It’s no secret that the cost of energy is on the rise and many Aussies are finding themselves unable to cope. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by finder.com.au, 15% of respondents – equivalent to one in seven Aussies – struggle to pay their energy bills on time.
But there are ways that you can reduce your electricity usage and cut costs. In fact, did you know that a lot of energy consumption happens unknowingly and unnecessarily simply because of the devices and appliances that you have around the house? These energy gobblers contribute to your overall electricity usage and can leave you with a hefty bill.
Most Aussies leave their microwaves plugged in, even when they’re not being used. Although you might think that this isn’t doing any harm, standby mode can be quite deceiving. Not only does your microwave draw on power when it’s reheating last night’s dinner, but it does so when it’s sitting idle too. Your microwave requires power to keep the clock running and the buttons lit up, so if your microwave is on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you can see how this might add up. Instead, switch your microwave off at the wall and only turn it on when necessary.
2. Pool pumps
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that pools are expensive, but the cost of actually maintaining your pool is usually lumped in with the rest of your energy bills. The main culprit is your pool pump, which is used to clean and filter the water. During summer you’re usually running your pool filter for a large chunk of the day, which can end up costing a fortune. But there are ways you can reduce your pool spend. Why not invest in a pool cover, which can help reduce the amount of leaves and debris that falls into your pool? That way, your pump won’t have to work as hard to keep the water clean. If you’re not using a pool cover, you’re essentially creating more work for the pump, which is opening you up to the chance of a bigger bill.
3. Battery chargers
Most electronic devices that we use daily require a charger for their battery. Whether it’s your mobile phone, your laptop, your camera or another handheld device, you need to plug it in in order to use it. You may not think that this is costing you much, but when you combine the number of battery chargers that you use at once with how often and how long you use them for, it puts a real dent in your electricity bill. It’s not uncommon for Aussies to leave their devices plugged in long after they have reached full battery, and not only is this bad for your hip pocket but it’s also bad for your device! Once your device is fully charged, make sure to unplug it from the wall and switch the charger off at the powerpoint. That way you minimise unnecessary electricity usage.
4. Old appliances
Old appliances are electricity fiends. Items like plasma TVs and old refrigerators suck up energy like there’s no tomorrow. It may seem like a bit of an investment to go out and buy a new TV, but think of the savings you’ll make by halving your electricity consumption. There are heaps of online stores and even sites like Gumtree where you can pick up a second-hand TV for less, cutting costs even more. Appliance manufacturers are increasingly finding new ways to make devices consume less energy. Look out for energy star ratings as high as either four or five stars to see some savings.
5. Gaming consoles
If you or your children are partial to a bit of gaming, you could be falling victim to another vampire appliance. Unlike other devices and appliances, which are getting more energy efficient as time goes on, gaming consoles are actually consuming more energy than ever. Consoles need to be left on during updates and while downloading games, which can draw on a fair bit of electricity. That’s not to mention the amount of energy it requires to actually play a game. If you want to cut down how much electricity your console draws on, make sure to switch it off at the powerpoint when you’re finished playing and be mindful of unnecessary updates.
Devices and appliances left on standby are like the electrical equivalent of a leaky tap. It may not seem like you’re wasting much, but in the end it all adds up to bucketfuls of energy wastage. Your parents weren’t wrong when they told you to switch things off at the powerpoint and to turn off the lights every time you leave a room.
Bessie Hassan is the money expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.