A beautiful night on a Perth river with a tree and the sun setting in the background.

Saving energy is not always an easy task. Most of us simply utilise the available electrical power whenever we can. It is not even about need anymore, but rather it’s mostly due to what we are used to. For instance, we forget to turn off the TV when no one is watching. We rarely turn off the air conditioner even when no one is home. That is until we find our energy bills skyrocketing.

This winter, it is time to break the habit. There are effortless ways that will help you stay warm and comfy during the winter without paying expensive power bills.

You can start saving more energy during the cold months with these super simple tactics:

1. Determine Your Energy Use

Often, it is the smallest change that can lead to significant results. Understanding how much energy you use may not seem much, but it can be impactful.

According to the Department of Environment and Energy, Western Australia, together with Queensland, was among those that increased energy consumption in 2016-17. WA households and businesses used up more than five per cent than they used to the previous years. The state was also a high contributor to electricity generation throughout the country.

Houses in Western Australia and the rest of the country were the biggest users of energy. About 40% of energy was focused mainly on heating and cooling. Now, WA does not get too cold as the other parts of the nation during winter. Nevertheless, many homes still use plenty of electric power, just like in the summer.

2. Save by Changing Your Heating and Cooling Habits

If you are like many Australians’, you turn on your heating and cooling appliances even in the winter. Since they use the highest amounts of energy, you may want to start planning how to use them.

You can save more money out of your power bills with the following tips:

  • Limit heating or cooling to rooms in the house that need it.
  • Reduce your thermostat by a few degrees. Just by doing so can save you up to 10% on your energy bills.
  • Showering with hot water can be tempting in the winter. Unfortunately, hot showers are not exactly the most affordable luxury in your house. According to YourHome.gov.au, hot water usage can increase your bills by up to 21%. You can still enjoy a hot shower but try to minimise the time you spend in the bathroom.

The number of people in the house can affect how much energy is used. With this information, you can map out a way to reduce power consumption. For instance, if there are one to two people living in the house, electric use can range from 20 kWh to 30 kWh. By trying to save and live smart, you can lower these numbers to 10 kWh.

3. Choose the Right Air Conditioner

There are numerous types of air conditioning systems, making it a difficult task for a consumer to zero in on one product alone. The good news is that many of the aircon units today offer energy-efficiency as their top feature.

If you are in the market for a new AC because your old one is not helping with your energy-saving plans, you can switch to a inverter split system. This type of aircon has the ability to alter its own power output. It is crucial in maintaining the temperature of the room. The desired temperature is reached by increasing the operating frequency of its compressor. Then, the compressor’s rotation speed will be adjusted to continue using the same amount of power.

Daikin inverter airconditioning system.

You can say that an inverter air conditioner, such as the Daikin inverter aircon, combines high efficiency, power, and affordability. So how does this type of aircon help in saving energy?

The answer revolves around its compressor’s electromotor. The inverter urges the compressor to achieve the temperature you want in the room speedily. Once attained, the temperature will remain that way so that there is no excess power. Even if the motor runs at full force, it only happens in the beginning, unlike non-inverter air conditioning systems. Then, it will operate at part load, which enables it to retain the temperature.

What if you cannot afford an inverter split system? These air conditioners are not as expensive as before. However, if you have a limited budget, there are a few ways to find an aircon that will not waste too much energy.

The following are features to look for when choosing an AC that does not use a lot of power:

  • Pick the right size for space, which will be based on the size of the room.
  • Choose a product that comes with programmable temperature settings, which include automatic switch offs at certain times.
  • The aircon itself will say if it comes with energy-saving features.

To ensure that you make the best decision, please read our complete aircon buying guide.

4. Replace Old or Energy-inefficient Appliances

Old appliances that use too much energy and need to be replaced.

Swapping your old appliances can save you a lot of money on your energy use.

Here are some tips:

  • If you still use incandescent light bulbs all over the house and you always forget to turn them off, you are burning money. It’s time to switch to better lighting, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and LEDs.
  • Consider upgrading your dishwasher and washing machine to those that promote energy-saving. For washing machines, you may want to use a front loader rather than a top loader.
  • Use refrigerators that are power-friendly. Also, set the fridge temperature between three to five degrees Celsius. Ensure there are no air leaks on the fridge door.
  • Replace your standard shower heads with a water-saving one. As an alternative, you can install a flow restriction valve instead.

You can save so much more energy when you install solar systems to power up some appliances in the house. Solar hot water has gained popularity over the years. Plus, WA continues to enjoy plenty of sun despite the winter, so it is a great time to have a solar system installed.

5. Insulate the House

There are a few good practices that you can try, which help reduce energy consumption. For instance, insulating the house can minimise cold air from getting trapped in the house. It is also efficient in keeping warm air in when it is cold at night. When you use your air conditioner, insulation can also help maintain the air temperature inside.

You may want to use a draught stopper, which stops heat from escaping through the doors and windows. It can reduce heating costs by up to 25%. In the end, you get to save more money.

6. Keep the Curtains Closed

Another way to maintain warm air in the house is to shut the curtains or blinds. Warmth leakage is a real phenomenon. Although WA is not wintery cold, you still want to maintain that warmth in the house. Opening windows when you want your home to be warmer can increase your heating bills by up to 40%.

7. Focus on the Windows

Speaking of curtains and blinds, you should only pick window dressings that are of high quality. The type of curtains or blinds you use can increase the efficiency of natural thermal heating in the house. For instance, you can choose lined curtains, which keep the cold air out. Double-glazed windows are also quite popular in Perth despite average temperatures. It is because these windows also provide other benefits, including reducing outdoor noise.

8. Switch Off the Lights and Other Appliances When Not in Use

If you’re guilty of leaving the lights on even during the day, you are not alone. You need to stop this habit; otherwise, you will not see any changes in your bills.

Additionally, putting your computers on standby may be a convenience for you. The problem is that appliances on standby can count towards 10% of your electric use. Turn off and unplug everything.

Take advantage of your air conditioner’s programmable settings as well. Use it to turn off the AC when you leave the house.

9. Dress for the Weather

Sometimes, it is the simplest of things that we tend to ignore. You may have complained many times about how cold it is in the house, but you were not dressed for the winter. Wearing shirts and shorts while you pump heat to the max is not a smart thing to do.

Come winter, instead of heating the house, invest in thermals. Use fleecy pants and tops and wear socks.

While we are on the subject of clothing, you can make your heater work as a clothes dryer. The machine consumes a relatively high amount of energy, which means your bills can multiply in the winter. When you turn on the heater, you can place an indoor drying rack in the living room (if it receives heating). It not only keeps you warm but your clothes as well.

Make sure you avoid putting your clothes near the heater, though, since they can increase fire risk.

Night time on a Perth jetty in Western Australia.

Author: Anne Grossmith

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