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Easy ways to lower your energy bills

Extreme heatwaves making you feel hot under the collar about summertime energy bills? There’s no need to lose your cool.

Depending on where you live, cooling your home can contribute from 20 to 50 per cent to the energy bills faced by Australian households, according to

So before reaching for the air-conditioner remote, consider some of the other ways you could avoid a meltdown this summer.

When temperatures soar, one of the easiest ways to keep rooms cool is to close windows, doors, curtains and blinds.

Taking advantage of cross-breezes and opening upstairs windows to expel hot air in the evening is another no-cost way to keep your home cooler.

If you’re still feeling the heat, it pays to choose your cooling appliance carefully.

Ceiling, pedestal and personal fans are low to medium-cost alternatives, while electric reverse-cycle air conditioners and electric evaporative cooling are medium to high cost.

A fan will cost about two cents an hour to run, making them an affordable way to secure some cold comfort.

Can’t live without air con? There are still ways to reduce the impact on your energy bill.

Cranking your air conditioner to North Pole temperatures can cause energy bill blow-out and impact the unit’s motor. So as a rule of thumb, aim to keep your air conditioner set about eight degrees lower than the outside temperature. On a 40-degree day, set it to about 32 degrees. As the day cools down, reduce the temperature or switch it off altogether.

Remember that each degree cooler adds about 10 per cent to your air conditioner’s running cost.


Coping with warm nights

If getting to sleep on hot nights is your worst nightmare, run the air con to cool the bedroom initially and then switch it off or down when you’re ready to get some shut-eye.

Be aware that the age of an air conditioner can add to its ongoing cost. A 15-year-old split system or wall-mounted air conditioner is twice as expensive to run as the best-performing latest model.

If your air conditioner is on the older side, it will be more efficient and do its job better if you clean the filter and ensure any outside motor is well shaded.

Think about other appliances that might be working hard in the heat or add to indoor temperatures. Your fridge, for instance, will be more energy-efficient if it has sufficient space around it and your dishwasher is best switched on at night as they generate lots of heat.

Even the light bulbs you use could make a difference to your summer energy bills. Replacing halogen downlights with LEDs can help keep the temperature down as well as your energy bills.

This is a great time of year to eat salads or cook on a barbecue outside rather than cooking meals on the stove or oven and raising temperatures indoors.

Outside, check if there’s anything you can do to provide more shade to your home.

A well-shaded home can block 90 per cent of the sun’s heat in summer.

So think blinds, shutters, curtains and awnings or plant deciduous trees near windows and glass doors. They’ll protect the house from the sun in summer and let the rays shine through in winter.