Seven ways to save on your energy bill

Your energy bill is likely one of your biggest expenses after mortgage or rent and grocery bills. With energy costs on the rise, it’s a good time to take a look at your energy consumption, for the sake of your wallet and the planet! The good news is there's plenty you can do to lower your bills by changing how and when you use energy, and by shopping around for better deals so you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Heating and cooling are by far the greatest energy users in the home, making up around 40 per cent of your electricity bill. Other big energy users are washers, dryers and ovens. Electronic devices like laptops and TVs are relatively inexpensive to run, but it all adds up. Of course, there are times when you need to run the dryer, or heat or cool your home. So if you want to save money, read on.

1 - Check your fridge temperature
The colder your fridge is, the more energy it will use. Turn it up a few degrees – say from 2°C to a slightly higher temperature of 4°C. Every little bit helps when it comes to saving energy.

2 - Switch providers regularly
Once a year, call around and see if you can get a better deal on your energy deal. Compare your plan to other deals on the market by using a comparison website. Call your supplier and ask for a better rate – if they can’t offer one, it may be time to switch.

3 - Insulate your home, and yourself!
Heaters use up a huge amount of energy. Look at alternative ways to warm up, like heat packs, hot water bottles and big sweaters! Keep your feet toasty with socks or slippers. Insulate your home by placing rugs over floorboards or tiles, use heavy curtains and door snakes to keep draughts out and help keep your home warm and toasty.

Knitted jumper and slippersAlena Ozerova via Shutterstock

4 - Avoid peak times
Under some contracts, energy can cost you less if you use it outside the peak times, for example after 10pm up until 7am. For some households this can be an effective way to reduce energy bills. If this is the case for you, run your dishwasher or washing machine late at night before you go to bed.

5 - Don’t leave appliances on standby
Even if you’re not using an appliance, it can still consume energy if it is left plugged in on ‘standby’ mode. Switch off appliances at the wall socket when you’re not using them to save big.

Unplug appliancesyanik88 via Shutterstock

6 - Get smart with upgrades
If you need to upgrade a major appliance such as a fridge or washing machine, buying an energy-efficient one is often a worthwhile investment over the lifetime of your product. Similarly, by replacing an electric storage hot water system with a solar hot water system or a heat pump water heater, you could also make significant savings on your energy bill.

7 - Stay cool without breaking the bank
Conversely, if you’re trying to keep your home cool during the warmer months, close the curtains or blinds during the day to keep the heat out. Place a bowl of ice water in front of a fan and let the air in at night-time once the sun has dropped. Switch to light cotton sheets and create a cross breeze with open windows and fans.

Man opening house windowAndrey_Popov via Shutterstock