with cold water! Heating water uses a significant amount of electricity, which directly affects your costs. Hot water also means your clothes are likely to come out wrinklier. No one likes ironing, unless you’re a weirdo. No matter what type of washing machine you use, chances are using cold water is going to be more economical. In fact, a top loader’s cold wash can easily save nearly a dollar per cycle as opposed to using a warm wash. If you’re doing multiple washes a week, that can easily start to add up.
- Turn down the thermostat: How hot do you need your hot water to be? According to Switchwise, turning your thermostat down by just five degrees could reduce your electricity consumption by up to five per cent. We all know a lot of partners love their showers scalding hot, but what’s that doing to the power bill? Many manufacturers set their thermostat at around 55°C or more. Not only does this pose a safety risk, it can also be uneconomical. Simply setting it to 50°C or below won’t likely let your partner notice, and your power bill could benefit by 5 per cent or more. It’s a fairly easy project, and shouldn’t take more than a couple hours.
- Use the washing line: Clothes dryers can use a phenomenal amount of electricity. In fact, in some cases, a clothes dryer could cost more than $3 per cycle to run. Now we know a lot of apartments have no choice but to use a dryer, but you can cut down your use by buying an indoor ‘clothes horse’ for some of your items. Switching to line drying is not only cost effective it’s also kinder to the environment and your clothes; cleaning out the lint filter literally means you’re picking up little shreds of your clothes that have amassed in the drying process. Plus, there’s something therapeutic with just you, a bunch of pegs and your clothes being hung up.
- Change the thermostat on your heating and air conditioning as well: We want to feel comfortable at home, but don’t turn your house into either an oven or an icebox. Your house also doesn’t need to remain heated or cooled when you’re not at home; many air conditioners these days have timers to come on right when you walk in the door. Furthermore, even running the air con for only a few hours can cost a couple of dollars. This is a drastic different to a ceiling fan, which can cost as little as a couple cents to run. Setting your thermostat to a steady temperature of about 24°C will also put you on a path to a less volatile power bill.
- Don’t turn your house into Luna Park: While there may be a couple of clowns for housemates living with you, how many lights do you need on at once? If every room of your house is regularly ablaze with lights, you’re wasting valuable money. Get in the habit of flicking off the light switches when you leave a room. Of course, the savings to be had depend on what type of bulbs you’re using, with incandescent bulbs sucking up the most energy where just one bulb could cost up to $35 per quarter. If that’s not bill shock, then we don’t know what is!
- Switch off appliances that you are not using: Another good habit is to flick the switch at the wall on appliances that you are not using at the time. We’re all guilty of leaving some appliances on when we leave the house for the day, but even the saving of a couple bucks in a quarter can add up in the long run. Plus, who wants to give more money to those energy companies? That money is better off in my own wallet, thank you, Sir. Furthermore, check to see what gadgets are still plugged in, fully charged. Switching off your laptop charger is an easy saving measure, and we’ve all heard about those stories of phones and laptops catching fire from being plugged in for too long!
- Buy energy-efficient: Whenever you need to replace home appliances, try to buy an energy-efficient version. The easiest way to do this is through buying energy-efficient light bulbs. As mentioned earlier, light bulbs can be the quiet leech that’s blowing out your power bill and traditional incandescent bulbs can cost up to $35 a quarter. Fitting out even a couple rooms with CFL or LED bulbs can save on power, and each one can cost as little as $5. When you’re talking up to $35 per quarter per incandescent bulb, it makes sense to switch to something that can cost less than $10 per quarter to run. Split the difference on a pizza and treat yourself after fitting your home with energy-efficient bulbs.
- Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees – they can be $10 or more per bill. Paying your bills on time is also a great way to keep your credit record clean. Furthermore, some electricity companies offer generous discounts if you pay your bill early; this can be up to $50 or more! If you struggle with your bills, set up a regular repayment amount to even out the cashflow. Some companies also let you pay your bill monthly to avoid the big quarterly hit that a traditional energy bill can have; this is sure to be a bit kinder on the budget!
Your Electricity Bill: The Bottom Line
Saving on your electricity bill doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit and come across as a total tightwad in front of your mates. Simply changing a bulb here and there, an adjustment to the thermostat and a flick of the switch to your appliances can do wonders for your power bill at the end of every quarter. As we said, no one likes paying for electricity so we hope these nine tips proved useful to make paying for the bill as painless as possible.