Energy is a hot topic, and it’s no wonder when the average Queensland family can pay around $1,600 a year for electricity.    

 

In a typical household of 4 or 5 people consisting of mum, dad and 2 or 3 kids, electricity usage can vary dramatically depending on property size and how many, and how often, certain appliances are used, eg air-conditioners and clothes dryers, and whether the property has a swimming pool. 

 

Between 2008 and 2018, electricity prices sky-rocketed 117 percent, more than four times the average price increase across any other sector.  Since then prices have fluctuated but have generally been a bit more stable.   

 

When the Covid-19 pandemic caused people to work from home, the energy consumption rose between 15 to 20 percent which created higher bills again.  If there’s no solar connected to your property, this extra cost can be eating into any dollars you may have saved from travelling to and from the office. 

 

With most Queenslanders holding their breath when they see their power bill hit their Inbox, we thought we’d put together our top five creative ways to reduce that bill. 

 

#1  Flick the Switch 

Many appliances around the home are on ‘standby’ while you sleep (or aren’t using them), which means your meter keeps ticking all night long.  

 

Walk around your home with your kids (if they’re a responsible age of course) and make a list of all your non-required appliances that have ‘standby’ mode or are still ‘working’ through the night.  This could include your wifi, Google Home, televisions, sound systems, computers, home printers, microwave, and anything on constant charge, ie power tools and vacuums.   

 

Create a plan for each family member to take responsibility for flicking the switches of these appliances before bed-time, and flicking them back on in the morning.  You might need to devise a small reward for your kids but this exercise can be invaluable in teaching them how precious energy is. 

 

It may seem small, but turning off appliances at the switch every night can make a big impact on your electricity bill over time.  And, any electrician will tell you that anything plugged into the wall with the switch turned off can still leach trace amounts of energy, so if you want to go an extra step, get everyone to ‘unplug’ while they’re at it. 

 

#2  Torch Teaching 

Camping and using torches is always fun, even for ‘big kids’.  Teach the smaller members of your household how to use torches safely, eg by not shining them in each other’s eyes and where to point the light so they can see where they’re walking (for any midnight trips to the bathroom).   And then, don’t be surprised if the kids want some night vision goggles for Christmas – Dad might want some too! 

   

Reading stories to the kids at bed-time using just a torch could bring a whole new level of family bonding, just like camping can do, and is a free, fun, power-saving idea. 

 

#3 Go Glowy 

To save on outdoor lighting on paths and entry ways, try this!   Paint rocks and path edges with glow-in-the-dark paint.   This paint absorbs sunlight during the day to provide soft lighting through the night.   If you have bushes and trees hiding the rocks and paths from the sun, you may need to clear them or look for a different energy-saving option, eg energy efficient light bulbs.   There are heaps of affordable and high quality outdoor lights on the market which will ensure a reduction in your power bill. 

 

#4  Beat the Timer 

If you’ve got a teenager in the house, you know what a ‘long’ shower is.  Invest in a Shower Timer and challenge the kids, and yourself, to ‘beat the timer’.  There’s an array of timers you can buy, the cheaper options being the sand hourglass style or a kitchen/egg timer, to the more expensive timers that can stop the flow of hot water to your shower after a pre-set time between 2 to 20 minutes.  These clever gadgets can cost around $400 and are best installed by a professional.   

 

If long showers are a problem in your home, the cost could outweigh the benefits in next to no time, saving up to 20% on your power bill.  We suggest taming the teens by perhaps promising to use the savings toward a day-trip to one of the theme parks.  This might also encourage them to look at other ways they can help the family save – miracles do happen! 

 

#5  Don’t Heat It, Hang It! 

Appliances that ‘heat’  or ‘cool’ contribute to the largest portion of your power bill.  Your dryer is a big energy sucker and we often only use it as a time-saving convenience.   

 

If you’re really serious about reducing your power bill, look at investing in a good size clothes drying rack, especially if you don’t have access to an external clothes line.  Find a place for the rack inside your home, perhaps in the corner of the media room or spare bedroom, and take the time to hang your clothes.   In addition to a lesser chance of accidental shrinkages, you will notice a sizeable reduction on your next bill.  

 

We can all do things around the home to save electricity.  Getting creative and involving the kids can make it fun, and having rewards and incentives are a great way for everyone to get on board.  If you have some creative ideas to save energy, we’d love to hear from you… 

 

Resources:
canstarblue.com.au 

energex.com.au 

energymatters.com.au