Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t mean you have to become a greenie. There are many reasons for doing it. Today I am going to talk about why we did it and what we did.
Why we wanted to change and make our home more energy efficient
There were a couple of reasons to do it. One the cost and the second the environment.
This is a big motivator. I don’t know about where you are, but here in Melbourne Australia electricity is getting so expensive. It makes me wonder how people on low incomes can afford to pay it. Of course, it was privatised and while they say they have some control over the prices, I do wonder. I’m referring to the government.
When they first privatised it the state government at the time said it would create competition and keep prices down. That was crap, it seems to be that all competition did was to see who could get away with charging the most.
So with the price of power being expensive, it meant that if we could stop using so much then it would be good for our bank account.
I don’t know what you believe with the environment, man-made or not, we have to do something about it. Yeah, I believe we are the reason for it.
For us, that means trying to reduce how much fossil fuel we use in our lives. In the State of Victoria, nearly all our power comes from coal-fired power plants. Really, ask our Federal government, you can’t have enough coal-fired power plants.
So the less electricity we use from the grid, then that is good for the environment. It means we aren’t contributing as much to greenhouse gases.
What we did to help
I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t cost us a lot of money, it has. However, in the long run, it should also save us a lot too. Hopefully, the savings will be greater than the cost in the first place.
There are a lot of things you can do. We have done some, we may do more, but at this stage, we are happy with what we have done.
In the past our home was not very energy efficient
I found an electricity bill from about 8 years ago a while back and for three months it cost us over $800 for power. That is a huge amount. Admittedly it was during April, so at a time we were still getting a lot of hot weather. We would have been using the air conditioner a lot. The old one we had was expensive to run.
Now we pay less than that for the whole year. I will go into how and what we have done.
It is hard to believe but turning off your computers really does save money. We used to leave ours on all the time, but we stopped and we noticed a change.
Heating and cooling
Both of these can be very expensive. We had a refrigerated air conditioner for the whole house. In Melbourne Evaporative cooling is very popular, but it was never an option for us because we have a flat roof house.
For heating, we had a gas central heating system. At the time when we installed, it was economical. Gas is not the case anymore and it is a very expensive way to get heating for your house. For three months it used to cost over $200. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you add electricity to it as well, than we were pay hundreds of dollars every 3 months.
The air conditioner
The air conditioner was very expensive to run. It also didn’t do a great job and when we had very hot days it wouldn’t cool the house down that much. It was annoying. We paid about $5000 for the unit and we were still melting on hot days.
Then back in, I don’t know when we had the heatwave, we had four straight days over 40 degrees Celsius (104f). The air conditioner stopped working after two days. The fan worked, but we were no longer getting any cool air. Just what you need.
We had decided that we would install a split system in our main room, or lounge room. They were more energy efficient and we could cool or heat just that area rather than the whole house.
We did get the main air conditioner fixed, but then the following summer we had another four days of hot weather and it did the same thing after two. We never got it fixed again.
They have bred her in our home. We now have them in each bedroom, and this summer I think we will be putting one in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in there and it gets hot.
They are the cheapest way to cool and heat your home. I know people say the units on the wall are ugly, but I would much rather have them than pay all my money to an electricity company.
They are great and on really hot days you have to turn them off because you are freezing. I love that.
Lighting our home
When we first came to this house one of the things that we always found frustrating was how many light globes we went through. Every week we would be changing at least one. Every time we went to the supermarket we had to buy more.
When they brought in those long-life ones we thought, great. They didn’t work either. They were meant to last for a very long time, but ours would need to be replaced after about 4 months.
In the end, we decided to get all our lights rewired. We changed them to LED downlights throughout the whole house.
They have been great and we did notice a decrease in our power bill after getting them. Unfortunately, the guy who installed them used very cheap LED globes and it wasn’t long before we were replacing them. We didn’t know what globes to buy to replace them and sort of repeated what he had done.
We ended up buying good ones and so far they have nearly all been working for over two years. Win.
This is perhaps one of the biggest and most expensive, changes we have made. I am not going to go into much here because I think it deserves a post on its own.
We have a big system on top of our house and that has cut our electricity bills down so much.
This is another way to make changes too. We haven’t done a lot, but we have changed how we use many things.
One of the biggest changes was the clothes dryer. We don’t have a clothesline, and hanging clothes outside is good if you are organised. I never really was. So when a tree fell on ours, we never replaced it.
We used a normal dryer, but they were also energy eaters. When the one we had stopped working we looked into something that would be more energy-efficient. We ended up buying a heat pump dryer. They are so good. It takes a long time to dry clothes, but they use very little energy. It is hard to tell it is even on.
It wasn’t cheap, but over time it will pay for itself with the energy we don’t have to use with it.
A few ways to help make your home energy efficient
There are a few ways that we have made changes. Perhaps in the future I can do another one on different things you can do that we have considered. The solar one will be a big post too.
Are you looking for ways to cut your electricity bill?