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Quick tips

  • Draught proof your home by sealing any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed in summer to keep the heat out.
  • Open blinds and curtains in winter, allowing the sun to warm up your home and close them at night to keep the heat in.
  • Limit using the oven in summer to avoid heating up your home, BBQ’s are great.
  • A three quarters full fridge works most efficiently, use water bottles or ice containers to fill empty spaces and try not to keep your fridge or freezer too cold.
  • Keep air conditioner filters clean and fridge condenser coils free from dust as this forces your systems to work a lot harder.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate the air, in summer change the fan’s position to ‘down’ so that it blows downwards and the air causes a breeze. In winter change to the 'up' position this movement will push up the air and pull the warm trapped air down the sides of the room improving heat distribution.
  • Shade windows in summer with adjustable awnings.
  • When using a dishwasher, only use when full and on the economy setting.
  • Use cold water to do your laundry and hangout to dry in the sun.

 

Draft Proof:

It is important to make sure that your windows and doors are sealed properly as this can be one of the cheapest ways to keep your home warm and comfortable.

  • Brush-strip seals and door-snakes to seal bottoms of your doors.
  • Foam weather stripping to block any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Block unused chimney.

 

Curtains and Blinds:

Curtains and blinds can make a surprising difference in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature .

  • In winter open curtains during the day to allow the sun to warm up the room, in the evening draw curtains to keep the warmth inside rather than escaping through the windows.
  • In summer use adjustable awnings to shade windows and close curtains to keep the sun out, this will help keep the room cool.
  • Blinds that attach to the wall and trap air, floor to ceiling curtains and fitted curtain boxes/pellets above curtains are also important in in reducing heat loss.

 

Windows:

  • Draft proof by seal the gaps around windows and doors.
  • Double glazed windows are not just for cold climates - it's very useful for air-conditioned homes to keep cool air in plus they also reduce outside noise, this can however be expensive to retrofit.
  • Secondary glazing products that have a thin plastic coating which you can put over windows yourself at a low cost is another option to increase energy efficiency.
  • In winter open the curtains during the day to allow the sun to warm up the room, and then draw the curtains in the evening to keep the warmth inside rather than escaping through the windows.
  • In summer use adjustable awnings to shade windows and close curtains to keep the sun out. this will help keep the room cool.
  • Blinds that attach to the wall and trap air, floor to ceiling curtains and fitted curtain boxes/pellets above curtains are also important in in reducing heat loss.
  • Cross ventilation is important, so in summer open windows late in the evenings to purge heat from the day.

Air-Conditioners:

If you use your air-conditioner wisely you can reduce your power bill.

  • Only use it on very hot days, have it zoned so that you can turn it off in rooms that are not in use.
  • Close doors to rooms that don't need heating or cooling.
  • Keep your air-conditioning system working efficiently by changing the filters regularly and keeping the vents clean. A dirty filter forces your system to work a lot harder therefore using more energy.
  • Set the thermostat in summer to around 23-26°C and in winter between 18 °C and 20 °C, as every 1°C higher could increase your energy usage.
  • Make sure window and doors are sealed properly with brush-strip seals and door-snakes to seal bottoms of doors, foam weather stripping to block any gaps around windows and doors and block unused chimneys.
  • The right-sized equipment to meet your family’s needs is important, big is not always better and  an oversized air conditioner will waste energy.
  • Never place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat as it will sense heat from these appliances, and therefore register that the room is warmer than what it is and cause your air-conditioner to run longer.
  • Set your air-conditioning fan to 'auto' rather than 'on' as this can reduce your energy usage.
  • Don’t let furniture or curtains block your vents.
  • Shade the outside of your air-conditioning unit (without blocking airflow) with trees or shrubs as a shaded unit uses less electricity than one in full sun.

 

Fans:

Fans are much cheaper (about five cents an hour) to run than air conditioners and have less environmental impact.

  • In winter change your ceiling fan's position to 'up' and run the fan on 'low', this movement will push up the air and pull the warm trapped air down the sides of the room improving heat distribution.
  • In summer change the ceiling fan’s position to ‘down’ so that it blows downwards and the air causes a breeze.
  • Ceiling fans in themselves do not heat or cool a room, but the air movement or circulation they effect by the correct blade rotation, can greatly improve the comfort of your living space.

 

Lighting:

  • Install energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Switch lights off when you leave the room.
  • Cleaning light globes, fittings and lampshades as dusty or dirty lights can dim lighting.
  • Painting interiors a lighter colour will reflect light better reducing the need for additional lighting.
  • Never use heat-lamps in bathrooms, they use a lot of energy to run.

 

Washing Machines and Clothes Dryers

  • Wash your clothes in cold water.
  • Make sure taps are turned off and repair any leaking taps.
  • Limit the use of your clothes dryer and try use clotheslines wherever possible.
  • To improve drying efficiency, if possible have your dryer vented to outside to release moist air or keep windows or doors open to improve ventilation when your dryer is on.
  • Using your dryer for consecutive loads means you maximise the built-up heat inside.
  • Don’t over-dry clothes.
  • Always clean the lint filter before every use.
  • To avoid adding heat and humidity to your home in summer, use your dryer early morning or late evening.