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5 ninja-style money-saving energy moves

by Penina

Have you had this sinking feeling before when it comes to energy? You know you might have left a few lights on or had a few too many long showers but you are still shocked at the price on the bill as your money flashes before your eyes. There goes the new dress you were planning on buying or some extra money towards that home deposit. Don’t you just hate that?
Winter is the worst time for this awful moment, when heating is constantly on and we spend more time indoors curled up in front of the telly. Then there’s the dryer. I don’t know many mums who like hanging out all those fiddly socks and little things. As so, on goes the dryer in a spinning frenzy of disappearing money. Don’t worry. I do it too. All I can say is go summer! When we all live in our swimmers and there’s no need for socks. Ha!
If you don’t like chewing up money in a dryer or heater, there’s good news. There are many ways you don’t have to do this and you can save stacks of money and energy in just a few smart ninja-style energy-saving moves. Some of these are simple fixes like changing lightbulbs or switching off some appliances at the wall. Others take a bit more time and money like upgrading your water heater or installing new insulation. Whatever your budget, these five tips are a great starting point for stopping those big utility bills in their tracks.

1.    Upgrade appliances

The latest technology applies to all your household items too. These days all new appliances come with an energy star rating, and offer a handy way to compare energy efficiency.
Let’s take the humble dishwasher for example. This little contraption has really come a long way since its invention. The latest dishwashers use 50% of water and 40% less energy than those made in the early 90s. A modern dishwasher that uses just 150 kWh per year costs roughly $45. Compare that to its old 380kWh competitor, which costs about $114 to run. Add all your appliances together using this example, and shortly be running up the street waving cash around like a mad monkey. These costs add up and they give you plenty of extra cash to save and spend!
Then there’s the fridge. Fridges are equally expensive, according to Sustainability Victoria, because they’re on the go 24/7 – just like us mums really! A four star energy rated fridge will cost about $60 less each year, than its two star equivalent.
If can’t upgrade, just yet apply a little common sense. Turn your fridge down a couple degrees so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Or only run the dishwasher after hours (in off-peak times) and when full.
Oh and don’t forget the kettle. My electrician tells me this cute little machine is actually a power-sapping monster. Beware!

2.    Replacing lightbulbs

One of the easiest and effective upgrades you can do is changing lightbulbs. Many households still use standard incandescent bulbs, rather than LEDs or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). These bulbs last for 8-10 years and that’s an innings of 50x longer than standard bulbs. Eartheasy estimates that both LEDs and CFLs will save you thousands over a 10-year period. Oh and there’s no excuse now. The Aussie government is paying electricians to install these babies for free. Google how to do that and your house will have a lightbulb makeover in no time.

3.    Compare Energy Providers

Did you know you can control your energy provider and not the other way around? Yes. You have the power! (Excuse the pun J) If you’re not getting the best deal, think about comparing energy suppliers using sites like Switchwise to find better deals and lower energy bills fast.

4.    Use a household app

If you love a great app, I’m happy to report that there are some amazing apps out there for taking control of your devices. Again – you have the power! Did you know that now you could remotely control appliances like your oven, TV or washing machine from your smartphone? I haven’t done this yet – but this news is groundbreaking for a busy mum. I’m picturing sitting on the couch every night with my life in a remote control! Gotta love technology.
At the supermarket and realised you forgot to turn off the oven? No probs! There’s an app for that! I am sure you are getting the picture.
From an energy-saving viewpoint, you can use apps to monitor and turn off appliances that are wasting energy. Other apps even let you see when and where you’re wasting energy. Check out 10 of the best energy efficient apps here.

5.    Get better windows

A major source of heat loss comes happens through windows, especially if they’re not double-glazed. Replace windows and they will pay for themselves over time in reduced heating and cooling costs. For a quick fix, think about reducing leaks using caulk or weatherstrip. Also consider investing in energy efficient window treatments.
Do you have some great ways to save on utility bills? Be sure to share them in comments below.

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