We are well and truly deep into the summer season, with scorching temperatures across Australia that may have some of us already wanting for the cold embrace of winter.
Unfortunately, summer also brings about a higher electricity bill. In 2018, electricity was the second-fastest rising household expense. Coupling this with the added pressure on relying on electricity to keep us cool during the heatwaves, and it is no wonder our bills can become so high.
We have already written about a few tips to save money on electricity, though they are not all specific to saving money while also keeping cool during the higher temperatures.
If you are in need of saving money on your next household bill, then below are our tips to save money on energy this summer!
A handy way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your electricity while keeping your household bills down is to compare your current electricity plan and ensure that you are on the best plan on the market.
If you have not compared your energy plan in the last six months, then you are probably paying too much. Energy rates are always changing, so it is best to keep on top of your electricity bill by using our energy comparison tools.
Give us a call at 1300 683 009 and speak to one of our energy experts for assistance in comparing your energy bill to see if there is a better plan for you.
Or browse our energy plans and see if you can save even more money by signing up to a better plan!
Our electricity & gas experts will be able to help you see if you can find a better plan for your household, and they are there if you need help to understand your energy bill as well as answer any other questions that you may have.
While we have already covered this before, we cannot stress enough the important of optimising your air conditioner’s thermostat to make your house nice and comfortable to live in, without sweltering in the heat or getting too cold.
Depending on where you read or hear, energy experts may advise on setting the thermostat at a range of different temperatures.
However, for a ballpark figure, it is best to set your temperature between 24oC and 26oC.
Try to keep within this range, as each degree lower than 24oC may increase the costs of running your air conditioner by 10 per cent.
Also, if you plan on leaving your house for extended durations during the day, try not to leave the air conditioner running. One of the only exceptions to this rule is if you have indoor pets.
If you have pets that are kept indoors, then it is vital to their comfort and health that you keep the air conditioner running for them, as well as ensuring they have plenty of water to drink.
Another great feature of most modern air conditioning units is that they can also be programmed to turn on and turn off at designated times. So, for instance if you require the air conditioner to be turned on half an hour before you get home, then you can set it!
You can also set the air conditioner to turn on half an hour before you wake up in the morning, so that the house will be nice and cold by the time you awake.
If your air conditioning unit does not have an in-built timer feature, you can purchase a programmable thermostat with that ability.
For households with evaporative cooling at home, it is imperative to keep doors and windows opened in the rooms that you wish to cool down to increase the air flow.
Evaporative cooling works by combining water with the collected heat from outside and turning the air into a cool breeze that enters the house through the air ducts in your roof. Because of this process, the evaporative cooling works best when it is hot outside.
Leaving the windows and doors open then help the cool air push out the hot air, thus allowing for your home to remain at a constant cool temperature.
It is best to use the evaporative cooling when there is low humidity outside, as the cooling unit will already bring in humidity into your room or house.
Plus, make sure that your evaporative cooling is properly maintained and serviced every couple of years.
Portable fans are quite cheap to run, ranging between 1 and 2 cents per hour. On top of the extremely cheap running costs, portable fans can also be quite cheap to purchase as well.
However, note that fans don’t actually bring down the temperature in a room.
Instead, it just circulates the air around, and as such they are complimentary pieces to the evaporative cooling or air conditioning unit.
If you have a portable fan in a location that is not near any electronics, you could also combine a spray bottle with the fan to spray cool water onto yourself as well. But again, keep this idea away from your TV, computer or other electronics for safety reasons.
Take advantage of the cooler air flowing through your home when the air conditioner is running, try your best to ensure that all windows and doors are closed. This way, the cool air cannot escape the house, thus putting less pressure on the air conditioner to produce extra cold air to replace the escaping air.
To further maximise your windows and doors when you are using the air conditioner, do a spot check to ensure that all the seals around the openings of nearby doors are properly covered. If they are not sealed, then there is a fair chance your cool air will seep out through the cracks into other rooms or spaces.
Note, that an air conditioner works differently to an evaporating cooling unit.
