There’s one thing that power companies like, and that’s profiting from heat fuelled higher energy costs, but truth be told, a little bit of female hormone also helps the bottom line.
Air conditioners across the country are getting a workout this Summer as temperates test record highs.
That means energy bills are going to be bigger than usual, but things could be even more costly if you’ve got a bun in the over or suffering hot flushes.
For my part, I’m blaming what’s sure to be a $600-plus quarterly electricity bill on more than heat, but pregnancy, my aunty is blaming menopause and my husband has sympathy exposure.
Either way, like it or not, an extra half a degree or more to your own personal thermostat, can add about 10 per cent to the cost of your running your air conditioner this Summer, according to consumer group CHOICE.
The harder your air conditioner works, the higher the running costs. So if you are dropping the temperature to its lowest point, you can expect this to add to your bill more so than if the aircon wasn’t having to work as hard.
Severe to extreme heatwave conditions are forecast to continue for eastern Australia for several days, with widespread temperatures in the low to mid-40s, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Last year power companies were given the all clear by regulators to increase their energy prices by as much as 10 per cent in some locations.
What’s more those who are desperate for cooling, me included, have been known to fall into the trap of leaving windows open while the air condition system works overtime.
It’s this hidden electricity leakage that experts say are costing households thousands of dollars a year.
So if you are battling to keep on top of your own thermostat this Summer, here’s some tips mostly inspired by consumer group CHOICE that might just help keep your power bills under control.
Shower and swim
Sometimes there’s no better remedy for the heat than having a quick cool shower or dunk in the sea or pool. If you’ve got access to this, go for it. And remember to wet your hair, it makes all the difference, at least until it dries!
Shade, seal and insulate
In Australia, the areas of the home that are most likely to attract the most sun are the north and west facing areas of the home.
So what you want to do is block out this heat and that means making use of blinds, curtains or outside shutters to reduce the light and heat that’s coming in.
Even adding removable tint to your windows will also help.
Effective sealing around doors and windows can make a big difference but so too can insulation in the roof space.
Use your environment wisely
Opening up the home once the evening breezes comes in. But we warned, unless you actually have a cool breeze coming in, chances are that you are only going to let the cool air escape and the hot air back in. So test first.
Close the doors
Most homes have multiple living and sleeping quarters. But by closing off unoccupied rooms, you can cool a room quicker. And consider only cooling your bedrooms before using them.
Take care of air conditioners
Make sure you regularly clean the filter of your air conditioner so it runs smoothly and doesn’t labour harder than needed.
It’s also a good idea to check with your energy provider what the peak and off-peak periods for your energy usage. Then try to work with, not against those times.
Keep your ceiling fans on
The breeze created through the use of ceiling fans can go a long way to making everyone in the home feel cooler, even though the temperature of the room may not be reduced. Ceiling fans cost a few cents a day to run and are a lot cheaper than air conditioning units to buy and run.
Appliances such as televisions, computers and even dishwashers can be big heat generators, so try to minimise your usage of them during really hot days, and consider only doing so at night when electricity costs are less.