Our electricity bill came in recently and I still feel sick to my stomach about the amount due. We have solar hot water, only have a few lights on at night – to the point my husband almost cooks in the dark (yes, my husband cooks!) – and yet apparently our usage for a 2 adult, 1 toddler family is equivalent to a 5+ person family! What the?! Yes, it was the winter bill. Yes, it was cold and we used a reverse cycle air-conditioner and oil heater most nights but… what the?! So I set about the house doing an audit on areas I thought we could improve. Here are 5 ways to save energy and water that I came up with for our household:
Upgrade Home Appliances
Our oven was fairly new but then I set eyes on the fridge. At just 303L it just wasn’t cutting it size-wise for our little family and after much negotiation around the bend in the staircase with a cardboard template, I decided we could upgrade to a new fridge and not only have room for a stack more food but we could save on energy costs. I opted for the LG GB450UPL from Bing Lee. With 4-star energy rating, anti-fingerprint stainless steel finish and inverter linear compressor with 10 year parts warranty, it sounded blissful when compared to my little white second-hand fridge from a bygone era. We set it up, plugged it in, opened the door, and it was like a space-ship had landed with all those LED lights glowing inside. And it doesn’t make a sound! Yep – blissful indeed! The purchase of the LG fridge also put us in the draw to win some LG solar panels to help reduce the cost of electricity! Awesome!
The next thing I considered was how we could change our habits. I figured there was no need to heat every single room in the house if we weren’t using them so made a habit of closing doors to rooms not being used. We also started turning the sockets off at the wall and unplugging unused electrical plugs. Hundreds of dollars worth of electricity is wasted each month by devices left on standby. My brother, the Sparky, once told me that you’d be surprised how many appliances still have electricity feeding them if they’re still plugged in even though the switch is turned off. I’m not sure how that works but I figured, what the heck. Just unplug it if it’s not in use.
Check Ceiling Insulation
So a few months back we had a rodent problem – a long story for another day. The pest control guy crawled out of the ceiling to, not only advise us that we had a colony of mice in the roof space not unlike a mini Sim-City, but also to advise us that all the insulation in our ceiling had disintegrated. It was then that I realised why our second-storey is like the Sahara in summer and the Antarctic in winter. Being that this is essentially where all our household living area is (kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, loungeroom), I started researching replacement insulation. I’ve decided on Earthwool insulation from Bunnings. It’s affordable, can’t catch fire, energy-saving, super-soft glass wool made from recycled bottles, is easy to install, contains no formaldehyde and has a 50 year warranty. I can’t go wrong.
Assess Off-Peak Solar Water
Our solar hot water sits on off-peak unless it goes luke-warm (usually in winter or on cloudy days) at which time we need to turn the electricity on at the meter box. The issue is though, if we forget to turn it off again, we are left constantly heating a massive water tank for no reason. Needless to say, this is why our bill is so high, all because of our busy lives and we’ve forgotten to turn the thing off. But alas, there is a solution. In a few days time we’re having a little light switch installed in the bathroom to indicate whether the electricity to the hot water is turned on or not. The technical name escapes me at the moment but I can’t wait to see how this will reduce our bill.
I have to admit this is not something I’m doing currently, but it’s on my to-do list. If you have the space, there are many benefits to harvesting rain water for household usage. Imagine what you could do with up to 90,000 litres of water harvested with the right tools. Imagine the discount on your water utility bill! Check out this infographic for more stats about water tank benefits.
Infographic Produced By http://www.watertankfactory.com.au;
Saving money and energy on your water and electricity doesn’t have to be hard. What can you do around your place?
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