Save energy in your rental property
When you move into a rental property, you might be under the impression that there is little you can do to increase your new home’s energy efficiency without getting into a lengthy discussion with your landlord.
Don’t fall into that trap!
While being a renter might rule out some of the big-ticket upgrades, there’s still plenty you can do. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can save energy in your rental home, which can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings back in your pocket each year.
- Switch to LED lights
- Use temporary blackout curtains
- Keep your aircon clean
- Invest in draught stoppers and window seals
- Set up a clothes horse
- Best practices
- Compare energy plans
Switch to LED lights
Simply changing your light bulbs to LEDs will save you money in two ways. Firstly, they last 5 to 10 times longer than regular bulbs, so you won’t need to replace them as often. Secondly, they use approximately 75% less electricity than regular incandescent or halogen light bulbs.
LEDs are more expensive to buy, so if you are only going to be in your rental for a short period of time, consider keeping the original light bulbs so that you can switch them back when you move and take your LEDs with you to your next home.
Use temporary blackout curtains
Making permanent changes to your window coverings will mean involving your landlord. As an alternative, you can buy affordable blackout curtains from a fabric supplier or department store.
Blackout curtains are a great way to keep out the daytime sun in summer to keep your home cooler and cut down your reliance on the aircon.
And because they are temporary, you can take your curtains with you when you move to use in your next home.
Keep your aircon clean
Although aircon maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord, undertaking some regular cleaning in between services will make a big difference to the efficiency of your unit.
You should clean your filter every month (it is extremely unlikely your landlord will be doing it this regularly!), so if it’s possible to clean it yourself, you should.
A clean filter enables the air to flow more freely through the unit meaning you get more heating or cooling for less energy. With heating and cooling accounting for up to 50% of your energy costs, it’s well worth the effort when it comes to saving on your bills.
Invest in draught stoppers and window seals
If your home is draughty, then you are paying more for your heating than you need to! Sealing gaps and cracks can reduce your energy bill by up to a massive 25%.
Purchase a door snake to stop cold air coming through from under your door and invest in a stylish rug to insulate your floors.
While window seals may need the approval of your landlord, there are some temporary solutions you can use instead. Just be sure they won’t leave any permanent marks on your windows before you install them. If you’re not sure, it’s best to check with your landlord first.
Set up a clothes horse
Clothes dryers are one of the least energy-efficient household appliances and using them regularly will chew through your electricity. If your apartment doesn’t have a clothesline accessible, purchase a clothes horse and use it for drying clothes whenever possible.
During the colder months in the southern states, or the humid summer months in the northern states, be aware of the airflow around your damp clothes. Regularly drying your clothes inside can cause mould if you don’t have enough airflow around the area, so choose a well-ventilated room and open the windows whenever possible.
Don’t forget about best practices
For renters and homeowners alike, there are some common energy-saving best practices that you should follow to save money on your bills.
- Turn appliances off at the plug – appliances in stand-by mode are still using energy, you might have heard this dramatically referred to as ‘vampire power’.
You can make it easier on yourself by using a powerboard for nearby appliances, so you only have one plug to turn off at the end of the day. You can even buy smart power boards that you can turn off through an app on your phone.
- Set timers – some heavy energy users, such as your hot water system, air conditioners, pool pump and underfloor heating, can be scheduled to run at certain times of the day. Try to schedule them to use off-peak energy to maximise your savings.
- Choose the right temperature – the optimal temperature for your air conditioner depends on your location, but as a guide, around 24 – 26 degrees for cooling in the summer and 18 – 20 degrees for warming in the winter will get you the best bang for your buck.
At an optimal temperature, your air conditioning runs more efficiently and uses less energy. It is estimated that every degree outside this range uses 10% more energy. That’s right – blasting your aircon at 16 degrees in summer might feel great but it’s burning a hole in your pocket!
- Buy energy-efficient appliances – look for the star rating on your new purchases, particularly white goods such as fridges, washing machines and dryers. Choosing an energy-efficient option will save you a lot of money on your bills in the long run.
Compare energy plans
As well as reducing how much you use, you can save a lot of money by reducing how much you pay for your energy. Every retailer charges a different amount for electricity and gas, coupled with a range of discounts and special offers.
Most states have a deregulated energy market, so you can compare electricity in Victoria, New South Wales, SE Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to find the best option for your home.
There are a few things you should look out for to make sure you have the best plan to suit your household’s unique needs.
- Difference from the reference price – retailers are required to show their rates as a percentage of the reference price set by your state government to make it easy for you to compare plans from different companies.
In New South Wales, South-East Queensland and South Australia this is called the Default Market Offer (DMO) and in Victoria, this is the Victorian Default Offer (VDO).
- Off-peak and controlled load tariffs – each state and retailer sets ‘off-peak’ hours, which are usually weekdays through the day, when most people are away from home and demand for power is lower. If you choose a Time of Use (ToU) plan, you can access significantly reduced rates for energy usage during these periods.
Similarly, controlled load tariffs offer reduced rates for separately metered appliances to help you save money. This is common for hot water systems and swimming pool pumps.
- Special offers and credits – in most states there are many retailers vying for your business, so you can find some valuable special offers if you make the switch to a new provider. This includes signing credits, loyalty bonuses and points to exchange with their partner companies, such as Qantas Rewards Points or Everyday Rewards Points.
- Fixed-rate plans – although a fixed rate plan is usually more expensive than the variable rate, in a volatile energy market it can offer you peace of mind and protect you from a price rise even if the cost of energy skyrockets.
- Solar plans – if you have solar panels, or are interested in installing them, look for a plan with a high solar feed-in tariff. Even if you are renting, the excess energy produced from your home’s PV panels can be paid as a credit to your bill.
There is no one size fits all approach to finding the best energy plan, it entirely depends on your unique circumstances. Compare electricity plans from some of our favourite options below (details are correct in August 2022), or give us a call to discuss your personal needs.
For homes looking for a discount
- EnergyAustralia Flexi Plus – offers a guaranteed 11% discount on your total electricity bill and 18% on your total gas bill when you connect electricity and gas.
For off-peak energy usage
- Origin Energy Flexi Rate ePlus – offers an off-peak rate of 16.66c/kWh for energy used between 12am – 3pm and 9pm – 12am, compared to 29.01c/kWh for peak usage between 3pm – 9pm.
For homes with a swimming pool
- Lumo Energy Value Plan – offers a low 18.05c/kWh for controlled load energy (must be separately metered) compared to 29.47c/kWh for peak rates.
For homes with an electric car
- ActewAGL eVolve Plan – offers 5% less than the electricity reference price, equal to 4000km of free car charging every year for customers in the Canberra region.
Best for homes with solar panels and battery
- AGL Energy Virtual Power Plant (VPP) – offers $100 for signing up and $45 quarterly credits on your bill for eligible customers.
To compare electricity and gas plans and find the best option for your home, call Move-In Connect and let us do all the hard work for you! It just take one simple phone call to 1300 786 045 or enter your details online to take advantage of our 100% free comparison tools and moving utilities services.