Keeping cool over summer is important, but you also need to know how to not spend a fortune on your power bill, which can skyrocket through the warmer months.
Here are some ideas for keeping cool that won’t cost the earth.
Use fans, not air conditioners
If you’re feeling hot and bothered, turn on a fan. “A ceiling or pedestal fan only costs about 1.8 cents per hour to run,” says Graeme Ambrose, director of . “Newer ceiling fans often switch between summer mode, which is blowing air directly down on you, and winter mode, which is reversing direction to pull the air upwards.” This is far more energy efficient than an air conditioner. “Some of the big central air conditioners can cost between $3 and $4.80 per hour to run,” explains Graeme. “Although some of the newer split systems are very efficient, and could cost as little as 16 cents per hour.”
Stop the heat coming in your windows
Up to 87 per cent of your home’s heat comes in through your windows and skylights, making these the best places to block the heat. “The best way to stop heat coming into your house is with external blinds, which you can roll up in winter, or deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the cooler months,” says Graeme. “They both serve the same purpose: stopping radiant heat from hitting the window.”
Avoid your cooking appliances
Summer isn’t the best time to cook in the oven. “Eat salads and cold foods rather than firing up the oven,” says Graeme. “If you have to cook, use the barbecue so the cooking heat stays outside the house.” While we’re talking about appliances, consider how much electricity you’re using on extra fridges. “People often have an old, inefficient fridge in the garage working its guts out trying to keep six beers or two bottles of wine cold,” adds Graeme, “and this can cost in excess of $3 per day.”
Building or renovating?
If you’re building a new home, or renovating your existing home, there are lots of clever ways to make your home energy efficient. Try some of these:
- Install double-glazed windows with insulated frames, which will
reduce 80 per cent of the heat coming in through your old windows.
- Electrical appliances account for 30 per cent of your home’s power usage — energy efficient ones make a big difference.
- Insulation that meets modern Australian standards will keep your home cooler in summer, stopping 80 per cent of the nice, cool air from escaping your home.
Find a way to monitor your power usage
A new device, , has a wireless sensor that keeps track of every appliance in your home. It can remind you that your fridge door is open (and that it’s costing an additional 87 cents for every hour it’s not sealed). It sounds like a smart way to keep this summer’s electricity cost as low as possible.