Compare your energy retailer against our select panel of retailers to see if you can get a more competitive offer for your household's needs. Solar energy can reduce your carbon footprint and slim down your next power bill.
A simple way to reduce energy use is by replacing any remaining incandescent bulbs with efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL). When worn out, old appliances can be replaced with those that have energy saving features. Look out for an easy-to-recognise Energy Rating label when choosing between appliances - the more stars, the more efficient it is.
You can reduce the energy used by lights by simply turning them off when leaving a room, and by switching on lights appropriate to the level of light your activity needs. For example, watching television does not require every light in the room to be on. A fridge can be used more efficiently by keeping door seals clean and repaired if broken.
Dry your laundry on a clothesline on good weather days rather than putting them in the tumble dryer. If you do have to use the clothes dryer, clean the lint screen first to increase efficiency. Boil the kettle with only as much water as you need, and only use heating and air conditioners when necessary.
Electric hot water can account for a third of your total power use in a year. If you're on a single (peak) rate tariff, try switching to an off-peak. You could also look to decrease your thermostat settings - even decreasing the temperature by 5 degrees could help reduce your overall electricity consumption. Washing your clothes with cold water and taking shorter showers can also save you money as a smaller volume of water needs to be heated.
Consider switching to natural gas or solar powered heating systems to heat up water or your entire home. Natural gas is generally cheaper to run and produces lower carbon emissions than coal - the major source of electricity in Australia. The option to switch to natural gas depends on whether it is available in your area and can be connected to your home.
As an alternative to gas- or coal-powered electricity, solar energy is converted from sunlight through solar panels mounted on your roof. And while installation of solar panels can be a big upfront cost, solar energy is a clean and efficient source of energy that can save you money in the long run. Solar hot water has evolved since its introduction and the newly developed solar hydronics systems can even convert heated water into gentle, radiant heat to be circulated around the house.
Last but not least, innocent yet expensive or wasteful habits can be easily corrected. Standby mode on the TV, DVD player, stereo and computer still uses energy even when you are not using them, so turn these appliances off at the wall when not in use. Over a year, appliances being left plugged in can add up to 10% of your power bill: an easy way to save money is by switching appliances off at the wall. Only run the dishwasher when full and use an economy setting when possible.
If you're heating a room or space, use a heater that is an appropriate size for the area and place it away from windows where heat can be lost; it is wasteful and expensive to heat unoccupied rooms. You can make the most out of the sun's natural warmth by opening blinds and curtains during the day, although they should be kept closed if you've got your heater switched on or in the evenings.