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Top 8 ways to reduce your household power bill this summer

Summer is a time for barbecues with friends, relaxing in the pool and long school holidays. The sunny weather can also, predictably, cause surges in your power bill. Cranking up the AC to cool down your home doesn’t always have to result in skyrocketing electricity costs.

That’s why we’ve assembled these 8 practical ways for you to save on your summer power bill.

1. Draught-proof your home

Draught-proofing is one of the best ways to make your home energy-efficient. Draught is uncontrolled air movement in a room or building. Cool air can escape through gaps in doors and windows, making your house vulnerable to outside temperatures. This results in your cooling systems working harder, which increases your electricity costs.

Inspect your home for any air leaks. Look for gaps around your windows, fireplaces, vents and doors. Then seal, weather-strip or caulk these gaps and cracks so you can keep the cool air in and the hot air out.

2. Apply sunblock

Block the heat out of your home by installing window coverings like blinds and blackout curtains or drapes. Covers and shades can significantly reduce the amount of heat that’s transferred via your windows and keep your home cooler. They can also reduce your reliance on cooling systems, helping you save more energy.

3. Schedule maintenance

Make sure your AC’s are prepared for summer by cleaning the air filters and scheduling a regular tune-up. Clogged air filters can cause the blower fans to work harder to compensate for airflow blockage, which can impact the system’s energy consumption. Thorough cleaning and adjustment of components help ensure your AC’s efficiency and prevent any breakdown during the hottest time of the year.

If you plan to replace your cooling appliance, make sure to check the energy star rating of the replacement. Appliances with a high star rating use less electricity and will cost you less to run.

4. Turn on the fan

Fans are great at keeping the air circulating in your rooms. They help by spreading cooled air from your AC unit so you can maintain a standard cooling temperature of between 23 to 25 degrees. This will ensure maximum efficiency from your AC without blowing your energy bill out of control.

Remember, for every degree cooler your AC unit will add about 10% to the amount of electricity it uses. If possible, also try to set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise, so it pushes the airflow down, creating a cooling effect.

5. Curb daytime use of other appliances

Some large-energy consuming appliances such as dishwashers and dryers can produce unwanted heat and humidity in your house. Instead of running these energy-greedy appliances during hot days, schedule them to run after midnight. This way, they don’t compete with the AC. It also makes saving energy easy as you avoid using them when wholesale energy prices are higher.

6. Use LED lights

Save more energy by switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs. LED lights last longer, are more durable and use 75% less energy than incandescents. Aside from being energy-efficient, they also produce less heat than traditional light bulbs. For example, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat while CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) release about 80%.

7. Enjoy the outdoors

One of the best things about summer is that it gives you more opportunities to go out and enjoy fun activities with family and friends. Whether it is going for a family bike ride, a picnic in the park, or spending a day at the beach, simple outdoor activities can help keep you busy and avoid spending too much energy at home.

Try setting a day in the week that is your weekly outdoor day; Alfresco Tuesdays, or Picnic Thursdays. Get the whole household involved and have a meal outside. Summer doesn’t last forever, so get outdoors and enjoy it before it’s too late.

8. Stay cool

Cool down by taking brief cold showers and drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also combat the heat by wearing light-weight and breathable clothing. Cotton and linen are great in allowing air to move freely through the fabric. These are some simple tricks to help keep your body temperature down under the summer sun. The more comfortable you are, the less you’ll think about lowering the temperature on your AC.

The summer season is energy-intensive in Australia. But with smart planning, energy-efficient activities and by finding the best ways to ventilate your home, you can reduce your household’s power bill and enjoy more of the Aussie summer sun.

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