Households

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Quick wins

Here are 5 simple ways to save energy and money at home.

  1. Call your energy retailer and ask if you are on the best deal and whether they have any rebates or assistance. Their number is on your bill.
  2. Switch to save. Changing your energy retailer can be the simplest way to save money.
  3. See if there are any rebates or assistance you can access from governments across Australia on our rebates page. Your local council may also offer rebates and assistance, so check with them too.
  4. If you’re having difficulty paying your bills call your retailer and ask to go on a hardship plan. You could go onto a payment plan and protect yourself from disconnection, interest payments and late fees.
  5. Save money by reducing your energy use. There are lots of ways to save and you don’t have to buy new appliances to do this.

Ways to save

Heating and cooling (about 40% of home energy use)

  • Close off rooms not in use. Shut doors and vents to unused areas and only heat or cool the rooms you’re using.
  • Filling gaps to stop your warm or cool air from escaping is a cheap way to cut your energy bill by up to 25%. Use a draught stopper to prevent air leaking under doors. Apply weather seals to windows, skirting boards, skylights and cornices. If renting, check with your landlord or property manager before fitting any weather seals.
  • Improve window efficiency. Prevent heat loss or gain with well-fitted curtains and blinds to trap a layer of air next to the window. Open curtains in winter to let the sun in during the day and close them before it gets dark. Close curtains during the hottest part of the day in summer.
  • Catch the breeze. In summer make the most of natural airflow in the cooler parts of the day by opening windows to bring in the breeze and let the hot air out.
  • Use fans before air conditioning. Fans cost around 2 cents per hour to run (much less than air conditioners) and reduce the temperature by 2°C or 3°C. As fans circulate air they can also be used to improve the effectiveness of cooling systems.
  • Use fans to circulate hot air in winter. Using ceiling fans to push the air downwards in winter improves heating efficiency. Where this option exists, the fan or remote control should clearly indicate the winter setting to reverse airflow.
  • Control your climate. In winter, set your heating between 18°C and 20°C. In summer, set your cooling between 25°C and 27°C. For every degree you increase heating and cooling you increase energy use between 5% and 10%.

See the heating and cooling page for information about the types of appliances and systems available.

Hot water (about 25% of household energy use)

  • Get the temperature right. The recommended setting for thermostats is 60°C for storage hot water systems and no more than 50°C on instantaneous systems.
  • Give your hot water a holiday. If you're away for more than a week, turning off your storage hot water system saves money and energy. When turning it back on allow time for the water to become hot enough to kill any bacteria that may have grown. The water must remain above 60°C for at least 35 minutes before you can safely use it. It could take several hours to reach this temperature.
  • Install a water-efficient showerhead. A 4-star rated showerhead could save a family of 4 around $315 a year on water bills, there will also be savings on energy bills because less water will need to be heated.
  • Replacing a hot water system. If your system fails, replacing it with a suitable energy-efficient model can reduce energy use. Research the options in advance to avoid making a rushed decision.

See the hot water page for information about the types of water heaters available.

Appliances (about 30% of household energy use)

  • Compare and estimate running costs. Use the Energy Rating website to compare running costs of appliances.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances. The savings can add up over the life of the appliance to more than a higher purchase price.
  • Use appliances efficiently. Washing clothes with cold water can save up to 10 times more energy than a warm wash.
  • Reduce standby power. Many appliances use power when left on, even if not in use.

Note: Don't switch off fridges, freezers, security systems and medical equipment.

Lighting (between 8% and 15% of household energy use)

  • Use natural light when possible. Lighter coloured furnishings and reflective surfaces also reduce the need for artificial lighting.
  • Use lights efficiently. Use reading lamps rather than lighting a whole room. Switch lights off when you leave the room and consider sensors for outdoor lights.
  • Switch to energy-efficient lighting. LEDs use around 80% less energy than older and last longer too.

More information

Understanding your energy bills

How does your electricity use compare? Energy Made Easy

Tariff types Energy Made Easy

What's on your energy bill Energy Made Easy

Switching and billing

ACT Search for energy offers Energy Made Easy

NSW Search for energy offers Energy Made Easy

NT Choosing a power retailer PowerWater

Qld Search for energy offers Energy Made Easy

SA Search for energy offers Energy Made Easy

Tas Search for energy offers Energy Made Easy

Vic Victorian Energy Compare Government of Victoria

WA Household electricity pricing Government of Western Australia

Energy and Water Ombudsmen

ACT Energy & water Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal

NSW Energy & Water Ombudsman

NT About us Ombudsman NT

Qld Energy + Water Ombudsman Queensland

SA Energy & Water Ombudsman SA

Tas Energy Ombudsman Tasmania

Vic Energy and Water Ombudsman

WA Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia