Three ways to cut down on the costs of powering your home

When we find the property of our dreams (or just the one that we afford!), we often just base our decisions on the macro financials. Can I afford this house? Yes! Then we search for the best mortgage deal we can get, and if it's approved, we go for it and hope that interest rates don't rise too much (they will!)

However, if there was a way to cut down on the dreaded mortgage repayments, wouldn't you take it? But, really, what we are talking about are bills, aka money. And so, by saving on the costs of powering your home, you could be saving big. With so many Australians spending more and more time working from home or simply locked down, we are using more energy than ever before.

So where can the best savings be made and how can we do it? Read on.

Solar Panels! 
You probably have seen those incessant adverts for solar energy, but the truth is that in this lucky sun-soaked country of ours, this really is the primary way to save big. Whilst solar systems can be pricey, they really can slash the cost of your quarterly energy bill. Not only have they come down in price over the years, but still many generous government incentives in place that subsidise the costs of installing solar.  Better still,  some companies will let you pay off the solar installation with the savings you make. Ultimately, this means that you could have a system installed without laying out money upfront.

In Europe, double and even triple glazing is the norm. Insulating your home is a great way to reduce the costs of gas and electric heaters during the colder months. Whilst you are at it, check to see that your loft is insulated and that doorways and windows are not letting any drafts in. Anywhere where this is a draft, this is heat escaping. The same is true in hot weather. If you are running the air conditioning unit, any draft essentially lets hot air in, which means more work for your air conditioning unit, and a higher electricity bill.

Devices, Standby Mode and Energy Vampires
With more and more us at home, and more devices charging, there are more demands on the power supply than ever before. Even when they are not in use, plugged in devices use power. For example, many people will charge their phones overnight. Yet once the phone is fully charged, the charger keeps drawing energy and adding to the bill. Also, leaving battery-powered devices plugged in reduces the longevity of the battery. The solution is to charge your phone before bed and then leave it unplugged overnight, or better yet, just turn it off!

Standby: TV’s phones, laptops you name it, everything has a standby mode. Standby mode was developed so that we can turn things on instantly. They are the lazy man's friend. For this tiny convenience, we pay hundreds more in our energy bills over the years. Turn them off at the wall when you are not using them.

Insulate or Cool Yourself the Old-School Way!
As is the nature of human beings, we have a tendency to change the environment around us to suit our needs. We get hot, we hit the aircon. We feel cold, we put on an electric heater. However, sometimes we just operate on autopilot. A simple habit like opening all the windows on breezy days, or simply wearing a jumper on cooler days, means that you can give the energy guzzlers, the bank balance, and the planet, a well-deserved break.

Written by Ben Saravia,  

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