September 21, 2018

10 Effective Ways to Save Money on Water Heating

Water heating can amount to 25% of the energy consumption of an average household. Having an efficient water-heating system may reduce the amount of hot water you use and at the same time, reduce your water and electricity bills. The good thing is, there are many ways to save some cash on energy bills with regards to hot water usage. Here are some of them:

Use a shower timer

About a quarter of the total water consumption in a household goes to showers and baths. Did you know that you can save 24 litres of water each day if you take showers for four minutes max?

Set the washing machine to cold water cycle

Make sure to set your washing machine to a cold water cycle, since heating the water will consume energy.

Use the dishwasher only when full load

When washing the dishes, use your dishwasher only when you have a full load.

Use basins

Use a plug in sinks and basins. Otherwise, several liters of water will be expelled.

Consider the climate in your area

The climate in your area is a consideration. Some systems work best in warmer climates, like those with heat pumps. Also, protect your hot water systems from outside temperatures. In cold climates, insulation from frost will be required to protect your hot water system. You may have to insulate your hot water pipes.

Go with flow regulators

These can reduce water usage by half. How? They allow water to flow at faster rates while providing softer water with less splashing. Bear in mind, however, that flow regulators may not be compatible with some hot water systems.

Consider a pressure reduction valve

Install a pressure reduction valve. Flow rates from showers and taps increase with high water pressure. Have the pressure reduced by installing a pressure reduction valve at your property.

Turn it off when you go on holiday

Turn off your hot water system when you are outside the house for several days, for instance if you are going on a holiday.

Know the best location 

Know the best location for your electric heat pump systems. We may take this for granted, but electric heat pump systems operate more effectively when placed in a warm ventilated area.

Pick the right size

Choose the right size of system for your household by estimating your hot water requirements. Small tanks may not suffice, but too excessively large tanks have higher operating costs.

These are pretty doable, right? With some changes to your day-to-day activities, you can significantly lower your water bill and energy consumption.

Do you have other tips on how to lower your water and electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Things to Do if You Struggle to Pay Your Utility Bills

Water and electricity are some of the basic necessities of any Australian household so we can perform our day-to-day activities. Depending on your usage, your electricity bill and water bill can take up a large part of your monthly budget. These bills can be quite difficult to pay if you don’t have enough money in your savings account. Also, since you don’t really know how much your bill will be for a particular month, it may be a bit hard to budget for it.

But don’t worry, there are several ways that you can ensure that you will be able to pay your water and electricity bills. In this article, let’s take a look at the things to consider if you struggle to pay your utility bills:

Reduce your water consumption and electricity usage

It almost goes without saying but being mindful of how you use your water and electricity can significantly reduce your bill every month. Even small changes can make a big difference, especially if everyone in the family is involved in making sure that no water is wasted and all appliances are unplugged when not in use. Other steps to reduce your usage include replacing devices with energy-efficient ones and taking quick showers instead of longer baths.

Contact your provider

If you find it hard to pay your utility bills, it’s better to seek help from your provider. They usually have officers who can guide you in making a plan on how to pay off your bill. For instance, they can advise you to pay the bill in instalments so it will be more manageable for you.

Consider bill smoothing

This refers to making payments on a monthly or bi-monthly basis so you don’t have to pay a huge annual or quarterly bill in one go. You can contact your provider and ask if they have this service.

Talk to a financial counsellor

If you’re struggling to pay your utility bills, or to deal with your money concerns in general, you can consult a financial counsellor. He/she usually offers free service to help you with your financial situation.

Do you have other ideas on how to deal with your water and electricity bills? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Choosing an Electricity and Gas Bundle Plan

Bundling can help you save on costs, as many energy providers offer discounts and rewards for bundled packages. It can also save you time because you only have to deal with a single provider. But, whether or not bundling will be cheaper depends on a number of factors. These include your service, your location, and your current energy package.

Here are some of the things to take into account when choosing an electricity and gas bundle plan:

  1. Should you bundle with the same supplier? The decision to bundle with one supplier depends on your current service and usage. If you think that you are paying too much, then you should consider a bundle. It is better to reach out to a specialist energy broker to help you with your options.
  2. Which suppliers offer bundles? There are a lot of energy providers that offer bundles, though availability may vary depending on which state you are in and your energy usage.

