7 ways a home energy audit can shower you in cash

A home energy audit may not be at the top of your list of ‘fun things to do this week’ but if you’d like more money to do more fun stuff, you might want to pull up your socks, suck your belly in, tighten your belt and take heed of these smart tips on how to put your cash in your stash.

What on earth is a home energy audit?

This audit will study the habits of the big and little people who live in your home – including yourself! It will help you understand your home and its occupants better and which money-sucking habits are wrecking those important potential savings.

Here’s what an audit looks at:

Here’s a visual of how to save energy in your home:

How to save energy in your home


7 ways a home energy audit can shower you in cash

1. Heating and cooling

The next time you consider skipping the simple act of putting on slippers to stay warm, or spraying yourself with some icy mist to stay cool, you might want to suck up this incredible statistic:

Fact:

Heating and cooling gobbles up 38% of home energy.

Think of your heating or cooling switch as a reverse ATM. Every time you put your finger on that control switch (and especially to crank it up), that switch is sucking money directly out of bank account.

Here are a few quick tips to start making savings today:

Heating:

  • Do this: Walk up to your bedroom and grab those slippers and an extra jumper. Get your kids to put their Onsies on. Turn the heater down or off – especially in Spring & Autumn.
  • Don’t do this: Leave the house or the room and forget to turn the heating off.
  • Do this: Make use of cross breezes, the suns path, and natural shading where possible to maintain a comfortable temperature. Get the kids a spray bottle each and a kiddie pool.
  • Don’t do this: Sit in airconditioning for entire days in summer. Seek out free and cool places to hang out – like under the shade of a tree outside or head to the beach for a day.

Cooling:

  • Do this: Make use of cross breezes, the suns path, and natural shading where possible to maintain a comfortable temperature. Get the kids a spray bottle each and a kiddie pool.
  • Don’t do this: Sit in airconditioning for entire days in summer. Seek out free and cool places to hang out – like under the shade of a tree outside or head to the beach for a day.

2. Water heating

Heating water uses a large portion of the energy pie

Fact:

An average bath uses 80 litres of water, a power shower can be 136, and an efficient showerhead hovers around 70 litres per 8 minutes.

Do this:

Check the efficiency of your hot water system and invest in water saving devices.

Don’t do this:

  • Take long showers twice a day
  • Put your child in the shower and forget to tell them to get out

Hot tip:

When my kids are taking too long in the shower, I tell them they are spending their Christmas presents. The speed at which they exit the shower always amazes me. Beats nagging J.


3. Other Appliances

‘Other appliances’ includes the TV, computers, washing machine, dishwasher and any other electrical devices. (Devices except the fridge, freezer and cooking appliances.)

Do this:

  • Check energy ratings and estimate if there are any appliances that are using more than their share, whether from overuse or being left on stand-by (which uses 3% extra alone).
  • Invest in energy saving switches and devices.
  • Leave TV’s around the home blaring when no one is watching them.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine frequently during peak times.
  • Change to more efficient LED bulbs
  • Make sure lights are not left on while not in use.
  • Invest in smart timers
  • Train people in the house to turn the things off
  • Leave all the lights on in the house at once
  • Walk around the house switching lights off – as a habit

Don’t do this:

  • Leave TV’s around the home blaring when no one is watching them.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine frequently during peak times.

4. Lighting

Do this:

  • Change to more efficient LED bulbs
  • Make sure lights are not left on while not in use.
  • Invest in smart timers
  • Train people in the house to turn the things off
  • Leave all the lights on in the house at once
  • Walk around the house switching lights off – as a habit

Don’t do this

  • Leave all the lights on in the house at once
  • Walk around the house switching lights off – as a habit

5. Fridge / freezer

Fact:

Fridges and freezers alone account for 7% of total home energy consumption.

