Keeping our homes cool in the summer sun can be a challenge for many households, but managing the impact on your electricity bills doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Robert Simpson said knowing how to keep our homes cool without breaking the bank can help take the stress out of the summer period.
“The key to energy saving on these hot summer days is to keep the sun off your home and the heat out of your house," Dr Simpson said.
“This allows you to use the air conditioner less frequently, which could reduce the electricity bill for a family of four by up to ten per cent and cut your household’s CO2 emissions by up to one tonne.”
Tips to keep your home cool naturally:
- Keep the heat off. The north and west facing areas receive the most summer heat. Keep it out by using vertical shades like adjustable louvres for east and west windows and horizontal shading like awnings for northern windows. If you can’t cover your windows from the outside, use curtains or blinds indoors and choose lighter colours so they reflect the heat.
- Let the hot air out. Spinning roof vents help reduce the temperature in the roof cavity. If you have a two-storey house encourage hot air to flow out of the upper level while letting in the cooler evening breeze. Use nature’s air conditioning. Leave doors and windows on opposite sides of your home open to take advantage of cross ventilation.
- Use fans where you can. If you use air conditioning, set it between 23 and 26 degrees.
Ceiling fans cost about two cents an hour to run, or as little as $6 over summer. In comparison, air conditioning the same room can cost between 30 and 40 cents an hour and increase your summer bill by $100-150.
On days you need to use the air conditioner the easiest way to save money is to set the right temperature – ideally between 23 and 26 degrees. Each degree of cooling can add 10% to your running costs – and remember to close doors and windows to keep the cool air in.
If you are lucky enough to have a pool, it’s probably having its busiest time of the year as well. Pool pumps can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bills. Speak with your energy retailer and consider moving to time-based pricing. Running pumps during the off-peak or shoulder periods could cut running costs by half.