As a property owner, it is quite common to spend around $300-$400 on utility bills every month.
Sometimes, it can even go as high as $500!
This can be a hard pill to swallow.
Fortunately, you can reduce your utility bills by doing a few renovations and we have gathered some that are worth trying.
8 Ways to Save on Your Water and Electric Bill
1. Look at your Hot Water System
If you own rental properties, then you clearly have a real estate investment to take care of.
That means you have to be willing to do renovations that would help you reduce the utility bills to keep your tenants happy and content.
Heating hot water is one of the biggest power users in your home, and these days there are several alternatives.
A Solar Hot Water, or a Heat Pump, are both alternatives that can save between 60% and 90% of water heating costs.
2. Upgrade the Clothes Washer
With an energy-saving washer, it is possible to save water that could fill up three backyard swimming pools!
That means you’ll be able to save $135 per year, especially if you’re still using a washer that’s over 10 years old.
3. Weather-stripping Should Be Applied
Contrary to popular belief, weather-stripping is not that difficult to install, but the effects it could have are definitely life changing.
For instance, without weather-stripping, you can feel the cold wind coming through your doors, but once it has been installed, it will be able to keep the rain and air from coming in and out of the room.
It’s also an inexpensive project that wouldn’t take much of your time to install.
Even those without any home improvement skills are capable of putting these on.
4. Making Use Of A Smart Meters
More and more homes now have a smart meter, but are you taking full advantage of it?
Most electricity providers allow you to check your power use on an hourly basis using a phone app.
However, you ought to know that smart metering programs do vary, but the basic idea is the same.
We use that to ensure that we are minimising power usage when the tariffs are high and maximise it when power is either low cost, or free (If you have solar power).
5. Install Low Flow Fixtures
In Australia most properties now have low flow showerheads.
Don’t forget that other fittings can also be converted to low flow.
A small investment like this would allow you to save as much as 60% on your water bills.
6. Install Timers
Timers ensure that your water heater is turned off at night or when it is not in use.
If you do this, you will never forget to turn off the heater during peak hours.
7. Replace Your Existing Lights with LEDs
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) used to be one of the most effective ways to save money.
Many people are quick to complain about how high their energy bills are, but they fail to take any real action to minimise the expenses.
Inside the home, lighting, electrical appliances, hot water, heating and cooling dominate energy consumption within their property.
Improving consumption habits will make a difference, however leveraging energy efficient technology will allow people to make greater energy savings with very little effort.
Here are a few ways improvements can be made to the home.
A roof that is a lighter colour will reflect more light and heat, which keeps the home cooler.
According to Steve King, Senior lecturer of architecture at the University of New South Wales, this can potentially cut down air conditioning usage and costs by 1/3rd.
Glass on windows and doors.
Many homes tend to have the wrong kind of glazing for the climate in their area.
For example, homes in warm climates that have large double glazed windows may find that their property gains too much heat, thus forcing people to use air cooling systems more.
Alternatively, properties located in areas with a cooler climate tend may be losing considerable heat due to single glazing.
Upgrade to energy efficient lighting.
People can reduce their lighting energy consumption by fitting their property with LED light bulbs.
LED technology is great because it allows people to continue with their lifestyle, while drawing less energy to illuminate an area.
The bulbs are more expensive than incandescent, or fluorecent fittings, but they last much longer and provide better lighting.
Savewise, who are specialists in residential and commercial LED lights can help secure government subsidies for those people that are interested in upgrading their existing property to use energy efficient lighting.
Air conditioners are an essential appliance that will make a property feel more comfortable.
It’s important to invest in an air conditioner that is energy efficient because it will consume less energy and incur a lower running cost.
People can provide additional insulation to their property to keep the heat from escaping.
Additionally, investing in heating through reverse cycle inverter air conditioning can be a cost efficient way to increase your room temperature without incurring a high energy consumption cost.
Refrigerators run 24h a day in the home and tend to consume a lot of energy.
To minimise the energy consumption costs, look out for appliances that carry the energy star logo and any energy guides that will advise you on the running costs of the fridge.
Another tip when purchasing energy efficient refrigerators is that a top mount refrigerator uses 15% less energy than a side by side refrigerator.
Investing in an eco-efficient dishwasher will help to save water and electricity.
Look out for dishwashers that have a high energy star rating and also keep in mind that you should run the dishwasher overnight to take advantage of the ‘off peak energy tariffs’, or if you have solar panels when the sun is shining.
These are some simple ways to improve the eco-friendliness of your property and it should reduce the overall energy consumption, which will save you money over the long run.
Review the appliances that are being used in your property and see where you can make an upgrade today!
You may be out shopping for a new fridge to go in the new house
You may just want to check your existing fridge fits in the alcove in your new kitchen.
Whichever it is . . . . . Don’t forget to leave room around the fridge!
Both refrigerators and freezers work by extracting the heat from inside to a radiator coil on the rear of the unit.
If the air flowing past the coils is restricted the efficiency of the refrigerator will drop, and your power bills will go up.
I would recommend a space at least 25mm either side of the cabinet and 40-50mm behind and above the top of the unit.
Don’t then use these spaces to store trays, chopping boards, etc otherwise you are going to block that ventilation path.
I have heard of people installing an external vent behind a fridge mounted on an external wall. . . It seems like a good idea if you remember to shut the vent on hot days. (remember on a 30 + degree day the incoming air will be hotter than the air in the room)
To get drawers out of a Fridge or Freezer you normally have to open the door by much more than 90 degrees. (I have just checked mine and its about 135 degrees)
This means you may need more than the 25mm suggested above on the hinge side unless the front of the fridge projects forward of the alcove.
Built in Fridges
I’m not a big fan of built in fridges, but if you like them make sure that ventilation and door opening are fully considered before you buy.