avoid energy bill shock

avoid energy bill shock


At Altogether we are passionate about creating a brighter future for all and always thinking about how to better utilise power, water and data not only at a corporate level but at a household level. So as the heat turns up here in Australia, we’ve listed our top 10 tips to avoid a summer energy bill shock.

  1. Keep an eye on your electric hot water system

Did you know that for households with electric hot water systems, hot water is the largest component of electricity bills? It’s around 30% of your energy use and is the number one thing to look at when you want to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Here’s what you can do: 

  • have shorter hot showers,  
  • install a water efficient shower head,  
  • if you have solar hot water, check that it’s working properly,  
  • only turn on your hot water booster when needed (when you notice that your hot water temperature is starting to drop below acceptable), and 
  • save energy by asking an electrician to turn the temperature on your hot water thermostat down to 60 – 65 degrees.  
  1. Don’t blast the air con 

A key tip on a hot day: keep your space cool with air con throughout the day, rather than trying to “blast the air con!” and trying to rapidly cool a hot space (walls, furniture, etc) down. 

Don’t forget to close your windows and doors to keep the cool air in! Also, prevent drafts around doors and windows and insulate ceilings and subfloor spaces where practical.  

Once the outside temperature drops in the early evening, turn your fans on, air con off, and open your windows to allow ventilation flow throughout your home. If you use air conditioning, set your thermostat as high as you feel comfortable in summer (24 – 26 degrees Celsius). Each degree lower during the summer months increases energy use by around ten per cent. 

  1. Use your holiday to start making good habits

If you are going away, turn your appliances off at the wall before you leave and eliminate the cost of standby power.  Cutting out standby power use will not only save on your bill but it will reduce your impact on climate change at the same time. 

  1. Replace air con with fans where possible

Ceiling fans cost about five cents an hour to run. Much less than an air conditioner. Even if you do use air-conditioning, you can limit its use (and impact on your electricity bill) by using them concurrently and switching to ceiling fans once your room has cooled down.  

  1. Don’t underestimate good old-fashioned shade

A key consideration during the summer months is the afternoon westerly sun heat blast. Letting that sun and heat into your home through open windows will heat up your inside spaces very quickly. Close your windows and blinds early to be prepared.

To help keep temperatures inside down you may consider:

  • Planting leafy deciduous trees on the westerly side to provide shade in summer and allow the sun in, in winter.  
  • Installing an outside block out blind or awning to shade westerly facing windows that you can use during summer. 

Once the outdoor temperature has dropped in the early evening, open your blinds, windows, and doors to allow for the southerly breeze. Fly screens will be your saviour to keep the mozzies out.

  1. Consider peak times when using appliances

Use the timer on your washing machine and dishwasher so the appliances run during off peak times.  Households with solar should try to run everything they possibly can during daylight hours to minimise drawing energy from the grid. 

  1. Encourage and enjoy the breeze

Consider the air ventilation through your house. Can you open front and back windows during the cooler parts of the day and in the evening, to allow fresh air to flow through and cool your home? 

  1. Pardon the pun but don’t let the pool pump electricity

Your pool pump can be a considerable drain on your home energy use. Reduce its impact by considering upgrading to a variable speed drive pump. This newer technology will pay for itself. Set on low speed, your energy use is greatly reduced. High speed setting is only needed if vacuuming the pool (to pick up leaves etc).  

Households with solar should run their pool pump while the solar system is generating energy during the day.  If you don’t have solar, try running your pool pump in off peak times to reduce your energy costs.  

  1. Make a lighting switch

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs) and fluorescent tubes are the most common energy efficient lights. These lights use significantly less energy than traditional globes, produce less heat into a room, and have a longer life.

Replacing traditional incandescent globes or halogen downlights with more energy efficient lighting can substantially reduce running costs over the life of the globe.

  1. The weekend job that you’ll be amazed by

On a hot summer day, an uninsulated ceiling can be responsible for as much as 35% of your home’s heat gain. And in winter, the same uninsulated ceiling will let out up to 35% of your warm inside air. Pick up some ceiling insulation batts from a local stockist, or order them online, and find out how easy it is to install on the weekend. You’ll be amazed at the added comfort when the winter chills hit, or when the summer sun is beating down on your house