11 tricks that save you water, energy, and heating

From the kitchen to the garden, there are little ways you can save on your utilities. These are some simple ways to conserve water and power all around your home.

11 tricks that save you water, energy, and heating

1. Dishwashers

  • Use a dishwasher's rinse-and-hold cycle only when dishes must be held overnight and odours may result.
  • Use the lightest washing cycle for dishes that aren't very dirty. It uses less hot water and energy.
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine only if there's a full load. These are some of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home.

2. Baths

Don't drain bathwater in winter; wait until it's cooled. You've paid to heat the water, so it might as well heat your house for as long as possible.

3. Taps and water

  • A tap losing one drop of water a second will waste 15 litres a day — neither energy efficient nor ecologically sound.
  • When you have to run water to get it hot, use a plastic jug to catch the water instead of letting it go down the drain. Use it for your houseplants or humidifier.
  • Put a jug of fresh water in the fridge so you don't have to run the tap for a long time to get a cold drink.
  • Check your cisterns every three months. Faulty ball or float valves in toilets and header tanks waste water.

4. Heat and light

Conserving heat and light is where you can make some big savings — at least 15% on your yearly fuel bill.

5. Washing the car

Save water when cleaning your car by using a bucket of soapy water and a sponge rather than a garden hose. Or use the hose briefly just to rinse off the soap.

6. Food preparation

When washing up or preparing vegetables in the sink, don't let the tap run. Use a bowl instead

7. Showers

A quick shower uses 20% of the water a bath does, but watch out — power showers use about the same amount of hot water as a bath.

8. Heating

Turn down your thermostat: just one degree lower cuts heating bills by about 3%.

9. Light at night

Use a night light: if you have small children who like the light on at night, use this money-saving option.

10. Chimney drafts

Block chimneys: if you're not using your fireplace, block the chimney with newspaper to prevent heat loss.

11. Electrical and other appliances

  • Close your fridge door quickly to stop cold air from escaping.
  • Never put hot food straight into the fridge.
  • TVs, DVD players, sound systems and especially computers all use electricity on standby. Get in the habit of switching them off.
  • In an average 3-bedroom, semi-detached house, you'll save $25 to $30 a year by setting your heating lower half an hour earlier.
  • Unplug electronics when not in use as many use some electricity if they're still connected, even when switched off.
  • Don't use the microwave as a clock — a battery-powered clock uses less power and the batteries last over two years.
  • Reduce your hot water temperature. Turn it down to 60°C (140°F) and save about $3 per month.
  • Ask your family to turn off lights, televisions, and other electrical items when they leave a room.
  • Close your curtains to stop heat from escaping, especially if you don't have double-glazed windows.

By staying vigilant with your heating and water usage, you can save money and run your home more efficiently. It's good for the environment and leaves your wallet a little thicker.

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