Providers that you might consider checking out are the following:

AGL

Provides discounts on popular gift cards, movie tickets, travel, and accommodation. (Website: www.agl.com.au)

Dodo

Gives discounts off the usage rate when you pay your electricity bill on time and $100 off on your first bill. (Website: www.dodo.com)

ERM Business

84% of their customers are satisfied with their service. Plus, they have almost 100 percent billing accuracy. (Website: www.empower.com.au)

Lumo Energy

Offers a wide range of gas and electricity packages as well as flexible payment modes. (Website: www.lumoenergy.com.au)

Origin Energy

They have 4.3 million customer accounts in Australia. They offer a wide range of energy plans, easy online account management, flexible payment options, no lock-in contracts or exit fees, and next business day connection. (Website: www.originenergy.com.au)

Simply Energy

One of the fastest growing energy companies in Australia. They are part of ENGIE, a leading global energy provider in over 70 countries. (Website: www.simplyenergy.com.au)

How do I choose the best bundle? Understanding your usage is your primary concern if you plan to consider energy bundles.

Getting your services from different providers means having several billings on different days. With an energy bundle, you will get everything at once. You can also enjoy better energy rates, rewards and discounts, making budgeting easier and more convenient.

Do you have other ideas when it comes to water and electricity bills? Share your tips in the comments section.

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How to Save Energy with Your Dishwasher

The dishwasher is one of those household appliances that get used often. It offers convenience in the sense that it makes washing so many dishes and utensils so much easier. Of course, it consumes electricity and when used daily, it can make a significant contribution to your water bill and even your electricity bill. The good thing is, there are several ways to save energy with your dishwasher.

In this article, look at some of the things that you can do to maximise your dishwasher use while saving energy:

Use it only with a full load

Bear in mind that the dishwasher will use the same amount of water and electricity no matter how full or empty it is. So, make sure to run the dishwasher with a full load to help lower your electricity bill.

Turn it off after the drying phase

Notice that when a dishwasher completes a cycle, the dishes and utensils have a hot temperature. This is a result of subjecting them to a warm air-drying phase. To save energy, you can skip the drying phase. Just turn off your dishwasher after the drying phase and let the air do the work of drying your dishes.

There’s no need to rinse your dishes

Some people rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. You don’t have to do it. The dishwasher is powerful enough to clean them for you, so let them do the hard work. You’ll save time and water this way.

Replace old dishwashers

Saving energy entails using appliances that still run efficiently. If your dishwasher is old, its efficiency may not be that good. Check out newer models to ensure that you’ll have a dishwasher that runs efficiently.

Consider bundling

To lower your water and electricity bills, you may want to consider getting a bundled package. It’s more convenient to deal with one provider plus it’s more cost- and time-efficient.

Make sure to check your current service as well as your level of usage, as these will affect your decision on where to bundle with the same supplier or get a separate supplier for each service. Your location will also play a role in this aspect so do your research and compare your options, so you’ll be able to get the best deal.

Got other tips on how to save energy and lower water and electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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6 Ideas for an Energy-efficient Home

Energy prices are one of the most talk-about topics in the news these days. With the ever soaring energy bills, many Australians are trying to come up with different ways to save money on their utility bills.  There are many products nowadays that are designed with the focus of energy efficiency, and these products are actually quite effective in lowering the overall energy consumption in the households. The good news is that lowering consumption of water and electricity are not as difficult as it seems. In this article, let’s take a look at these six ideas for an energy-efficient home:

Replace appliances with energy-efficient ones

Appliances at home obviously get a fair share in your electricity bill. But if you purchase energy-efficient appliances, it can help lower the overall energy consumption. To determine if an appliance is designed for energy efficiency, check if it has an Energy Rating Label. It is a good idea to choose the one that has more stars, as it uses less energy than those with fewer stars.

Unplug appliances when not in use

It’s just not enough that you turn off appliances after using them. When you keep them plugged, there’s a standby power that accounts for about 10 percent of your electricity bill. Microwave ovens, TV, as well as gaming consoles usually use standby power. So make sure to unplug appliances after using them.

Reduce the use of hot water

Did you know that about 25 percent of a typical electricity bill can be attributed to hot water consumption? Make a conscious effort to minimise the use of hot water. How? Run the dishwasher only when it’s full. Use the washing machine only when it has a full load, and use cold water when washing clothes. Take shorter showers, and opt for a low-flow showerhead.

Keep your home draught-proof

Reduce heating and cooling costs by making sure that your home is draught-proof. This will also make you more cosy when staying at home. Look for a sand-filled or fabric draught stopper. You can also make your own. Also, make sure to check if there are gaps on the floors, in the windows, and around the doors. Seal the gaps, if there are any.

Use the heating and cooling system more efficiently

It’s easy for us to keep the thermostat running even in rooms where no one’s around. Make sure to warm up or cool down only the rooms that you’re using.

Review the contract with your service provider

There are several energy providers in Australia, and it’s important that you’re getting the best deal out of your current one. Otherwise, it may be time to re-assess and see if you will save more money with a new energy provider.

