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If the costs of running your household are rising, it could be easier than you think to take action to help manage these costs.

Improving your energy efficiency could help to reduce your electricity use and manage your electricity costs - and making changes doesn’t need to take a lot of time or money. 

Here are some tips to help you find free or low-cost ways to help reduce your electricity costs.

Start with the basics of home energy efficiency

If you’ve been wondering what the quickest and easiest way to save money on your electricity bills is, start with your heating and cooling.

In winter, set your heating to 18 degrees and in summer, set your cooling to 24 degrees. These temperatures are very comfortable compared with the chilly or sweltering conditions outside and will help your system to run in the most efficient way.

Every extra degree warmer in winter, or cooler in summer means, your system is using more electricity, which is likely to increase your electricity costs.

Some free energy-saving measures just take a bit of planning

During winter, use a timer to turn the heating on half an hour before you get out of bed. Warming your home gradually is more likely to help you save electricity, rather than getting up in a cold house and cranking up the heating to warm your home quickly.

The same applies to your air conditioning in summer. Rather than arriving home to a hot house and blasting your air con, try to set your timer to start slowly cooling your home just before you get there.

Look for energy wastage to reduce electricity usage

A very simple way to reduce your energy wastage is to make sure you’re not heating or cooling rooms you don’t need. When your heating or cooling system is on, close your doors, including internal doors. This means you will only be heating or cooling the rooms you’re using, rather than your entire home.

When you’re trying to prevent energy wastage, it’s usually quite easy to turn off appliances at the wall when you’re not using them. For example, your microwave might sit unused for most of the day but unless you switch it off at the wall, it will still be using electricity to run the clock function.

Take a look at whether you could group your consoles, computers and monitors, TVs and other electronics on easily accessible power strips, if it’s safe to do this. By grouping them together, you might be able to switch them off all at once when you’re away from home or when the electronics are not in use.

Work as a team to help reduce your electricity use

If you live with others, call a household meeting and brainstorm together: How can you reduce your electricity use in your house? By getting ideas from everybody, you could be more likely to find solutions that work for everyone.

For example, if you or one of your housemates or family members tend to take longer than necessary showers, this could be the time to set some energy efficient goals together. Every minute of a hot shower is using not only water, but energy to heat that water. You could commit to taking shorter showers to use less hot water: a popular idea is choosing a four-minute song to play while you’re showering.

You could also find a low-cost shower head or water-efficient device to attach to your taps to help you reduce the flow of water, so you use less hot water each time.

Use free energy from the sun

If your rooftop has solar panels, you can make the most of your solar power by shifting when you use electricity to use more during the day. This way, you can use the electricity generated by the sun’s rays, rather than drawing from the grid once the sun has gone down.

If you don’t have solar power at home, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the sun’s free energy. For example, you could dry your clothes on the line or a clothing rack in the sun. You might even use coat hangers in a sunny window to dry your clothes for free, rather than using a dryer.

You could also open your blinds on sunny winter mornings to make the most of that free warmth the sun offers in your living areas or whichever rooms receive direct sunlight.

Ideas to help you invest in energy efficiency

If you’re looking to take your home energy efficiency even further, there are plenty of other ways you could consider to help save electricity. Some energy saving tips may have costs involved, but the upfront investment could help you to reduce your electricity use and save on your electricity costs over time.

For example, you could consider installing motion sensors for your outdoor lights. This could help you save electricity by only lighting your outdoor areas when needed. For example, if you were expecting visitors at night, rather than leaving the light on, a motion sensor would detect as your visitors approached and switch on ready for their arrival at your front door. There are several brands of motion sensor available at most hardware stores, and you may be able to install these safely yourself. Remember to always check the instructions, installation requirements and safety recommendations first.

Simple maintenance could help you save on your electricity costs

Check the seal on your oven door. Make sure it's clean and in good condition so your oven is not using more electricity than it needs.

While you’re in the kitchen, check your fridge door seals too.  To do this, place a piece of paper in between the seal and the door before closing it. If the paper slides out easily, the door seals may need replacing. New seals will cost money but will help prevent your fridge from leaking cold air, which means it uses more electricity and could be costing you more to run.

Get more energy saving ideas

As you look around your home and consider exactly how, when and where you use energy, you may find there are plenty of low-cost ways to help you reduce your electricity use and save on your electricity costs. For even more energy-saving ideas and calculators to help you run the figures, try our Energy Tool.