April 10, 2017 How to save $100s on your energy bill this winter!
Energy supply has been front-page news over recent months.
And rightly so – the cost of utilities is starting to hit the point of being ludicrous. In fact, it’s an upwards trajectory that seems to have been running rampant for the past 10 years or so.
Here in Victoria, electricity alone is tipped to increase by a startling $300 over the next 12 months, off the back of Hazelwood’s closure.
So, what is there to do about it?!
Well, my wife and I have been taking a forensic look at our utility providers, energy usage and usage behaviours, and trying to find ways where we can cut back and save money.
For us, utilities make up around four to five percent of our annual spend, notwithstanding the said (electricity) price increase. It goes without saying, but we’d much rather bolster our own bank balance than our energy providers’!
How to save $100s on your energy bill:
Much like the misconception around changing banks, changing providers is easier than you might think.
We used Victorian Energy Compare to work out whether we’re being taken for a ride by our provider.
Here, all you have to do is get a download of your energy usage from your provider (providing they can access your smart meter) and upload it via the site. From there, just answer a couple of questions, and you’re done.
The comparison, for us, was eye opening. The site estimated that we’d save $680 on both gas and electricity by changing providers. Suffice to say we are in.
Choice magazine’s also been a great resource for us thus far. I’m talking considerations such as:
- The rate per kWh
- Fixed supply charges (if any)
- Getting a discount for paying your bill on time
- Fees for late payments
- Bill cycles and how you’re able to pay
- Set-up fees, as well as fees for receiving bills by post
- Locked-in contracts and potential exit fees
- Bundling your gas (providing you have it) with your electricity with the same provider
Get more efficient
Off the back of our research, we’ve also discovered a myriad of ways we can start reducing our energy consumption at home, many of which are both logical and inherently simple.
Here’s what we’re considering…
Seal off gaps
It’s all about draft proofing your house, apparently.
Heated and cooled air can leak in and out of your seemingly well-insulated home through gaps and cracks – even things like exhaust fans. Makes total sense, right?!
‘Weather sealing’, as it’s also known, is cheap and easy to implement and can save a whopping 25 percent on summer and winter bills. As the name suggests, it involves sealing gaps and cracks around the house and installing draft stoppers where you can.
In the zone
Only heat the areas you need to.
For example, try just heating your living space for a few nights and see how you go.
Beyond that, it might be worth looking into whole-of-house solutions that allow you to program the system to heat or cool particular zones in your home.
Try dropping your heating by two degrees and in my words to my family: “toughen up and throw on an extra layer of clothing.”
Put it this way, the consensus is that a two- to four-degree drop will equate to a 10 percent saving, roughly, on your energy bill.
Get a smart thermostat
We’re about to get one.
The idea is to constantly know what the temperature is inside your house versus your comfort level and, in turn, learning to optimise how much heat you need to heat your home and be comfortable, temperature wise.
If the marketing’s to be believed, we should be able to save a further 10-15 percent on our bills.
Ditch that old hot water system
If you’ve got one, it might be time to put it out to graze.
Typically, older systems generate around 20-plus extra hours of heating that most families don’t ever get around to using.
We’ve opted for a Rinnai Infinity continuous-flow hot-water system, which has a six-star rating. These only heat the water you use at any given time. Meaning, you save a bundle.
Arrange for a service
It’s important to think of your heating and cooling systems in much the same way as your car (well, hopefully).
They need a service every once in a while, just to ensure that everything’s running optimally. It only takes a small leak or clogged-up air duct to add a decimal point to your power bills.
Clean your filters
Ever thought to give the filters in your heater or air-con a clean? Neither had I.
Going by my foray into air-conditioning cleaning last weekend, it’s actually not that hard. Our filter popped out really easily and it was much easier than I’d anticipated. They say a clean filter alone can make your system run up to 12 percent more efficiently. Here’s hoping.
Feel free to give me a shout if you’re interested in how we help families take control of their wealth so they can enjoy life. You can book in a free 15min chat below.