Summer is a time to let your hair down but with above-average temperatures expected through the season, it’s also becoming a time to sweat over the power bill that comes after keeping your apartment cool.
We have put together some tips recommended by cooling and sustainability experts to help reduce your electricity costs during the heat and avoid the post-summer bill shock.
- Don’t set your air conditioner temperature too cool
According to experts, 25 degrees Celsius is the optimal temperature to balance comfort and cost.
Every degree lower you set your air conditioner could be adding 10 per cent more to your power bills
Think also about how you are dressed. It is a huge waste to have your air-conditioner running on 18-21 degrees, but you are dressed in tracksuit pants.
- Keep windows and doors closed when it’s hot
Temperatures on an extreme day will heat up your walls and furniture. While you may want to open up for ventilation if the air outside is hotter than inside it will heat your home not cool it.
In areas of relatively low humidity, you can also combine this with using spray water bottles or placing damp towels on your skin.
- Use fans
Standing or ceiling fans can use less than 10 per cent of the energy needed for air conditioning.
Additionally, it is a lot easier (and cheaper) to cool a person than a whole house or even one room.
- Unplug devices and turn off the lights
Unplug devices you don’t use or invest in a Smart Strip. Smart Strips shut off power to devices when they aren’t in use. Remember to turn the lights off. Lights heat up space and keeping them on adds extra degrees that then need to be cooled by your AC system.
- Avoid the oven and stove
Using kitchen appliances, such as an oven, adds to your electricity bill. Obviously, it needs electricity to run but secondly it heats up the space in your home and your air conditioner needs to work harder to cool the area down. This is the same reason why you should avoid using the dryer in the summer, and instead opt out for a drying rack if possible.
- Block sunlight and insulate
Drawing blinds and curtains are obvious ways for keeping the sun out from a room.
But if the sun is striking directly on your windows, you get a lot of short-wave radiation that enters the house and becomes heat.
So, try to stop the sun striking any windows — it’s always better to shade from the outside than from the inside.
- Switch to LED lighting
LED (light-emitting diode) lights use about 75 per cent less energy than halogen light bulbs.
They also last 5-10 times longer, according to the Department of Environment and Energy.
- Do your chores at night
Running your appliances during the day warms up the house and adds to the sun heating it, causing your AC to overexert itself. Save your air conditioner and your utility bill by doing chores later in the day
- Get your AC inspected
Don’t forget to run maintenance checks on your AC. Proper functionality lowers energy consumption and saves your pocket. Check your filters and make sure you are using the clean and correct ones for your system. Ask a professional to recommend what’s best for your home cooling system.
- Make sure you ceiling fans are rotating counter-clockwise
Warm air rises towards your ceiling. Keep it there by rotating your fans counter-clockwise. This keeps warm air out of your way and sends waves of cool air downwards, giving your AC and its energy consumption a break.
For Bodies Corporate – Common Area usage
Shared electricity usage is often one of the largest expenses for a strata titled building.
Lobbies, hallways, fire stairs, gardens and car parks all need lighting. Add this to pool expenses, air conditioning and central water heating it quickly adds up to a sizeable bill.
Here are some useful tips to reduce your strata building’s energy usage
Changing to low-energy alternatives can give you a return on investment within 6 months. Modern LED lights can offer up to 90% reduction in electricity usage. In addition, they last much longer than conventional light bulbs, which leads to a reduction in your maintenance expenses.
Ventilation equipment is often left to run 24/7 at great expense. You could consider installing carbon monoxide monitoring devices, which only switch the fans on when needed.
A lot of electricity is simply wasted. Installing timers, lighting sensors and push button light switch timers can further reduce consumption in a cost-effective way.
Check your plumbing and pooling:
Hot water heaters consume a fifth of household energy, and older electrical systems may also be running at peak times of the day when power costs the most.
Licensed electricians can install timers which will turn off your hot water system so it’s not drawing power at the most expensive time of the day.