Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
It's getting to that time of year when the days are getting shorter, nights are becoming colder and the heater becomes your new best friend once again.
With our new 'smart meter' and our ageing gas ducted heating system and the governments green tax adding substantial amounts to our bills we need to look at the easiest and best ways to reduce or at least level our bills.
My biggest dislike is gas and energy retailers sending out sales people at least twice a week to knock on my door. I always feel sorry for the sales people having to cop abuse from other households, so I have a bad habit of changing retailers often. The only benefit in that though is that the companies are always trying to under cut each other and you end up with a great deal.
However, and it's a big however, because they can be sneaky and after your first bill at a great rate they will often send out a notice of a rates increase that slowly puts it up past the level you were paying, so keep an eye on it and keep comparing energy companies.
There are basic things you can do to reduce your household energy consumption, such as; *Making sure all doors and windows are sealed properly, if there's even a small gap heat escapes and costs you to keep the spiders warm.
*I can't afford double glazed windows or window films but if you can it will reduce the bills greatly. Any thick curtains will have a similar affect for less outlay costs.
*Cover up evaporative cooling ducts as these lead straight to the roof top unit. I have felt the wind blowing through these on windy days.
* Okay, you're going to roll your eyes at these but really it usually comes to the simple things. We set our heater thermometer at 18 degrees celcius, reducing the temperature saves an enormous amount. You still need to wear a jumper and it doesn't feel toasty warm, but it's comfortable. We also seal off any rooms that don't need to be heated and close the vents in those rooms.
* Invest in a good quality doona, you will be amazed at the difference.
*I was going to say short showers, I know they are supposed to be, but I love a long hot shower, who doesn't?
*Decide if you really need so many appliances on or on standby, even appliances on standby drain power. If you're buying new appliances check the energy rating.
* This is going to sound very old school but we only have one TV (some people make comments about this with 4 children) however do you really need one on in every room?
*Air dry clothes instead of using a tumble drier, they use a huge amount of power. I know this can be difficult in the winter, so what we do is put our clothes on racks and put it near the ducted heating vent.
Spend time comparing energy companies, do it yourself, don't use energy comparison websites. I have in the past and the energy company that was recommended did have the best price for the first two months and then kept increasing each month until it was a rip off, and although they offered a guarantee that if the rates went up you could get out of the 2 year contract with no leaving fee. They cover themselves very well and you end up with a $50 termination fee.
Also make sure you compare the daily connection rate as it varies greatly as do the discounts, with some companies offering 20% if you pay on time.
I do NOT have air-con OR heating! I am on disability pension. In Winter, I go to bed in 2 socks, t-shirt, sweater and hoodie-jacket, long pants & gloves. Luckily I like reading! But staying in bed ALL DAY and NIGHT is NO WAY TO LIVE!
In Summer, I lput a big towel onver the sheets & wrap another towel around my pillow so I sweat into those not thru to the mattress.
My kitchen gets to 37-38C! Tinned goods have SPLIT their seams in the cupboard.
This is Australia for me!!