Do this:

  • Only run a secondary appliance where necessary
  • Make sure the temperature is correctly set (Fridges: 3° to 5°C, freezers: -15° to -18° C) to keep food fresh whilst using less energy.
  • Maintain seals and defrost regularly if the freezer is not frost-free, also try to locate the appliance in a cooler, well-ventilated area.
  • Stuff so much stuff in your fridge or freezer that it works inefficiently
  • Have too many fridges around. E.g The beer fridge.
  • Turn off extra fridges (e.g The beer fridge) when not in use
  • Use lids on pans and make sure the lid fits the pan
  • Partly cook food in the microwave
  • Cook in bulk on the weekend
  • Cook more than one meal at once in the oven and freeze for later
  • Boil food on the stove for longer than necessary
  • Use pots bigger than the item in question
  • Leave an oven on for longer than necessary
  • Pre-heat ovens for longer than necessary
  • Turn appliances off at the wall
  • Use switches to put your appliances on standby
  • Get into the habit of switching stuff off
  • Run your old house on old technology
  • Leave televisions and home appliances on at the wall at all times

Don’t do this

  • Stuff so much stuff in your fridge or freezer that it works inefficiently
  • Have too many fridges around. E.g The beer fridge.
  • Turn off extra fridges (e.g The beer fridge) when not in use

6. Cooking

Do this:

  • Use lids on pans and make sure the lid fits the pan
  • Partly cook food in the microwave
  • Cook in bulk on the weekend
  • Cook more than one meal at once in the oven and freeze for later
  • Boil food on the stove for longer than necessary
  • Use pots bigger than the item in question
  • Leave an oven on for longer than necessary
  • Pre-heat ovens for longer than necessary

Don’t do this:

  • Boil food on the stove for longer than necessary
  • Use pots bigger than the item in question
  • Leave an oven on for longer than necessary
  • Pre-heat ovens for longer than necessary

7. Stand-by power

Do this:

  • Turn appliances off at the wall
  • Use switches to put your appliances on standby
  • Get into the habit of switching stuff off
  • Run your old house on old technology
  • Leave televisions and home appliances on at the wall at all times

Don’t do this:

  • Run your old house on old technology
  • Leave televisions and home appliances on at the wall at all times

There are also several factors to consider when choosing your energy plan:

5waystoavoid_wrongenergyplan

Saving energy is a combination of common sense and getting into good habits. An energy audit will you discover where savings can be made. If you find that you are not best served by your current energy tariff, contact your electricity provider to discuss you options.


Finally

Get the family involved and help them understand how their habits are affecting the household. If necessary, tie the savings to important rewards – like Christmas! Seems harsh – but tough love sure pays off on Christmas day when your kid gets the Xbox he wants.

Live a better day. Do more fun stuff. You’ll thank yourself….

Do you have any awesome energy saving tips? Please leave them in comments below.

More resources in the Savings Room

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “7 ways a home energy audit can shower you in cash”

  1. Hey Penina! I loved your tips and thought I’d chip in with a few more as I work in the cooling and heating industry.

    – Set your thermostat to 18-21 degrees C, if you can do so comfortably. The lower, the better, as every degree can reduce the cost of running your unit by 10%.
    -Get regular maintenance on a gas or electric unit (usually you can go by your unit’s manual, which can be found online).
    -Wash or change your filters regularly, and keep the reflectors clean – this improves air flow.
    -Your ceiling fans are your friend! They help keep air circulating in the winter, pushing warm air downward, and in summer they generate a cool breeze which can make the room feel several degrees cooler for less energy than running your air conditioner.
    -In winter, adjust your heating vents to point toward the ground. Hot air rises, and this will help keep the air circulating, reducing cold pockets in the house.
    -If you have to replace a unit, shop around! Find the one with the highest efficiency rating (energy star) and make sure the unit matches with the square footage of your home. You won’t save money with a smaller unit if it has to run more often to heat/cool the home.

    Alex
    http://www.totalkoolingsolutions.com.au/

  2. Hi Penina,

    Great article, i have found something as simple as only heating and cooling the rooms that you are in can reduce your heating and cooling cost. A good rule of thumb, if you can feel air coming in it means air is escaping. Reduce air leakage by sealing up any gaps or buy or make your own draft excluder and reduce your heating and cooling bills. Air leakage can add on as much as 15% to your heating and cooling costs.

    Fans cost almost nothing to run a year and can make you feel up to 4 degrees cooler, preventing you from having to turn on your A/C unit. You can check out the annual running cost of thousands of electrical appliances here, http://www.saveenergysavemoney.com.au/. Knowing how much energy each appliance consumes can help reduce your energy bills.

    Julie

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