Do you have other ideas on how to reduce water and electricity bills? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Things to Consider when Comparing Energy Offers

When you want to save money, you’ll look at your monthly expenses and see where you can cut corners. The water bill and electricity bill are two regulars in a monthly budget. With some research, you can do several things to reduce your utility bills. One of these is to get the best energy offer from your energy retailer.

If you’ve been with the same energy retailer for several years, you may want to revisit your contract to see if you’re still getting the best deal.

In this article, let’s take a look at some of the things to consider when comparing energy offers:

  • In some regional areas in Australia, there’s only one electricity retailer. If this is the case, make sure that the contract works well with your needs. But in all states and territories excluding the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia and areas outside South East Queensland, there are energy retailers to choose from.
  • Except in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, you have the option to have a market or standard retail contract. A market retail contract comes with a minimum set of terms and conditions, and the retailer is the one that sets the market retail contract price. On the other hand, a standard retail contract becomes the default contract if you weren’t able to look for another one. It comes with a set of terms and conditions that the energy retailer cannot change.
  • Look for the usage and daily supply charges and discounts. Are there any exit fees involved if you want to switch retailers sooner? Are there discounts for paying the electricity bill on time?
  • You can use an estimator or calculator to help you compare the different electricity and gas contracts from licensed energy retailers. Take note, however, that it is still necessary to check your personal situation and not rely solely on online calculators or estimators as these may have some sort of agreement with certain energy retailers.
  • As with anything that comes with a contract, make sure to read the fine print. You can ask someone who knows more about energy offers so you will better understand what you’re paying for. So you can minimize or avoid inconveniences later on.

Got other ideas on energy offers and how to save money on water and electricity bills? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Understanding Energy Use around the House

Water and electricity are essential in our day-to-day lives. Every month, we obviously need to pay our water and electricity bills, and if we’re not careful, our monthly utility bills can continuously increase. But before we can come up with ways to save on water and electricity, it is important to understand how energy is used around the house. Energy consumption can be zeroed in on heating and cooling, appliances, water heating, as well as lighting in your home. In this article, let’s learn more about energy consumption and how we can lower our utility bills:

Heating and Cooling

This energy culprit accounts for almost half (40%) of energy usage of a typical household in Australia. There are several ways to lower your energy consumption with heating and cooling, and most are simple enough that everyone in the home can adhere to:

  • Use heating only in rooms or areas that are being used.
  • During warm days, always close the blinds and curtains. Doing so can actually make the rooms cooler. During cold days, you can also close the blinds and curtains as protection against draft.
  • If you want the room to be cooler, opt for an electric fan. Not only is this cheaper than using your cooling system, it also has low greenhouse impact.

Appliances

An average Australian household has a washer, dryer, dishwasher, TV, and refrigerator. Did you know that appliances account for 33% of your home’s energy use? Lower your energy consumption with appliances by doing these simple tips:

  • Unplug all appliances that are not in use.
  • When buying appliances, make sure to check the energy ratings, which can tell you more about energy efficiency that can translate to lower electricity bills.

Water Heating

About 20% of the total energy consumption is attributed to water heating. Want to reduce your electricity and water usage? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep the thermostat of your water heater to 60°-65°C.
  • When doing the laundry, use cold water in the washing machine.
  • Replace your shower head with a model that is water-efficient.

Lighting

About 6% of the total energy use of an average household is attributed to lights. It may not look much, but turning off lights when there’s no one in the room can help reduce your electricity bill. You can also replace incandescent lighting with energy-efficient bulbs.

Do you have other ideas when it comes to water and electricity bills? Share your insights in the comments section.

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How to Stop Power Guzzlers from Sending Your Utility Bills through the Roof

We all need water and electricity in our day-to-day activities. Obviously, we need our appliances, devices, and other gadgets, but did you know that there are some items that can send your utility bills through the roof? These are also known as power guzzlers, and if you’re not aware of them, you may be in for a surprise come bills payment time.