If your household has evaporative cooling, then you will need to keep doors and windows open, as it relies on bringing outside air into the house.
You can double down on using windows by also investing in blinds and curtains that can help to reflect the sun rays back out.
Mirror window tinting also works well to reflect direct sunlight heat while also providing shade for your room.
Another cost-effective way to keep your house cooler in the summer is to consider getting insulation installed into your home. By placing insulation in your roof and ceiling, walls and floors, your house will remain cooler in the summer.
This is because the insulation will add another layer to your house to prevent the heat from entering into your home. Plus, the added benefits to this is that the insulation will also keep your house warmer during the winter times as well.
The insulation does this by preventing heat to pass through; so in summer the heat won’t be able to come into the home; and in the winter, internally-generated heat won’t be able to escape through the roof, if the insulation is placed in your roof.
Make use of the ice in your freezer by putting them into your drinks so that you can constantly keep cool.
Plus, you can keep storing water cubes in your freezer to make easy ice cubes, so that you can keep repeating the process of using ice cubes to cool down your drinks, while also making more ice cubes for later use.
Remember to keep drinking also to keep yourself well hydrated during the hotter days.
You are bound to sweat on a hot day, and the more you sweat, the quicker you become dehydrated. So, do not wait for your body to get thirsty before you drink water; instead try to drink 10 glasses a day instead of the standard eight to keep on top of your water levels.
Of course, if you are working outside and are sweating a lot more, then you may need to drink more than 10 glasses a day.
There are some foods that you can freeze and then eat while frozen. Various fruits can be placed in the freezer, such as frozen mangos or raspberries! Plus, they are a delight to eat as well, as well as providing required nutrients.
Plus, store some icy poles and ice cream in your freezer to surprise the kids with on a hot summer’s day. They go down like a treat!
If you wish to further your pursuit to battle the heat, then consider wetting some towels or face washers and draping them around your neck. Make sure you squeeze all the excess water off the towel or face washer, so that you are not covered in water while you are performing your day-to-day tasks.
Another option is you could also use an ice or gel pack to keep you cool. But ensure you wrap it in a tea towel or face washer so that you are not giving yourself potential frost bite or ice burns and try not to leave the ice pack on your body for longer than 15 minutes.
You can also place ice cubes into a snap-lock bag or freezer bag and use that as a form of a makeshift ice-pack. Whether you are keeping the bag in your pocket, or wearing it around your neck, this is a cheap way to keep yourself cool using some of the bare minimum.
You also have the option to jump into the shower with cold water to cool your body down. Warm showers also work well and are arguably better than an ice-cold shower to the effects it has on increasing your blood flow.
If you are showering a couple of times a day, try to keep your shower sessions to less than two minutes! However, for the sake of keeping your household bills low, try to refrain from multiple showers a day.
You probably do not need to be told to wear cooler clothes in order to keep cool in the summer.
Keep to the t-shirts, singlets and shorts to prevent your body from getting too hot in the summer and stick to cotton-based clothing as they help to cool you down.
Wear loose clothes as you will feel more comfortable, as your body will be able to breathe better.
However just ensure that if you are wearing skin-revealing clothes, to also remember to put on sunscreen and give yourself the best protection from the sun and UV rays. You do not want to get to sun burnt.
Keeping in line with the cotton-based clothing, you should also change your bed sheets to cotton also.
This will allow for your body to breathe while you are in bed, while also having a lighter touch or feel so it will not heat you up more than you need to in the summer.
Plus, a huge benefit to cotton sheets is that you will not wake up with sticky skin.
If you enjoyed this guide, or you wish to consult our other energy guides, then visit Energy Guides Australia to learn more about how you can save money on your electricity & gas. Learn more about getting an electricity discount if you are a pensioner, or about what electricity tariffs and tariff structures are.
Or you can visit Broadband Guides Australia to learn about more ways for you to maximise your broadband plan at home, as well as learn about what the NBN is, which Technology Mix your household will receive and which NBN broadband plans will be available for your house.
Visit our Energy Frequently-Asked-Questions to also learn more about energy and break down the jargon in the industry.