Winter is the time to rug up. It's one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep warm so pull out a warm blanket and wear lots of layers.
- a comfortable room temperature in winter is between 18 and 21 degrees. If you’re using air conditioning, each extra degree higher can add 10 per cent to running costs. Don't over heat or over cool rooms – save over $80 and 400kg of CO2 a year.
- the best way to save money on home heating is to keep the cool air out. Draughts can increase heating costs by up to 25%. Consider door snakes, draught stoppers, foam window sealing tape, blinds and curtains to reduce heat loss. Close doors, cover windows and minimise draughts – save up to $80 and 400kg of CO2 a year.
- ceiling insulation can reduce heating costs by up to 30 per cent, saving you more than $100 a year.
- use the sun to naturally heat your home by opening blinds and curtains on north facing windows.
Tips for buying a heater
Heating and cooling costs account for around a quarter of the average household’s energy use, so it makes sense to carefully consider heating options.
- there are lots of cheap portable electric heaters available but they can be costly to run. It's easy to spend more money on electricity using a personal fan heater in one week, than the cost of the heater itself. They're usually best for personal heating in small spaces and for short periods of time.
- a typical electric heater running for four hours every evening over winter can add more than $150 to your electricity bill and will generate up to 750 kilograms of CO2.
- oil column heaters can also be costly but have the advantage of being safe to run in a bedroom while you sleep. It’s best to choose one with a timer so it doesn’t run all night.
- if possible, invest in an efficient gas heater or reverse cycle air-conditioner for larger areas. They cost more upfront, but if used efficiently they cost up to two thirds less to run compared to portable plugin heaters.
Electric hot water accounts for over a third of the average household’s energy use.
- install a 3 star rating shower head – save up to $120 a year on energy and water bills.
- shave a couple of minutes off showering each day – save up to $40 per person a year.
- use cold water for tasks where hot water is not absolutely necessary.
- fix dripping taps - a tap dripping 45 times per minute wastes around 1,000 litres of hot water each month, the equivalent of ten bathtubs.
- choose a hot water system with the lowest running costs. Switch to gas, solar or heat pump to save on your energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. Our guide for choosing a hot water system will help you get started.
- a half-filled dishwasher uses the same amount of energy as a full one, wait until you have a full load – save up to $40 and 200kg of CO2 a year.
- use economy or energy saving settings on your dishwasher for maximum efficiency.
Use our hot water calculator to estimate the cost of hot water in your home.
Lighting and standby power
The average household spends up to 9% of their annual energy bills on lighting and has between 20 and 30 appliances that consume standby power, when not being used.
- switch off lights and save up to $40 and 200kg of CO2 a year. Research shows 26% of people leave lights on all evening in unoccupied rooms.
- turn off appliances like your TV and computer at the wall rather than leaving them in standby mode and save up to $80 and 400kg of CO2 a year.
- if you use a second fridge for drinks and extra food over the summer period, you can save money by emptying it and switching it off until next summer. Remember to leave the door slightly ajar. A 15-year-old fridge running 24 hours a day, seven days a week could be adding up to $250 to your energy bill every year and 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
- NSW government and local councils offer a rebate for second fridge in-home collection, visit www.fridgebuyback.com.au
- if shopping for a new fridge, buy a high star rated model and save up to $100 a year.
Washing and drying clothes
- wash clothes in cold water – save around $60 and 300kg of CO2 a year.
- use a clothesline or indoor drying rack instead of a dryer – save up to $60 and 300kg of CO2 a year.
- clean the dryer lint filter regularly to maintain full air flow and maximise drying efficiency.
- never put dripping wet clothes in your dryer - use the spin cycle to dry them first in the washing machine.
- buy a high star rated dryer and make sure it has a sensor to minimise drying times. Our energy star ratings guide will help you make the right choice.
- if you have time-based pricing, use your clothes washer and dryer during off peak times to save money (i.e. after 10pm and before 7am).
- front-load washing machines use less water than top-loaders, so if you must wash in warm or hot water, a front-loader is a more energy efficient option.
Keeping cool doesn't need to break the bank. Stay cool and save with our cooling tips.
- set the right temperature - the optimum range in summer is between 23 to 26 degrees. Each extra degree of cooling below that can add up to 10% to your running costs
- use natural breezes to stay cool by opening doors and windows on opposite sides of your home to take advantage of cross ventilation
- use adjustable louvres and horizontal awnings over windows to keep the heat off your home. Spinning roof vents help reduce the temperature in the roof cavity
- use fans where you can. A ceiling fan costs about 2 cents an hour to run or about $6 over a summer. Air conditioning the same space can cost between 30 to 40 cents an hour and add $100-150 to your electricity bill.
* Average household energy usage is based on a typical 3-person household in Sydney with all electric appliances, a 500 litre fridge, reverse cycle air conditioning, clothes dryer, dishwasher and halogen lamps. Hot water usage is based on a 7 minute daily shower per person and a standard showerhead on an off peak tariff. Actual energy consumption will vary depending on appliance usage, model and type.
If your pool isn't heated, you only need to run the pump for about two to four hours a day during cooler weather, that's about half the running time needed during summer – save up to $120 and 600kg of CO2 a year. See our swimming pool efficiency brochure.