How can you stop power guzzlers from having a huge impact to your water bill and electricity bill? Here are some tips to take into account:

  • Know the power guzzlers. Of course, you need to identify the culprits that increase your water bill or electricity bill. For instance, your home appliances may not be energy-efficient, adding more to the cost of electricity. Cut costs by replacing these appliances with energy-efficient ones.
  • Heating water accounts for about a quarter of the total household power usage. Save water, and money, by being more conscious about your hot water. Take shorter showers. Make sure that the temperature is between 60C and 65C, or lower if you have children. Check for faucet leaks. It may seem little but you could be wasting a lot of money when you add everything up.
  • The air conditioner is another power guzzler. If you’re planning to buy one, find a model that has a multi-starred Energy Rating System, which tells you that it’s energy-efficient. You can also choose an inverter unit which can be much quieter. Keep your air conditioner in good working condition by cleaning its filters regularly. Of course, do not turn it on when no one’s in the room, and close vents or ducts which are connected to unoccupied rooms.
  • A refrigerator runs 24/7, so it’s one of those appliances that can really increase your electricity bill. If you’re planning to buy a new one, make sure to choose the model that has at least four stars, which means that it’s energy-efficient. Do not place your refrigerator next to an oven or a window where there is warm temperature. Keep it clean and make sure that its seals are working properly.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. Even if you’re not using them and they’re still plugged into the wall or left on standby mode, these appliances still consume electricity, so make sure to unplug them.

Got other tips on how to lower water and electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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What Makes Up the Cost of Your Electricity Bill?

We pay for our water and electricity consumption on a regular basis, but did you ever take time to check what you’re actually paying for? All those figures represent different items that make up our electricity bill. Understandably, we tend to look at the total amount so we can get the bills payment over with and move on with our other household tasks.

Every household has different levels of energy consumption. Each has a different set of appliances and gadgets that use varying levels of electricity. The price you pay for your electricity bill depends on several other factors.

Here are the different items that make up the cost of your electricity bill:

  1. Generation costs are for creating electricity at a power station.
  2. Transmission costs are for setting up and maintaining the state’s network of high voltage powerline infrastructure.
  3. Distribution costs are incurred for building and maintaining the network of low-voltage poles and wires which send electricity to homes and establishments.
  4. Retail costs are incurred for connecting and billing customers. The expense in managing their accounts also falls under retail costs.
  5. Green scheme costs are associated with the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target.
  6. Metering costs are expenses associated with your metering equipment. This covers maintenance and meter reading.

Take note that generation and retail costs are determined in competitive markets wherein companies offer cheaper products to get customers. Also, independent regulators are the ones responsible for the network costs.

Your electricity bill is likewise affected by where you live in the country. There are laws on general consumer protection as well as state and territory energy under the National Energy Customer Framework. This operates in all states and territories, excluding Victoria, Northern Territory, and Western Australia.

Why is it important to know what you’re paying for? Most of us just pay the electricity bill without looking at the different elements involved. Understanding your electricity bill will greatly help you in saving money in energy consumption. You can devise a strategy on how to keep your energy costs down and see if it is effective. You can replace incandescent bulbs with LED lighting, unplug all unused appliances and devices, and buy energy-saving gadgets. You can also check your electricity bills from the last few months or so to see which months posted higher amounts, then make the necessary changes to save money.

Got tips on how to save money on electricity bills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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11 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home

Water and electricity bills are some of the common expenses that we need to pay on a monthly basis. If you want to lower your water bill, you obviously need to conserve water in your home. Here are some simple ways to go about it:

1. Shorten your time in the shower

It takes eight minutes for an average person to take a shower. That’s about 62 litres of hot water. Imagine how much water and electricity you can save if you take five-minute showers instead.

2. Turn off the bathroom tap when you’re not using it

Some people tend to keep the water running while brushing their teeth, washing their face and hands or even cleaning the sink. Break that habit and start turning the faucet off while doing the task and you’ll be surprised with the big change on your water bills.

3. Use rainwater for flushing

If there is enough space, you can have a rainwater tank set up in your backyard to gather rain and hook it up to your toilet plumbing.

4. Use a bucket if you need to clean up or when doing your tasks

There’s no need to keep the tap running.

5. Check your plumbing system

If there’s a faucet leak, fix it as soon as possible.

6. Check the water metre regularly

You can track your water consumption and try to reduce the amount of water being used for some of your household chores.

7. Use a dishwasher and set it on ‘low water’ mode

You can also save on your water bill if you use your dishwasher only when it’s full.

8. If you prefer washing dishes by hand, avoid running the tap continuously

In a double-basin sink, put soapy water in the first one then water for rinsing in the other sink.

9. Install a displacement device to lessen the amount of water every time you flush the toilet

One thrift way to lessen your waste water in every flush is a plastic bottle that you can put in your toilet tank. Simply put water and pebbles in the plastic bottle and you’ll save several litres of water per day.

10. Reuse cleaning water to wash your car or even to water the garden

Just make sure not to use water with cleaning products to water your plants.

11. One more tip to save water is to have a water butt which is used to collect rainwater

Reuse the water from your water butt when cleaning windows or sweeping the floor.

Got other ideas on how to save money on water and electricity? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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